The Essence of ‘To err is human, to forgive, divine.’
Theoretically man learns from whatever he’s encountered or undergone in the past.
In real life, we know from what we’ve observed of our fellowmen that this theory falls far short of its goal. But that does not render the theory false or impossible of achievement.
In fact it shows up one of the fundamental flaws of the human specie. Perhaps it is precisely this observation about the human specie that led to some more discerning soul amongst us to coin the very familiar saying that ‘to err is human, to forgive, divine’.
At the same time as the saying humbly and honestly admits of one of mankind’s critical weaknesses, it serves as a balm to soothe the guilt stricken conscience.
The saying I’ve just quoted is cherished for another even more valuable attribute.
Soothing the guilty conscience is just a by-product of the real objective of that saying which is, to allow a sinner to realise his wrong and to make amends by not ever making the same mistake again.
So man knows how to give himself a second chance. But that second chance is as valuable as man is able to learn something from the wrong he has committed in the first instance. That second chance is worthless should man indulge in selective amnesia only to find Ruin staring at him in the face.
So what is it that I’m trying to drive home. It is simply to share a very valuable lesson I learnt only at the later stage of my life.
Like in a contest involving two parties, winning or losing should not be the main and only goal.
It is not the outcome of a contest but the opportunity granted to take part in the process that leads to the outcome that we should cherish.
We can lose or fail in a contest but, more importantly, have we learn something valuable from our defeat, loss or failure. Have we learnt enough from our loss to know what to do or how to act when confronted with a similar situation again. If we have, then that is the essence of why ‘to err is human, to forgive, divine’ should be diligently observed by civilised man.