The tailor’s soul

November 4 2014

Muqaddamāt, de Slane’s translation (Paris 1863-8, Imprimerie Impériale, 3 vols.), vol ii, pp. 366-7; chapter headed: “He who possesses the capacity for practising some particular art very rarely manages to acquire another art perfectly […]”:

“A tailor, for instance, who possesses a capacity for sewing, who uses it with the greatest skill, who is really a master of his art, and who has made it part and parcel of himself, will be unable afterwards to acquire, to perfection, the art of being a cabinet-maker or a mason. If he did achieve this, that would mean that he did not yet possess, to perfection, the former capacity; it would mean that the dye of that capacity in him had not yet taken fast. Here is the explanation: it is that the capacities – being attributes of the Soul or colours which the Soul is apt to take – cannot overlay one another on the Soul and can only settle on the Soul one at a time. In order to acquire a capacity easily, and to be in a favourable condition for the reception of it, the Soul must be in the primitive state of its nature. Afterwards, when it takes the colour of this or that capacity, it departs from its primitive state; and, since the tincture which has now just been imparted to it is bound to have weakened in the Soul its aptitude for receiving another tincture, the Soul no longer has as much strength as before for acquiring a second faculty.”

A Study of History, Vol V, OUP, 1939 (footnote)

One Response to “The tailor’s soul”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Moroni’s fascinating tailor looks almost too grand to be a tailor, as if the tincture had not finally settled in him. On the other hand, experience shows that a soul is not, pace Hinduism, degraded by an occupation.

    If the occupation does not degrade, but is the punishment for transgressions in past lives, then why make the occupation a taboo?

    If factory work was degrading, it was because it was not in any sense at all a craft, as even sweeping is a craft.

    To be swayed by advertising or stupid films or demagogues is to be degraded.


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