People are born with the insatiable desire to find somebody perfect. We spend our whole lives ransacking the world for the immaculate human being who deserves our boundless reverence and whom we should emulate. We are on an unceasing quest to find our own paragon of virtue. But what a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than just a person! (John Green) The inherent thing in people is that we are fallible creatures. We have unfounded high self-esteem. We are so intransigent and implacable that we often subliminally become supercilious and put our nearest and dearest off. Our burning ambition - the struggle to live up to our own expectations, achieve our goals and realize our dreams has its toll on us. We become high-achievers in pursuit of success and mercantile satisfaction.
Nevertheless, deep down inside our hearts we still cherish the innocence of the child we once were, and harbour the childish conviction that there is an inexhaustible source of good in this world. Even though we face up to the harsh reality every single day, never do we stop hoping that there are people who always conduct themselves properly; people that are genuinely courteous and benign; people that we should strive to be like. Often when the severity of a situation becomes intolerable we resort to the child inside us who has never ceased to believe in the existence of Santa Claus, or has not even for a second called into doubt the loyalty of best friends. This child never grows up and never learns to mistrust people – just like Peter Pan who believes that the only right he has when it comes to you is fairness.
But people cheat and deceive. They are trite and they are glib. It’s an arduous task to find a modicum of truth or fairness in the world today. We often stick a label saying “Best person” to a friend or a mere acquaintance, because we desperately want to believe that good still prevails over evil (as the child inside us believes), and we play a spectacular game of make believe. We go around telling ourselves that he/she is modest, generous, conscientious and incorruptible but we are just beating about the bush, disregarding their malign traits. The truth is that nobody is perfect. We are who we are because of the mistakes we make. Should one acknowledge their own flaws and blemishes, one should be able to see that no sinless man exists. We are all to blame for something.
Our attempts to find a person with a golden heart and no scar of malevolence whatsoever are the cause of our own misery, disappointment and illusion. I believe it’s high time we put paid to that game of make-believe and abandon the futile hope to encounter a saint on Earth. We shouldn’t strive to find nobility in other people but try to be noble ourselves.
Great men of history have been speaking and writing many great things and ideas. Some of them have influenced the humanity in such away that their sayings have been carried on by men as if they were proverbs of eternal importance. Saying this phrase, Chaucer has the spell over the humanity all over the world. The great English laureate here borrows from the chemistry of metals. We know that iron rusts in presence of humidity. Humidity is the breeding ground for rusting in iron. Increased rusting of iron material ends the story and the existence of the iron. It means the rusting of iron is the decay of a tough material. We usually give examples with iron as an embodiment of toughness. But it too rusts. Now coming to another metal the story is altogether different. Gold is a metal which does not rust. Though this metal does not represent toughness it says a different story. Gold is one of the most precious metals which we have coveted to own since time immemorial. Presence of gold is an auspicious thing.
This metal is the embodiment of purity and genuineness all over the world. Gold has been valued as a representative of bonafide existence. Men have been compared with its quality. Musicians have been told to have golden touch. Gandhi has been called to be honest like gold. But here comes Chaucer to think that if gold start rusting what will happen. Here rusting is symbolised as something vile and some mixture of duplicity. If there is a process of rusting in gold what will happen to iron – this is what he asks surprisingly. This is as if Mahatma Gandhi has started to lie. This is as if Gautama Buddha started to preach violence and so on. If Buddha starts preaching violence what other people will do. Buddha is the embodiment of non-violence. He has taught and preached more on non-violence •than any single man in the whole human history. So in surprise, Chaucer says that if gold rusts what will iron do.