In Western civilization, perfection is sought, promoted, esteemed and valued. Not so in other Eastern and African cultures. Perfection is identified with nature, with God, with the ineffable… these are ways of facing life that have very different consequences.
We were educated from childhood for effort and performance to the maximum. We were squeezed at school and at home, later in high school and at university. The demands were enormous, now I can describe them as almost ‘inhuman’. Our society demanded it, it still demands it. And the result is often frightening. I am referring to the person, not to the community, which, thanks to this perfectionist hyper will, is reaching high levels of technological development. But the person, the human being, this is another matter. Many are left by the wayside, incapable of maintaining their efforts, even reaching suicide, as happens in Japan, where constant effort, maximum demand, is rewarded… a society -the Japanese one- that has become sickly, with serious emotional deficiencies.
I was saying that in other places it’s not like that. We are going to the opposite pole: Mauritania. Mauritanians can be considered by a Westerner the height of laziness. If you want to despair, do business with Mauritanians. You will find tranquility, laziness, relaxation, neglect, a kind of abandonment mixed with deception and picaresque. In Mauritania, unlike Japan, there are hardly any suicides. The streets of the cities are chaotic and evil to do -in our opinion- abounds everywhere; however, they are happy. Or they are happier than in the sophisticated and advanced countries of the world.
The obsessive search for perfection generates emotional imbalances, happiness is not promoted, and much less empathy, a matter that is more important in education, which is centred on competitiveness, not on human values.