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The Problem with Perfection

Perfection does not exist. To understand it is the triumph of human intelligence; the desire to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness.

—Alfred de Musset, Confession of a Child of the Century

“The quest for perfection can be evil!” said Father Samuel.

The two of us were in my office at Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Paris. A few months earlier, I had asked Father Samuel to support a small group of senior executives getting together to reflect on economic and social matters through a spiritual lens. That day in my office, Father Samuel and I were preparing the next session. I do not remember the details of what we were discussing. But to this day, I still remember his exact words on perfection, and the ...

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