The riddle of the Persian rug


There is within me, a burning desire to create something, to make something happen and to achieve a result. The many days spent anchored to a desk, to the phone and to problems and issues which seemed superficial to me as a person, led to a conclusion that there has to be another path, another life, one where you get to realise your ideas and reach your own goals.

Leaving all that seemed superficial behind, leaving the comfortable path and routine of an eight o’clock start and daily longing for the weekend, I am in the wilderness hoping for a great adventure, I am a small splotch in a middle of a blank canvas hoping to be the start of a meanigful masterpiece. It sounds promising, and in moments of elation, rising above the daily concerns, one sees the blank canvas and realises that it is all up to you. It is not just a case of the ups and down of life, being out on your own means you have moments where you have nothing to grasp onto, no direction, you are lost.

There is that burning desire to create, to achieve, to reach for … ??? That’s it, for what? A void. There is nothing pulling you forward, nothing pushing you and that blank page is empty; the hope that your masterpiece will somehown eventuate is a hope lost.

Confronting this void, and channeling this burning desire within you is something which we need to very elegently and gracefully do. I find that looking above these tedious daily details and emotions, looking at the ‘big picture’ is the way forward. What often helps in this lifting and rising is reading, and perhaps writing if you get get past the gloom.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania the cafe graham bell
The Cafe by Graham Bell, 1938 / Courtesy of

As I write about the ‘splotch’ in the middle of a blank canvas, I realise that perhaps this idea is fuelled by my recent reading of W. Somerset Maugham’s fantastic work “Of Human Bondage”. I do not want to reveal too much of the plot, so I will just touch on one small idea which is explored in the story. Philip, the main character, along his life’s journey meets a man called Cronshaw, a bohemian, a drunk, a talker and a poet. Cronshaw gives Philip a piece of Persian rug as a parting gift.Why? Well, apparently this item represented the meaning of life. Many years later Philip, in a moment of dispair suddenly relised what his friend was trying to tell him.

Philip came to the liberating realisation that “There was no meaning in life, and man by living served no end”. This sudden epiphany took all the pressure off, there was no meaning, one’s life did not serve any particular purpose.

So whats with the Persian rug? Well it provides an uplifting explanation of purpose and direction – “As the weaver elaborated his pattern for no end but the pleasure of his aesthetic sense, so might a man live his life, or if one was forced to believe that his actions were outside his choosing, so might a man look at his life, that it made a pattern”.

Philip was very happy with this revelation. It meant that whatever happened to him from now on, or what ever he choose to do would add to his own masterpiece, it would simply be the continuation of the interwoven pattern of his life. W. Somerset Maugham really lets his character weave a magnificent, intricate and inspired pattern. As a reader we are lucky to enjoy it. And for us, readers? How do we take that next step, when you don’t quiet know what comes next? I guess just think that you are weaving that rug of yours, or you are a splotch in the middle of the canvas. What you do next is of your own choosing, there are no wrong moves, no bad decisions, but do keep going, take the next step, otherwise who will weave your masterpiece? And what are you going to look back on someday?