The pursuit of perfection.
Living towards a perfect life. Having a perfect body. The perfect situation. The chase of perfection is in itself perfectly flawed. Well, it might be. Perfection, as defined in most dictionaries is something along these lines: the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
Roll your eyeballs over that last part, being free or as free as possible from all flaws and defects.
That seems on the surface like a worthwhile pursuit. However, I’d like to offer the opinion that that sort of thinking is not only flawed but is nothing more than conformist hooey…
Before going too far down that road, I’ll also offer one possible way perfection isn’t just desirable, but that it simply is…
And that is if you subscribe to the idea that we live in a perfect universe, then by extension, all things within said universe are therefore perfect. Which is perfectly logical. I’d happily sign on to that thought train.
Alright, that’s out-of-the-way, now on to trashing the pursuit of perfection.
Being free or as free as possible from all flaws and defects assumes that there is a commonly agreed to measurement of what constitutes a flaw or defect.
I remember a classical vocalist friend of mine that once told me about a performance he attended. After a particularly difficult, and judging by the standing ovation, amazingly performed aria, the performer came off stage to comments from her fellow performers that were condemning slight pitch inconsistencies, minute timing errors, and so on. So you have the regular audience, who you could say thought the performance was pretty damned perfect by their reaction, and you have the reaction of the performer’s backstage peers that heard nothing but the (minute) imperfections. Who is right?
I once read a great description from an artist about what art is… “Art is the mistakes we keep.“
By this definition, no art could be perfect and actually striving for perfection would be antithesis to revealing/making art… Although you could argue that in striving for perfection we can do nothing but make mistakes. Thus pretty much everything is art…. and maybe it is.
Perfection is either already in place in everything we see, or it is essentially unattainable.
Regardless of whether you may think perfection is or isn’t real, or what exactly perfection might look like, if we live in a perfect universe, all within that is perfect. If we don’t live in a perfect universe then we’re trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist. There’s always ways to improve things so almost nothing can be as free as possible from flaws or defects. The pursuit, not the attainment, becomes the goal. Maybe that’s your trip… rock on…
How about replacing pursuit of perfection with pursuit of excellence?
Excellence is defined as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. Now we’re talking something attainable, more agreeable, and far less controversial that has little concern about “flaws or defects.” A flawed gem can never be perfect. That said, it can be outstanding and thus excellent. Many singers might have defects and flaws about their singing. Hence they’re imperfect, but their depth of feeling and ability to express that in a meaningful way can totally embody excellence.
So in closing, perfection be damned, I strive for my imperfect excellence… and good night (mic drop)…