Saturday, December 1, 2012

The journey towards Perfection

Perfection – the state of existence which has always managed to elude me. One of the dictionary meanings for Perfection is “The condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects”. It is the point at which all flaws have been eliminated and beyond which there is no room for improvement, whatsoever. This has always been a dream state of existence, but after repeated failures to reach it, I could not help but ask the question – what actually is this perfection and does it exist in the first place? 

Going by the meaning of perfection as being free from all possible flaws, can anything around us be described as perfect? If we go through the pages of history, can we find a perfect human being with a perfect life? Is there any perfect place to live in? A perfect friend? A perfect piece of art? A perfect piece of engineering? Most possibly, the answer to all these questions is ‘NO’. If we look around, am pretty sure we can find flaws in any man or man-made creation. In fact, I read that a fine Persian rug will almost always include intentional imperfections. This notion of intentionally including slight and minor irregularities is derived from their belief that perfection is not meant for humans. 

If so, then what is this perfection that we [at least most of us] have been madly chasing after? Do we have the correct understanding on the notion of perfection? I think the answer lies in the second part of the dictionary description, where it says “as free as possible from all flaws or defects”. Accepting the fact that we can possibly never reach the absolute state of perfection, the next best alternative is to see how close we can get to it. May be, what matters is how honestly we try to get rid of our imperfections and move closer and closer to perfection. It is the journey which matters, knowing well that we would possibly never reach the destination. If we are only focused on the elusive destination, then we would probably never enjoy the journey. “Have no fear of perfection, you will never reach it” – Salvador Dali. 

It is a challenge to accept that we are imperfect and will continue to be so. This is easier said than done. But, the reality is neither was my past perfect nor is my present. The future is not going to be any different. I just hope that at least am moving towards perfection and not drifting away. “The man with insight enough to admit his imperfections comes nearest to perfection” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 

It is even a bigger challenge to accept that people around are imperfect as well. Of course, one’s judgment of something/someone as imperfect could always be questioned as perfection is a relative concept. What is perfect piece of music for one could be noise for another!! For some strange reason, have always found it easier to justify mistakes due to my imperfections, but almost impossible to ignore flaws of people around me!! This does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to all flaws around us, but it makes sense to learn to differentiate between mistakes arising out of inherent imperfection in human beings vs. intentional stupidity. “It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others” - Joseph Addison.