SGMS

Scientific-Gnosticism Memetic-Shamanism

Archive for March, 2008

Perfection is Imperfect

Published by under Uncategorized on March 19, 2008

What is perfect? Many of us spend our lives searching for the perfect mate, the perfect car, the perfect cup of coffee, the perfect life. Do we realize what we are asking for though? Picture in your mind a perfect tree. No, not a general idea, I mean every branch and leaf. Nature has already figured out that perfection is a state of versatility not a moment of configuration. When you ask for perfection, most of the time, you are requiring fate to produce something that is actually imperfect because of your short-sighted view of the universe. If a tree had one particular configuration then it might be too tall and stiff to stand alone against the wind or too short to get light in a forest. The leaves might not gather light properly at certain latitudes or be too vulnerable to the wind because of the configuration of hills around it.

What about a perfect tool then? Certainly a tool can be perfect, it’s designed to be so… What on earth could be wrong with my 1/2″ wrench?
Well, it could be a 3/4 bolt.
Then I’ll pull out my 3/4.
But what about metric?
I’ll buy another set.
A stripped bolt.
My locking pliers?

You’ve added flexibility because no tool is perfect without the perfect job/situation to match it. The more perfect a tool is for one job the more imperfect it is for other jobs. If you could have only one tool would it be a 1/2 wrench or a medium sized pair of pliers? The pliers are not really perfect for most any job but it will certainly do a lot more jobs. You can be dissatisfied with the lack of a perfect job it does or you can be happy with how much it does pretty well. Every situation, posession, relationship is similar to this in that there are always ways in which it is imperfect. The perfect toolbox or toolshed would have to contain everything in the universe because only then could it be prepared for absolutely every eventuality. The pursuit of perfection will lead to constant dissatisfaction in an attempt to own and control everything in the universe.

Every law ever made also creates some injustice because of the infinite possibilities of the universe creating unforeseen situations. To every rule there are exceptions. Nature shows us this through the diversity of life. Each life form is perfect inside its environment and situation but imperfect for other situations. As environments change, life must evolve or be eliminated because of obsolescence.  Even the individuals within a species adapts to its particular resources, dangers, surroundings and experience to become the perfect tool for their particular job. Individual variance is necessary for survival in a number of ways. If all individuals of a species were the same, the situation and niche they could fill would be hyper-fragile and narrow. If a disease appeared that could kill one it would kill them all. Just like a law, each individual is perfect for many situations but certainly not all.

Each individual person is perfect for their upbringing, experiences, and genetics but they may also be narrow in their usefulness. There is a balance of flexibility and specificity that each of us maintains. The pursuit of perfection is the pursuit of narrowness and specificity. It is specialization and the more specialized something it is, the more situations it is imperfect or even useless for. A flexible person may be suitable for many situations but be a more imperfect tool for the job than a specialist.

With this in mind, there is no such thing as a perfect person because there is no such thing as an unchanging universe. There is no such thing as a pursuit of perfection there is only an adjustment between specialization and generalization. Each has flaws. Each can only be judged for merit based on a particular configuration of the universe and because the universe always changes, the judgement of merit can only be accurate for a single instant of time.

In light of how we are utterly at the mercy of the seeming randomness of universe (see The Illusion of Free Will) all we can control is our own ability to adapt and change with the times. We must copy nature and become the most effective configuration for the moment and future. We must accept the limitations of current configuration and embrace change.

We must love the moment and love our current selves and love what we are to become. We cannot know the future specifically so we cannot plan for the future specifically. That is a formula for failure. We can remain open to the change we will inevitably encounter and remain able to change between specialized and generalized as we re-examine our environment each day. But because the only thing we know about the future is that it will change, we are what we hope and try to be. Failure does not exist so long as we continue to try. Each mistake made is one less we must make on the road to success.

Give up your illusion of control over the universe and stop trying to make it fit your current configuration. Appreciate what you have and embrace what you can and will be. Be satisfied with your trying and do not feel guilty that you do not have god-like powers of controlling your situation. To be perfect we must also be imperfect. You will always be imperfect but if you remain flexible you will also be perfect.

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