Throughout life we’re constantly offered pieces of advice.
These often come in the form of righteous quotes and philosophies telling us to have a bit more morality, have a bit more fun, be a bit more beautiful, be a bit less vain, work harder or not to work too hard.
Whether these are contradictory or not, we’re always coming up against ways to differ ourselves from the person that we are today, so that we can be better tomorrow. We’re never quite satisfied with the way things are, or the person that we are, and so, we continually seek to alter the situation in various ways.
We have this concept of perfect which is, apparently, as good as it is possible to be and so it seems, to me, that our spiritual, emotional and physical meandering is a journey seeking perfection.
By the rules of its definition, we accept that perfection is an able state of being and this therefore validates our aforementioned quest. Has anyone ever got there? Can anyone be perfect in every way? Can we tick every box? The extreme greatness is understood as a genuine possibility in reality. A perfect state in which someone or something can be and needn’t change or it’s state would only deteriorate as a result.
This deterioration comes consequentially to the value that we place upon being or having perfection and the lack of said value when we are not flawless. Human nature wants for a sense of self-worth and culturally, we place worth upon both abstract and absolute objects that we can then acquire and subsequently adopt that worth for ourselves.
And so, we may understand perfection, and the connotations of such, as cultural tender for the justification of our existence: he or she who is closest to perfection is worth the most.
Ironically, we have mastered the skill of inadequacy. We manifest ideas of the perfect and conjure up an idol of whom we continually aim to be more and more like; when we are not content with ourselves we seek traits in others to long after.
From religious deities to Victoria’s Secret models, we set these characters apart from ourselves as better beings, whether this be due to their morality, their success or their beauty, and we utilise them as a tool in our methods of self control. Sadly, it becomes a constant failing quest to be the super human that we’d like to be, or that we think we should be.
As a result, we have a sense of self-awareness, constantly caring (and moreover worrying) about how we come across as a person, whether we are nice or nasty enough, whether we are calm and cool enough, whether we look acceptable to others, whether we should or should not have said something, whether we need to apologise or be in a certain mood.
It is to a point where we are constantly performing for every one around us, so much so, that we probably perform for ourselves. We’re taught and we teach to fear another’s perception of ourselves, to fear that we’re not the perfect person that we’re all striving to be. By extension, we reach a state of inadequacy and so we fill the void with lesser assertions along the way; we feel the need to impress others, in order to impress ourselves.
“Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” ~ Salvador Dalí
I don’t suppose it’s something we can “cure” or change or even if it is fundamentally detrimental to humanity—without any motivation there wouldn’t be humanity, anyway. We’re naturally curious and curiosity isn’t all that bad. Just because we think there might be a state of perfection doesn’t mean that there actually is one.
My idea of the perfect person is different than yours and that’s alright. We can address what matters most to us and follow the pursuit of that, not what someone else is telling us to be do or be.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock / Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Darryl Sawyer at Pixoto