Humanity Is Striving For Perfection. Are We Judging Ourselves Too Harshly?
By Jesse's Somer
What does it mean to be perfect? Many people strive for "perfection in their life, through their work, their family, and their love lives. All the time we hear about, or are even called "perfectionists", and usually in a negative context. There have been many great humans throughout history that we choose to revere and respect because of their virtuous deeds, but were they perfect? It probably comes down to how you look at it, "it being perfection.
Pobody's Nerfect is a cool motto that appeared on Lisa Simpson's hat when TV's "The Simpsons (you had better know who they are) family went to Australia. Could imperfections be paradoxically perfect in themselves? If you look close enough at all of the great names in recorded history you will see that besides their crowning achievements they also carried with them the faults and mistakes of the average person. John Lennon beat his first wife, Martin Luther King Jr. had extramarital affairs"Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Einstein, and even Mother Theresa must have done things that were socially or morally unacceptable.
So, is striving for perfection a pipe-dream when we realize that no matter what our lives are destined to become, there will always be a balance of negative influence in our actions? What about the Buddha? Buddha means "perfect one", and when he supposedly achieved "enlightenment he no longer had imperfections. But look at what he had to go through to get to that feeling/awareness. Was his life up to that point flawless? No way. If you asked the Buddha about his life I'm sure he"d say right away that he only learnt what he did by making mistakes.
Could it be that we are all already perfect? Everything in the Universe is scientifically balanced. Negative electrons, positive protons, and neutral neutrons do everything they can to balance out in any and every situation imaginable. By that logic, all of our faults and imperfections exist inherently as part of our perfection. How could we ever do the most important work in life (learning to love), if we already know everything?
Everyday we go to work and we do our utmost to do the best job possible. We want things to be perfect. Supposedly no circle ever drawn has been perfectly round. I believe it's the same with people. You might now be asking, "If we are all inherently flawed and have no possibility of attaining a perfect state, what's the use in even trying? The answer is as simple as two Hydrogen atoms coming together with one Oxygen atom to make a single molecule of water.
We may always have faults, but if we do our best with altruistic intention driving us forward, we will make the world a better place. You may still obsessively eat chocolate but if you write up the achievable "2050 Plan for World Peace", people are going to forgive you. On the other hand, if you sit at home hating yourself because of your chocolate addiction, you aren't going to help the world, and in essence you're not going to achieve the balance of energy (both positive and negative) that you require to attain satisfaction in your life.
Within paradox there is always the other side of the coin and so I have to suggest yet another perspective. If everything in the Universe is already balanced then doesn't that imply that no matter what we do, good or bad, we will balance out evenly? It depends upon what size picture you're analyzing. If you're looking at human society as a whole you might choose to believe that for every person that is a little bit more negative than positive (with their thoughts and actions), that there will be another person in the world who is a little bit more positive than negative. If more of humanity is positive than negative, maybe the balance of energies could show up elsewhere, like in our surrounding environment?
The point of this article is to get you to question your desire for a perfect life. Maybe it already is. Maybe you are already aware of it. If life was all happiness and joy we wouldn't know what happiness and joy were, as we"d have nothing to compare them to. If we never made mistakes, how would we know we were even learning anything? What would a life be without the experience of learning? What would it amount to?
There's no need to try and be perfect. Either you already are perfect, or you will never achieve perfection. There is a point in doing the best you can everyday, even if today that simply means getting out of bed. If everyone who ever lived had doubted their abilities because they had faults, nothing great would ever have been done. If everyone compared themselves to people who have already come and gone and achieved greatness, then no one would have had the courage to follow their dreams, goals, and purposes. If Einstein had compared himself to Da Vinci, and subsequently been scared into inaction, we would never have gained the knowledge that he shared with the rest of us. Einstein wasn't perfect. My bet is he probably had a few problems with his personal hygiene, you know, cutting his nostril and ear hairs. Still, this isn't often commented upon compared to the Theory of Relativity. He could also have gotten down on himself for being a "lowly patent clerk. I'm glad he didn't.
You were born into the Universe, and you were blessed with some great skills and talents, even if you haven't discovered them yet. Like me you have probably stopped yourself before taking a big risk in your life because you compared yourself to one of your heroes, gurus, icons, or role-models. You most probably doubt you're abilities at times, and because of that doubt you don't attempt an opportunity that life has given you. Forget those other people. They aren't better than us. They are, and were the same. They are a perfect balance of energies. The only difference is that despite their perfect imperfections, they still did their best to work for the betterment of the world. It's time we all realized that we were put here for a reason, even if it's only a small anonymous role to play, and that attaining perfection is as simple as doing the best that you can to change a tiny part of the world.
About The Author
Jesse S. Somer is a perfectly imperfect human being just like you. It's time he just did the best he could, instead of comparing himself to his role-models. They were, and are, perfectly imperfect too.