A Heuristic Evaluation Of Perfection
perfection – (noun) the state or quality of being or becoming perfect
perfect – (noun) conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type
(noun) exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose
(noun) thorough; complete; utter
I have often heard that perfection does not exist. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have said this statement myself, perhaps verbally or textually (maybe even somewhere within my blog). I recently devoted an entire shower’s worth of thinking to this issue, and this is what I came up with:
Perfection exists in a relative sense, but not necessarily in absolute terms.
Let’s say that I was a manager at a large accounting firm with about 20 accountants under my command. A task arises, and I need to delegate it to the best (hu)man for the job. I look at all the candidates and eventually settle upon Bob. I review his qualifications, and arrive at the notion that he is perfect for this particular job! But perfect in regards to whom/what? He is perfect based on the comparison between his skill set and that of his coworkers. But what happens if I take Bob and compare him to a wider set of individuals – let’s say, the entire subset of accountants within this particular region? Would he still be the perfect man for the job?
Perfection can only exist within the confines of a relative situation. Widen the parameters of that situation, and perfection is subject to change.
The only situation in which I can find possible contradiction to this is for life in general. When you break life down into individual parts, it can be hard to find perfection. However, when viewed in the aggregate, I can easily argue that life itself is indeed quite perfect. This, of course, is subject to opinion. Being so, I suppose this still fits the fact that perfection is relative but not necessarily absolute; therefore nullifying the contradiction.
BUT, this is all based on the definition I supplied above. Perfect, however, has many entries in the dictionary. Here are a few more:
perfect – (noun) excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement
(noun) entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings
(noun) accurate, exact, or correct in every detail
Here I have just expanded the subset of perfect’s definition. Reading the above, I’d have to argue that perfection does not exist. Does this nullify everything previously stated? Nah. If anything, I’d say that it supports it since this perfection is measured by the relative definition above. If perfection can exist within relative terms, then it should be able to not exist in relative terms as well.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.