“Today was a perfect day”; that was a perfect shot”; “everything is perfect”; “the party was perfect” (Trinidad ad); “strive for perfection” – terms we have all heard at some time.

I recently read a blog post on Perfection asking the question:” Why should we use the word ‘perfection’ when it cannot be attained? I commented that we needed the idea because it was just that – an ideal driving human desire to excel in whatever we do; in its purest form an unachievable ideal, maybe, but one filled with that which spurs the human soul, a challenge.We also have heard ‘aim for the sky, you might get to the top of the tree’. This does not talk of perfection per se, but to inculcating a high ideal. I was never a mathematician, but I was always intrigued by the thought underlying derivatives- you can get so close to something, but never catch up; but for all practical purposes you have caught up “in the limit”.

However, in this world of duality, there is no objective perfection. In this world, perfection is subjective, but more, is inextricably linked to (subjective) imperfection, just as light and darkness are polar opposites, but are within each other. In practical terms, human life is a process in which we are expected to progressively improve ourselves. And we do so with relative perfection (success) as with relative imperfection (failure); the former representing achievement; the latter as the spur for new growth.  This reminds me of a message from an old pastor in Guyana to a young audience: Life is a journey in which we strive to: attain (levels);  sustain (levels); and surpass (levels). We succeed at times and we fail at times, and In this there is scope for improvement, in deed and in personal growth. This in another place is called “imperfect perfection”.

A week after reading the blog I came upon an ESPN magazine with an article:” Nobody’s perfect, but everybody’s trying!” Five professional athletes were asked “what does perfection look like to me?” The answers were summarized as follows: ‘Any driven athlete – any serious physicist or philosopher, for the matter – will tell you that there is no such thing as perfection; there is only the ongoing pursuit of an ideal”. Tiger Woods’ answer links most tidily to this conclusion: “Golf…life…well, we’re inherently flawed. We are all human. So you are never going to attain perfection. But I think in golf you can attain a special excellence for sure.”

And I would add “as in golf, so in life”. All food for thought.



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