Search for Perfection

I was thinking about the concept of perfection the other day, and it got me quite confused.

It is a fact that perfection does not exist. We, as humans, are imperfect beings and we live in an imperfect world. We can strive to be perfect with all our hearts, souls, and minds… but we will never achieve it. In the history of the world, there were only two perfect (sinless) people – Jesus of Nazareth and his mother Mary. And there are many who debate that they never existed, or were not sinless at all.

A lot of people (myself included) waste our time on being perfectionists. We want everything to come out right, everything to be perfect and in its place, and when that doesn’t happen (which is always), we get upset.

In the Catholic Church (or at least this is the way I see it), we are to strive toward perfection of our souls. However, we are human and sinful beings, and thus, we can never attain perfection. Even the saints were not perfect, but they lived their lives in an attempt to perfect themselves and make themselves pleasing to God.

I wondered what the point of striving for perfection was… if the attempt was futile. After all, we will never reach perfection. I suppose it is to become the very best we can be… but realize that total perfection is beyond us… and that realization is what keeps us humble.

And of course, this notion of perfection doesn’t just have to do with religion; it can have to do with pretty much anything; to be the best student, to be the best writer, parent, artist, musician, etc. that we can possibly be.

Thoughts? 🙂

12 thoughts on “Search for Perfection

  1. I think that, in art, the search for perfection is not only futile (as you say, you’ll never get there) but it can close you off to accidents. Robert Altman used to say that when you see a movie, there are often a few little moments that you really like. A glance, a bit of body language, a quick aside, and none of them were in the script. They just happened, and the director was smart enough to leave them in. Orson Welles’ definition of a movie director was “someone who presides over accidents.”

    And if somebody could create a perfect work of art, I don’t think people would like it, because it wouldn’t look like life.

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    1. Perfection would look too alien and strange to us imperfect beings. And it is true that a lot of beneficial, beautiful things were created by accident – by our own imperfection. Good way of looking at it.

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  2. Of course perfection isn’t real, but I believe that if we work towards perfection (even though it will never be achieved) we will get something that is close to what ‘perfection’ is in our minds.

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    1. We each have our own idea of what perfection is… and I suppose that’s where the debate over what “perfection” is comes into play – everyone’s idea is different.

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