Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Is Perfection Possible?

Isn't perfection itself an imperfection? Is there anything and anyone we can call perfect? The most beautiful face never has a symmetry and the most beautiful thing comes with a baggage. A rose is accompanied by thorns and a peacock has ugly feet. A lotus never has a perfect surrounding because it blossoms in muck. And what's perfection? Can it be defined? Can we zero in on it? All the so-called conditions of perfection are set by us, the human beings.


Perfection is a human concept. It's the limit of a limited mind. There's never a fixed concept of perfection. It keeps changing. The so-called perfection is impossible to achieve because as human beings we've certain limitations and imperfections. When there're inherent perfections in us, how can anything made by us be perfect? Before Aishwarya Roy, the erstwhile Maharani of Jaipur Gayatri Davi was the epitome of feminine perfection, so mush so that great cameraman Raghu Rai famously declared, 'Here ends the perfection in a woman's beauty.' The same legendary Raghu changed his idea of beauty and called Aishwarya Roy when she became the Miss world in 1994, 'A face that goes to the outermost edge of feminine beauty and grace.' Let someone prettier come and Raghu will push his flexible idea of perfection further! There's no end to it because we've never limitized perfection.


American humorist Mark Twain wisely said that the very notion of perfection is continuously getting perfected all the time, so much so that it needs an element of imperfection as a catalyst to grow further! In fact, anything or any person with a slight error or imperfection is more admired by people because we all can relate to the imperfections more easily than an imaginary idea of perfection. A slight defect in appearance adds to the essence. English intellectual poet Alexander Pope inked, 'Just a little defect/Made my beloved's face perfect.' He sent it to his friend and equally great John Dryden, who immediately wrote back, 'Just because her nose wasn't straight/Her face looked so divinely great.' The legendary beauty Helen of Troy didn't have two fingers from her birth. The famous actress Minakumari didn't have a pinky (little finger). She lost it when she fell from a tree at the tender age of nine. Mumtaz had a pug-nose and Hollywood actress Grace Kelly had a distinctly asymmetrical face.

Today, Rekha is called 'elegance personified' despite her too prominent jaws! The devilishly handsome English poet Lord Gordon George Byron (1788-1824) was club-footed. He was lame and obese. But many women fell for his intriguing obesity (he looked perpetually pregnant) and a dragging foot. Hardly any lady-friend of Byron ever loved him for his perfectly chiselled poetry; instead they all went ga-ga over his imperfect personality and flawed character. Our attempt to achieve perfection has robbed us of the simple joys of life. When Chinese poet Lu Shun was asked how he wrote such simple and beautiful poems, he said that he never bothered about his poems' perfection. He scribbled them when thoughts struck him. Lu Shun never tried to perfect the deluge of thoughts that descended on him so effortlessly. Buddha advised one of his five great disciples Vaishampayan to flow with the tidings without putting much accent on perfection.


'Wisdom comes to those, who strive for perfection, but at the same time don't make it the alpha and omega, be-all and end-all of life,' opined U G Krishnamurthy. Too much stress on perfection makes our life boring and dry. Perfection takes away the spontaneous element from life. It (perfection) makes things so wooden and lifeless. The pursuit of perfection makes life unnecessarily methodical and mathematical. Human life loses its mojo because of running after perfection. It's a wet blanket and a veritable dampener. Don't chase perfection. Attainment of perfection is a fool's errand. It's the dream of an opium-eater, nay an unmitigated lunatic. Life is not always 2+2=4. And one must also remember that the so-called perfection is an imaginary idea. It's a presupposed motivating factor in mankind's collective fate. It's not a tangible goal. It's the intangibility of perfection that makes it forever elusive. So it's futile to hanker after an eternally elusive notion and a will-o'-the-wisp object. Enjoy life without being too much of a perfectionist. Inaccuracy leads to accuracy.      

                                                               ----Sumit Paul
      


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