As I was reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, I couldn’t help but be shocked at how the theme of perfection was so present in the book just like in Oryx and Crake.
As you all know, Crake planned to completely erradicate humans in order to introduce genetically modified indiviuals that he considered to be “perfect”. Crake saw huge flaws in humans and came to the conclusion that the only way to help humanity would be to start everything over with “superior beings”. I find it ironic that Crake wished to help humankind but instead he just killed them all (or most of them anyhow) including himself. He believed that introducing “perfect humans” would help humanity but the people he created cannot be considered human at all…
This got me thinking a lot and I decided to write this blog about the flaws that exist in trying to attain perfection. Hope you enjoy this read!
Nowadays we live in a society where we are constantly reminded that we shoud aspire to be as perfect as we can be…
Going from trying to reach physical perfection to intellectual perfection through our education…the constant reminder of perfection being the way to go is always there.
Now you can either look at this and torture yourself on a daily basis to try and reach these unrealistic expectations or you can simply lay back and tell yourself that the whole idea of perfection is imperfect in itself.
Why is that?
Like psychotherapist Mel Schwartz thinks: “I’ve come to see that their (people’s) pursuit of perfection is really a disguise for their insecurity. It becomes a statement that I’m not good enough just as I am. When we do that, we judge ourselves.”
Schwartz believes that those who tend to want to reach perfection are just trying to catch up to the people around them that they consider somehow superior to them. Such people have most likely been told in the past that they were not good enough (either by others or even by themselves) and therefore think that the only way to live without any reproach from the rest of the word would be to become perfect.
This is a ridiculous misconception.
Let’s take some time to analyze how people would react if it somehow was possible to reach perfection:
Imagine someone you knew somehow “succeded” in becoming perfect. Theoretically, such person would be praised for being so excellent at everything they do, but in reality, someone that perfect would pretty much be hated by everyone. This is because seeing someone “perfect” would be a daily reminder once again that we are not perfect ourselves. People would be jealous of such perfection and come to despise that person for being something that they have always strived to be.
This is all assuming everyone knowing this person also want to become perfect.
Now let’s look at it from another perspective :
Someone “perfect” could be also viewed as boring and not special at all. If you think about it, perfection means that all flaws have been surpassed and that there is no room for improvement anymore. In other words, this perfect person can be seen as not living life anymore. The purpose of life is to improve and better ourselves on a daily basis without trying to attain perfection, because perfection simply does not exist. If we were already perfect, then there would be nothing to distinguish ourselves. In other words, we would have no individuality.
A perfect world with perfect people would be composed of beings that are all the same, meaning that they have all reached the unreachable of what we see as perfection.
Isn’t that a scary thought though?
Being surrounded by people who are exactly the same as you would be no fun at all and it would take away everything there is that makes us humans.
Like Schwartz said once again: “The closest thing to perfection is in the ability to be fully present. Without any distracting thoughts, measuring or grading ourselves, we’re free to really be in the moment.”
Put in other words, the only time we are truly alive is when we stop judging ourselves and decide to live in the present.
THE CLOSEST THING TO PERFECTION IS NOW.
A perfectionist is contantly looking back on past decisions and worrying about the future. This takes away from being fully present right in this moment.
“The pursuit of perfection limits our ability to be present and literally robs us of the vitality of life. It is unachievable, unimaginable and frankly undesirable, so why pursue it?”
I believe our time would be better spent in this life if we all decided to stop focusing on this unrealistic view of perfection and decided instead to just better ourselves and become the best version of ourselves that we can be.
Don’t get me wrong, being the best version of yourself does not mean becoming perfect, it means embracing your flaws which makes you human and working on your insecurities while still keeping in mind that you are good enough just the way you are.
To conclude, perfection is terribly misplaced in society and people don’t realize that the idea of perfection is flawed in itself.
There is nothing wrong with trying to better yourself, but aspiring to become perfect is just a waste of time.
What is perfect anyways?
Ana Paula Facetti
I invite you all to watch this short motivational video from the YouTube channel “Your World Within” that will hopefully change your views on perfection if you still thrive to achieve it. His words definitely hit me and also inspired me to write this blog:
Schwartz, Mel “The Problem with Perfection”: