On Perfection

Written by Mike Parish, Illustrated by Dan Tarnowski
On Perfection

What is perfection? Is it achievable? Is anything perfect?

She has the perfect face. I bowled a three-hundred; I bowled a perfect game. Man, the grocery store was all out of sweet potatoes. Really? That’s just perfect.

Perfection seems to haunt our daily lives, or at least it haunts mine. I see perfection all around me and feel I want to achieve it. Often, I will not start writing because I fear what I will write will not be perfect, and I would rather not even start for fear of producing an imperfect work.

Perfection toes the line of the objective and subjective. I can be outside on an overcast day, with the temperature 50 degrees and the air tasting salty, feeling like it is the perfect day. You could be outside on the same day, standing right next to me, yearning for summer and sun and an extra layer. For me the perfect ending to such a day would be a bowl of semi-melted chocolate ice cream: for you, a glass of red wine. Someone else might put them both in a blender and drink the mixture with a straw, (this is actually what I do every night, but I’d never admit to it). This subjective aspect of perfection, what you see as perfect based on personal tastes and desires, is what makes it hard to believe that “perfection” exists beyond the word.

Try to imagine your backyard. But it is not your backyard, it is the thing that your backyard was before your backyard was called by a name. It’s just what it is. Try to imagine what everything would be if it had no name, if it was just “there.” Is “there” perfect? If a human being never existed and never set foot on a place like the earth and never started naming anything, would that sort of world before minds were able to conceptualize it be somehow “perfect” in itself? Is there an objective nature to reality or does everything exist subjectively?

I feel like I am going insane writing this, so I apologize if you are reading it. I’d like to believe that there is some objective form of perfection, a perfection that is based on facts, but maybe my believing that is the whole trouble. Wouldn’t one always be trying to achieve it then? And if perfection doesn’t even exist to begin with, then what is the point of pursuing it? How much of what is done on a daily basis is actually worth doing and how much is merely constructed by our minds to be worth doing?

I wish I knew. You got to eat, you got to sleep, you got to drink water. This much I know. Everything else is up to that little head of yours so do the right amount of whatever makes you satisfied and content. Maybe that’s the whole point of perfection. Doing what’s best for you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

This entry was posted in On Lives, Short. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.