Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Solitude of Perfection

What is perfection? Is it idealism? Is it the way our religion preaches us to live? Is it some kind of a sociological responsibility or a way to follow the law? Is it the retaliation of the behavior the society expects from us? All these and many more questions storm my mind when I start wondering what exactly perfection is. The dictionary defines perfection as something flawless, without aberrations, something pure, something without defect or omission and so on. But can it be achieved?

Believe it or not, to strive for perfection is the primary purpose of all human beings. Whether conscientiously or not every sole on this planet is trying to achieve perfection. This is how our brains are designed to work. This is how we are designing the artificial intelligent units. They say, “To err is human”, very true. The very essence of humanity is error and the ever learning process of rectifying errors. So can we absolutely do away with the errors and embrace perfection in its literal sense? Here I believe that we can segregate perfection into two categories, namely, divine perfection and perfection for human beings. Literal perfection or divine perfection is meant for Gods or may be for a few enlightened souls. For humans, perfection is to reduce errors to such tolerable limits that one can find that quantum of solace which is the actual chicken soup for the soul. Sounds easy? Here are some more questions, can we reduce the errors to such permissible levels (a threshold value) that we can enter the domain of perfection? If yes, then who will set the threshold of errors for us?

I believe that perfection is a relative term, the only difference between idealism and perfection. What might be perfect for me might not be perfect for others and vice versa. So the answer to the threshold question is clear now. It is us who set our individual thresholds. It is when we become satisfied to a level where we think that this is the best we can give. Absolute satisfaction or literal perfection if I can say so is again unachievable because again we are designed to be never satisfied. The best way is to give it your best shot and just stand and admire the effort but again it must be your best shot. To quote from Bhagvat Gita, “One is only responsible for his Karma and nothing else, so he must just perform his Karma and should not bother for the results or the ramifications of his actions”. The problem arises when we start analyzing others on our threshold limits. We often forget the individuality of other person. There is nothing wrong in assessing someone on the parameters or values we believe in because that is the only touch stone we have. But in the same stride, we must not forget the individuality of the other person. We must learn to respect the perfection of others.

Some say that practice makes perfect. I beg to differ on this, practice does not make perfect, on the contrary practice makes permanent. A bad practice leads to something that is not certainly perfect. We do not relate malpractices to perfection. Perfection is something chaste, a divine pursuit of happiness.

The quest for perfection is the actual eventuality of each individual. The utilitarian school of thought proposes, “Maximum happiness for maximum number of people”. According to Jeremy Bentham (an individualist and a utilitarian), if we give each individual absolute freedom, he will choose the path in which there is maximum pleasure and minimum pain and thus a hedonistic society would culminate. The point I am trying to make is that perfection is something that brings pleasure or happiness and diminishes pain or grievance from the society. It is something that propagates us to a better life and above all subtends a better motive to life. The road might not be smooth but the goal is worth a lifetime.

Perfection though a universal truth, is different for each individual. It presents a unique hue when viewed from the kaleidoscope of experience called life. Though on the same quest but still on a different ship heading towards a unique horizon. We are so much together but still alone. A food for thought, ever thought of the reason for the occasional loneliness despite having company? This I believe is ‘The Solitude of Perfection’.