Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Mirage of Perfection

Practice makes perfect.

This sentiment must make life hell for the Christians among us. On the one hand, we humans are supposed to strive for the example of Jesus, the sinless lamb. On the other hand, Christians accept the foundational principle that none of us can be perfect. So they find themselves stuck between a rock and hard place – trying to obtain an objective they already KNOW they can’t possibly reach!

I submit that their dilemma is even worse than they could ever imagine. From my vantage point, their ultimate goal doesn’t even exist – perfection is a mirage.

Perfection, the act of flawlessness based on a rigid standard, can only exist in a static environment. One must be able to see and comprehend all the variables involved plus all the consequences – intended or not – that will result from the action to be taken. And then, perfection can still only be attained if none of the variables changes in character once the decision is rendered.

Following such a formula would mean that each of us could only hope to attempt to make one decision regarding one solitary action in our entire lives. As we broached the given situation or circumstance, we would necessarily have to keep readjusting our view of what constituted perfection as the millions of variables kept changing or altering that view. It would become an unending exercise in futility.

The key problem with trying to define perfection is that it contradicts the one constant in the universe – change. Because of never-ending change, there are no fixed standards to use as permanent yardsticks. And we know that Christians, many who live by rigid standards compiled in a centuries old book, need this kind of unerring permanency in their lives.

In Taoist belief, there is no talk of perfection or the sin of not achieving nor striving for such. All things or beings have a place at the table because all things or beings are part of one universal whole. If one wishes to define this ultimate reality as perfection, then it follows that, since we’re each part of the whole, we each are one of the variables that define what perfection is.

The salient value in understanding that either perfection doesn’t truly exist or we are all part of the make-up of perfection is that it removes the sense of guilt for not being “perfect”. People waste an inordinate amount of their lives feeling guilty. Guilt leads to many of the personal problems people face.

When you screw up, instead of feeling guilty, learn from the situation and move on. You’ll soon find you will lead a far more productive life.

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