Friday, June 7, 2013

Equalizing Things XII: More on Being Perfect

Scott Bradley

Ah, it's such a joy being perfect!

Of all things to learn, to take onboard, to realize, this is for me the most liberating: I am perfect.

How so, you might ask; I must be a great sage, a complete fool, or a megalomaniac.

I say, None of the above. This perfection of which I speak has absolutely nothing to do with the perfection/imperfection continuum; this is the perfection that applies to the utterly imperfect as well as to the hypothetically perfect. This is the perfection which consists in being perfectly what one is. Is there anything that is not what it is?

If we insist that things must become perfect to be perfect, then is anything perfect? Things need only become something else when we make of right and wrong the ultimate foundation for everything. But then the ultimate is imperfect.

Zhuangzi uses an argument of reduction ad absurdum to demonstrate that, "Being similar is so similar to being dissimilar!" (2:30; Ziporyn) — and vice versa. It may be that 'this' opinion forms one category and 'that' opinion forms another, but do they not together form yet another category? Do they not both belong to the category of opinion? Ultimately, if we wish to posit a God, does not this God form a category together with its creation? And if this creation has within it that which is imperfect, does not creation also belong to the category of imperfection? And is not therefore also its creator imperfect? But it is not imperfect; it is perfect. Zhuangzi concludes that we all form one category: “Heaven and earth are born together with me, and the ten thousand things and I are one.”

I would add here, parenthetically, the observation that the suggestion of a 'true nature' as opposed to the actual, everyday nature that one is, is to once again cast us onto the treadmill of endless striving. If there is 'true nature', it is in the realization that there is no other nature than this that is being lived, as it is lived. These are not just words; one can disappear here.

I have just spoken of God, creation, the ultimate and a lot of other rot, but none of this has anything to do with the realization of one's perfection. Rather, one might get closer to it in the contemplation of a rock. Perfection is predicated on nothing. It just is.

Once we have joyously realized that we are perfect in being perfectly who we are, we can more fruitfully get on with the work of ‘perfecting’ ourselves. When off the treadmill of right and wrong, of guilt and non-affirmation, every step is free and joyous.

(The usual disclaimers apply.)

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.

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