Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Limitations of Perfection

Excluding a whimsical intermission on the nature of reality, this post marks the conclusion of that series in which I described those traits I would find desirable in an ideal woman. Now the ink has been spilled, and my childish desires uncovered, but all the same, what was the point?

To be sure, I can't really say there was one, except that at some moment (likely induced by boredom and sleep deprivation) I felt the exercise to be of some value as a diversion, and perhaps of some interest to any passing reader. But like all good aspirations, the definitions serve to illuminate my personality to the same degree, at least, as the erstwhile subject.

What exactly that light has revealed about me is a matter of some interpretation, but at the very least those inclined to draw a favorable conclusion will admit that my standards are not entirely shallow. As for them who may draw the alternative inference, well, there was already enough out there about me to criticize at any rate.

Of course, it goes without saying that there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect person, and indeed even insofar as I have defined the term yet it is still too ephemeral and unrealistic to survive the rigors of real life. It is unfortunate to admit that ones aspirations may not be achievable, or even realistic. But as to this subject the true difficulty arises upon consideration of the contrary conclusion.

What are the chances that you would ever meet the one right person? And how could you even be certain he or she was it? For that matter, what are the chances that you could find your perfect job? The ideal home? The right friends? How do you know you even have the life you're supposed to have? These are indeterminable, and not entirely because their values are indeterminate, but rather instead as they are subject to the uncertainties of human existence.

We accept the imperfections of life because we have learned that reality itself is a kind of compromise; one we navigate as surely as circumstances permit. We do the best we can. This is a comfort to us even when we fail, because it is not clear that there is anything better. But suppose there was?

The real tragedy would be if there was such a person (or job, or life, and so forth), or several, and yet you were never to meet. Or else perhaps even worse, you may remain together for years in cordial association, unaware of the potentials, or unwilling to test them. This is a melancholy thought, and one that, as with all discussions of the possible is best considered briefly and with a shallow investment, but one that should never be entirely forgotten.

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