What brought me to this topic is not very relevant at this point. Wikipedia, the Bible of netizens quotes Aristotle’s concepts of perfection as:–
1. which is complete — which contains all the requisite parts;
2. which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better;
3. which has attained its purpose.
Wikipedia talks about “perfect” and “perfection” with respect to mathematics, physics, chemistry, medicine, ethics and even ontology.
But what interests me is the fact the following:–
Except for the mathematical sense, all these concepts of “perfection” show a kinship and oscillate between ideal and approximation.
Let me get back to “why this topic” now. It is hard to recall, but over the years I have developed a kind of an affinity towards the word “perfect”. My “am perfect” answer to a “how are you” has raised many eyebrows. I assume it is mainly because “how are you” has evolved to become an interrogatory statement which does not anticipate an answer coming its way. The problem I believe is that an overtly superfluous question is countered with a seemingly outlandish answer.
Okay, I shall cut down on some assumptions here. What do I mean when I say “hey, I am perfect”? It of course is not any calculated mathematical perfection. I do not mean to say eureka, I managed to stretch my legs by just about 3.5 inches (oops, let us make it 4, 3.5 is not a perfect number) and have grown taller, now I can compete in the Miss World competition. Or, yahoo, I have reduced seven kilograms and now can put in an application for the post of an air hostess! And neither did I barge into your room at an astronomically auspicious time of sharp three minutes to nine. I have already got into the physical and probably chemical compositions of my body with these examples, so let’s skip that. Not chemical, okay I am sorry I have not measured the perfect quantities of haemoglobin, iron, calcium, water and sodium present in my body. This takes care of the medical issues as well.
I might not be ethical always and probably I do not try to be ethically perfect always. It we talk about the basic principles of ethics, I might not be practising utilitarianism i.e., greater good to a maximum number of people. So, the question of ontology arises. Can perfection actually exist? Let us go back to Aristotle’s concepts of perfection. Am I complete and do I contain all the requisite parts (chuckle, you can too! Reminds me of the Raymond’s ad)? Am I so good that nothing of the kind could be better (well, everyone strives for it to beat competition – either be better or project to be better)? Have I attained my purpose (no, I have not got enlightened under a tree and still have not discovered or invented religion as yet)?
So am I imperfect? Life is all about “change” and every change is towards a goal to be the best, better probably perfect.
Just to cut the long story short (no use now, I have said it all), when I say perfect, it doesn’t mean that I am calling someone else imperfect. It doesn’t mean that I am walking with an air of arrogance and throwing my weight around. It just means that I feel perfect, should I say satisfied with myself. Say, satisfied with my efforts so far that are responsible for the product “me”. A better word can be “content”.
So thou shall declare me imperfect and I shall stop using the word?
Someone suggested that I should substitute the word “perfect” with “better”, “amazing”, “awesome”, “fabulous” or “fantabulous”.
That reminds me of my school teacher who was never happy. When I wished her “Good Morning”, she snapped back, “What is so good about this morning?” Well, I have had many a good mornings and many perfect moments.