The other day I wrote of perfection, and how it hasn’t been something I have historically coveted. And while I was writing that, I had a quick search through my old posts to see if I was fooling myself. Having found no such evidence, I clattered on happily.
Then, yesterday, I was going through old posts for a different purpose – trying to pull out any words of value to decide if I want to do anything with them – and lo and behold, I found me speaking of my desire to do everything exactly right, and my preference to be flawless.
Now, in my defence, I was writing like that to mock myself, because I know very well how ridiculous it is to set ‘perfection’ as the benchmark. But it does highlight a certain hypocrisy within me that I hadn’t really acknowledged when writing of perfection the other day.
I hold myself to higher standards than everyone else. And I will continue doing that; I don’t think that’s a problem, operationally speaking. But because of that, perhaps I apply the wrong standards to myself, sometimes, because I forget to look at myself through the same lens with which I look at the rest of the world.
I was about to wonder what it might be like to be seen as perfection exactly as I am, given that my previous post suggests that should be possible. But then I remembered; I’ve had people claim me as their perfection before. And I balked because I knew their perception was distorted and incomplete. I balked more because they didn’t seem to know their perception was distorted and incomplete. They were convinced they were right about me, yet the things they declared were untrue, or superficial, or tangential from my side of the aisle. They weren’t seeing the heart of me.
So for an experience of perfection to be true, it must need to be a dialectic. A conversation between subject and object; a constant questioning. The perfection exists in the interplay. It is a third entity. Jesus fucking Christ what have I dug myself into here?
Perhaps that’s why, when enamoured with a work of art, for instance, we might be compelled to seek out context; history of the object, commentary from its creator; something to validate our experience of it. But the truth is, that can come from the work, and the work alone. And that can be frustrating, because we don’t necessarily know how to converse reciprocally with a song, a sculpture, or a dress. So we might not even try.
It’s easier and harder with another human. We know how to do it a little better, but the reply is likely to be far more blunt. Well, thank you for clearing that up, I’ll be on my way now. And that can tempt us not to ask the question. To live in the beautiful lie just a little bit longer. But what if the answer is Yes? And what if it keeps being Yes? What if you can keep having the conversation to your dying day and the answer is always Yes!?
More importantly, what if the answer is No? If we don’t ask the question, we don’t get the No, either, and then we miss our opportunity to experience perfection, fleeting or otherwise, someplace else. If we don’t keep asking the question, we’ll trap ourselves in a world devoid of magic, because we’ll have surrounded ourselves with things that we don’t really want to look at. We’ll tell ourselves we do, when really we’re too scared, and we’ll miss out on some incredible conversations.
And we won’t only be stealing from ourselves, if we keep our questions in – we risk denying others the experience of their own mortal perfection. Maybe the art doesn’t mind (although I’m not convinced of that), but the people surely do.
This wasn’t where I thought this post was going, but I like it better than what I thought it would be.