Perfection is an Illusion


Today, I was thinking about a lesson from an art class I took once.  The professor asked us what color an apple was.  When we responded that it was red, she asked if a picture of a red apple looked realistic.  The answer, of course, was no.  An apple isn’t just red.  It’s black, yellow, brown, white, green, and probably many other colors.

When we say that an apple is red, we make a generalization.  Generalizations and categories make life easier for us.  If I said that this apple is black, brown, green, red, yellow, and white and that apple was black, brown, green, red, yellow, and white, they would sound like the same apple.  That’s why we say one apple is red and the another is green in order to distinguish them.

The problem is, that life doesn’t fit nicely into categories.  The world is a mushy, complex thing that doesn’t understand nor care about our crisp, clean categories.  That’s why a painting of a red apple doesn’t look realistic.  It’s a creation of our imagination.  There are no red apples.  Apples are more complex that that.

Perfection is like that apple.  Perfection is a creation of our imagination.  It is how things should  be.  It is something we create because it is easier to understand than reality.  But don’t mistake it for reality.  It is no different than that picture of a red apple.  It is a shadow of the truth.  It is false.  It lacks the complexity of life.

We are not the masters of the universe, only citizens: we don’t have the power to create perfection.

Stop trying to be so gosh darn perfect, it’s never going to happen.  You’re playing the game with the wrong set of rules!  Learn to appreciate complexity.  You are a combination of so many colors.  Study those colors, understand their complexity.  Then use them to make the beautiful picture you’ve always wanted.

Stop selling yourself short by trying to live up to your own illusion of perfection!


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