Imperfection As A Driving Force

Netflix and Instagram are the perfect time-wasters if you are seeking entertainment that doesn’t take up too much brain matter. Once I uploaded my photos to IG the other night, I began looking around for the evening movie (it was Friday night) and stumbled upon High Strung. I figured this would be the perfect movie to float with and unwind, and if I fell asleep in the middle and woke up 15 minutes later, I would still be able to follow the plot. That is exactly what happened, but there was one particular line that struck me. The scene was the old dance professor mentoring the young, talented ballerina who was in pursuit of perfection. Achieving perfection, he said, meant the end of the road, almost equivalent to the end of life, because once you achieve perfection there is nothing else to fight for or strive towards. It is the imperfections that keep us going, he said.

Imperfections ©MTHerzog 

That certainly stuck a deep chord within me. What is perfection? Actually it is an intangible utopian ideal that can be aspired and desired, but never be achieved. Harsh? Yes, and let me share what I have learned on the matter – the concept of perfection changes from life stage to life stage, which means that our individual perspectives will inevitably vary. We outgrow our principles of perfection from our youth, acquire standards imposed by others before us as we mature and develop. But there is no fixed concept and steadfast rule as to what the perfect building, car, boat, airplane, education, job, marriage, life partner or pet is. There are guidelines, yes, but no absolute truths. Whatever we may deem to be perfect is an illusion that we fool ourselves into believing for whatever reason we need it to be so.

Why is perfection impossible and equivalent to death? The answer is quite simple: perfection is infinite.
we are human,
and as such, absolutely imperfect and finite.

The good news is that we have the capacity to improve and redefine our lives and goals as we go along. We adjust and adapt our tools to the moment and incorporate everything we have learned thus far. I am not a ballerina (though I did dance in my childhood) but I am a photographer and writer, and these are my life tools that teach me over and over again that there is no such thing as the perfect camera, the perfect photograph, or even the perfect book. Whatever I shot or wrote three years ago I will edit and change today and churn out something completely different for tomorrow. I have changed my camera equipment based on what I learned about photography, but more importantly, about myself through others. That is the most important truth about imperfection – we learn through the eyes of others and our ability to learn is what defines us.

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