Updated and Revised but Not Perfected: Is Perfection Really the Enemy of the Good? Why Yes, Yes it is.

Snowflakes prove there is no perfect snowflake...

Is there a perfect snowflake?

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Or flower?

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IMG_1004Or is there a perfect child, or grandparent, or wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend?

There are so many good, for the good makes room for a small, small world of countless differences.

Perfection, philosophers assure us, is the enemy of the good. Yet it is good to excel. What do we excel toward? Perfection. Then how is perfection the enemy of the good again?

Because while we excel toward perfection, perfection is not the goal. Perfection is a divine gift, an ideal that British radar pioneer Robert Watson-Watt said, “never comes.” I believe he should have said, “..in this life,” but that’s quibbling with his context. Also, there is an exception to every rule, and perhaps an exception to that rule too.

Perfection evades our grasp as entropy dogs us, the unexpected delays us, or survival challenges tax us. Yes, attachment to this world seems to anchor us down, unable to fly up to havens of perfection.

All the dreams of perfection we want, such as immortality, eternal love, and inalienable acceptance are retirement benefits that vest only after our own personal work as the farmers of our souls and as helpers of our fellow farmers, is done. And the work is only done when we die, true? At the end of this life, everything takes extra work. Just ask those living into the golden years. Earthly retirement is not real retirement, for the work goes on!

Living and dying while struggling to excel in goodness-for-goodness-sake is the work of our lives that we can and must excel at. Genuineness in this quest can’t be faked, and comes with letting go of desiring and grasping, yet receiving all blessings thankfully with hands that multiply and distribute them to others. Some call this renunciation of self, yet it is more. It is giving of self, enlarging one’s heart by letting go, and expanding in spiritual freedom and vitality by giving.

Death is retirement from this noble work in this life. Afterward, retirement benefits kick in, that is, the Divine Gift (some believe by other agencies) of immortality goes to those who farmed within their hearts the seeds of goodness. There is more wisdom in our entropic bodies than meets the eye, as they fertilize with humility the spiritual seeds for resurrection and eternal life awaiting the Sunrise. Eventually, the Harvester of growing crops comes and transplants them where all are nourished without eating, and there is no entropy or waste. People of love rise again and the Spirit says, “It’s all good.”

So let go of grasping for receiving, and grasp your partner to dance, or grab a hand and pull someone up who is down, or grab a rock and pull yourself up for a better view by which to navigate for a greater purpose and destination than temporary self satisfaction. We handle the good to give, not to keep, but to share and distribute once it has taught us what we are to learn on the day. We excel each time we do this. We plant new seeds and make our fields more fertile with humility each time we do this.

And how will we know when we are prepared enough? When we’re done. When our spirits have left our broken bodies. How does that all work? I believe we’ll find out. Until then, let’s help and inspire each other. Let’s imbue each other with value, making value, multiplying value, and giving the value of love and all of its goods to one another, and do so for our entire lives.

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12 thoughts on “Updated and Revised but Not Perfected: Is Perfection Really the Enemy of the Good? Why Yes, Yes it is.

  1. “Death is retirement in this noble work of life.” Very beautifully said, Mike, and very true, I believe. Death takes on a different meaning when you get close to the edge of life, but it’s really nothing more than the natural order of life. Enjoy each day for what it brings and appreciate those you love. Simple, yet we make it so hard.

  2. Hi,
    I agree with you.
    I wrote a long time ago that: “Good is so perfect that He is imperfect”.
    I don’t know if that idea is the same thing as yours but at least these two are parallels.
    Have a nice Sunday.

    • Except that the way your wrote it is more concise, and makes it easier to think through in different combinations.

      For example, “Goodness can always perfect the imperfect. Yet perfection cannot make good. Perfection is unsustainable, undesirable, and impossible without Goodness in the heart.”

      “A spot of goodness in the heart can eventually make many kingdoms perfect, but a kingdom of perfection without goodness in the heart is a brittle crypt.”

      And that sort of thinking made me reflect on perfection as the restoration from death, as a byproduct of goodness, for goodness always regenerates life.

  3. Robert Frost had it right when he assessed the nature of things in this present world, that pesky Second Law of Thermodynamics:
    Nature’s first green is gold; her hardest hue to hold,
    Her early leaf’s a flower, but only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf; so Eden sank to grief.
    Then dawn goes down to day; Nothing gold can stay.

    Not yet anyway.

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