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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Perfect Tense

The realization that we should not expect perfection in the personality of others is simply a way of saying we should not constantly place ourselves in a superior judgmental position in relation to the rest of humanity.  Thomas Jefferson wrote: “were we to love none who had imperfection, this would be a desert for our love."  In fact, constantly demanding perfection of others always seems to have a blind side.  With such an insistence on flawlessness, we occasionally bestow a level of perfection on others (say on some notable celebrity) that is completely unrealistic.  This can be harmful to the admirer and to the person idealized.  Not demanding perfection of others is liberating for we coincidentally no longer shackle ourselves with self-defensiveness in vain attempts to protect our own unsupportable pretentions to perfection.  Understanding that we are less than perfect need not cast a shoddy pall over humanity, however.  For in our imperfection, we're given a job to do—strive for perfection.  There is nothing contradictory about striving for perfection and humility, for the struggle for it is itself an admission of imperfection.  The only mortal danger is concluding that we have attained some level of ultimate supremacy.

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