Thursday, 19 September 2013

Perfection – Society’s Greatest Misconception?

by Marley Andrews

The concept of perfection is something that has always intrigued me.  One of its oldest definitions came from Aristotle where he stated that it is ‘so good that nothing of the kind could be better’. This provides an interesting comparison to the present day with society’s view of ‘perfection’ playing a large part in how we carry out our everyday lives (whether we realise it or not.) There are whole industries which are fundamentally aiming to help their consumers achieve that ‘perfect’, acceptable look such as makeup brands, beauty products, gyms and diet plans. There are magazines showing you how to get that ‘summer body’ and poking fun at celebrities that may have put on a few pounds. There is a constant pressure to look a certain way which shouldn’t be there. 

Without trying to sound horrendously clichéd, everybody is different, and that’s great.  People often use the phrase ‘nobody’s perfect’, and I never really thought much of it until I sat down and really thought about those two words (probably should have been doing my homework, but that’s beside the point!) It’s such a widely used phrase, normally said to excuse something we may or may not have done and to restore faith in ourselves somewhat, but the thing that I find sad is that, really, in saying that, you’re dismissing the imperfections that make you who you are, because the imperfections are what make you perfect. I’m also using the word ‘perfect’ a little bit too much and confusing myself somewhat.

I don’t think perfection can be defined, despite what the media lead us to believe and what Aristotle stated. It is all dependent on the perceptions of an individual person which is what makes it such an intriguing and sometimes confusing concept. Essentially, it has at least 7 billion definitions, one for each person that has ever lived on this planet – both those who are living, and those who have lived in the past but are now dead.

We may not necessarily be aware of it until we find it but it’s there. I guess what I am trying to say is that no matter what you look like, what you might not like about yourself, somebody somewhere along the line is going to view that as being perfect. Because perfection is whatever you want it to be. It can’t be classified as anything, generally speaking. Going back to what Aristotle said, I do think that he was right in one sense, just so long as it applies to each person individually rather than being a general statement. Perfection isn’t something that we should strive towards because it is something that we already are. <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]-->

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