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Perfection

I was reading “Brave New World” [1] from Aldous Huxley [2] a few days back. In the foreword, Huxley talks about the mistakes he has made in the design of the story and how he would avoid them if he would do it once again. In the fight with his conscience about these mistakes, he starts the foreword with “Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment… On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean” [1]. Then, he somehow loses to the temptation, and suggests the changes he would make to enhance the story.

Reading this, I remembered an interview Debbie Millman [3] did with Alain De Botton [4] for Design Matters [5], where he talks about his previous statement “we fall in love because we long to escape from ourselves with someone as ideal as we are corrupt”. He talks about “the awful lot of self-deception in the process of love”, “how people are more susceptible to love those who they know nothing about”[6]  (as that is when they could be imagined as perfect), and how this relates to human beings’ desire for perfection and “projecting that missing perfection in the subject of love” rather than something really lovable in the person they love.

Feelings of longing and missing a person, a place, an action, or a history, are signs of desire for someone’s  own perfection and reflecting on occasions it is missed. For some it could tie to a person or a place, and for some it could be as perfectionist as remorse over missing the perfect design of a story. As attractive as the word “perfectionist”, it is the same main impediment to what it aims for.

From my old blog (Breathing Fine), November 12, 2017

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World
[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley
[3]http://www.debbiemillman.com/
[4]https://www.designmattersmedia.com/designmatters
[5]http://alaindebotton.com/
[6]https://www.designmattersmedia.com/podcasts/Alain-de-Botton