Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where Is Perfection?

A Perfect Ten
Mixed Media on Matte Board
8"x8" matted, image dimension 3.75"x 4.5"
$25 includes free shipping in North America

That phrase popped into my mind when I saw the "10" appear in this mixed media piece..... "A perfect 10".  I'm not much on popular culture but if my mind serves me well it comes from some rating system of the opposite sex that seemed everywhere for a while.  Was it in the '90's?  Did it apply to women only?  I don't really remember but it shows the strange bits of flotsam and jetsam the mind holds.  Give it a little poke and out fly the strangest things.

But it makes me think.  What is perfection?  In this context it appears to be a  value judgement.  My daughter who works in a Vegan Restaurant told a very funny story about a numerical rating system. The dishwasher who has limited English knows that "number 1" is very good so when someone does something he doesn't appreciate he tells them they are number zero.   We like, we don't like, we assign some rating and ranking system.  It might have numbers, it might not.  We do this in subtle (and not so subtle) ways all day long, judging, preferring, attaching, craving.  

But there must be another dimension to perfection.   Philip Toshio Sudo, in his book, "Zen Guitar" says: "The point of training is to strive for perfection.... Being human, mistakes are unavoidable.... Many mistakes arise from self-consciousness -from too much focus on what the body is actually doing.  The only way to overcome self-consciousness is through practice.... Our skill becomes natural - part of what zen masters call our ordinary mind... With practice our muscles no longer rely on the mind."  Ah, a movement toward perfection involves not relying on the mind.  Perfection is greater than this little conscious mind, deeper than my little self.

So is there really perfection in this human realm?  Is it really perfection that we find in something we see or hear or taste, or experience; the perceived pleasure in some "thing" or "action"; the perfect meal, the perfect gift, the perfect day.  Or is it just a turn of phrase?  Perfect today, imperfect tomorrow.  And then there is Toshio Sudo's "striving for perfection", the act of trying to do your best.  Perhaps this is as close as we get to perfection in this human realm, moving toward perfection.  And being okay with that.  And this seems like a perfect point to make my exit and hope that you don't shout number zero at me as I leave.

1 comment:

  1. hi carole
    really like your new postings...just wondering why the font is so small...
    warm blessings