Tuesday, October 22, 2013



Is perfection possible, either in 'Heaven' or on Earth?
Some philosophers have argued that: "If the world was perfect, it could not improve and so it would lack 'true perfection'".

Imagine a 'perfect' day at the beach, which includes a meal of tasty freshly caught sardines.

It was not a perfect day for the sardines.

Summer rain
By Valery Titievsky

Professor Michael Slote, in The Impossibility of Perfection (2011) says certain virtues cannot be had in perfect measure.

If you are perfect in regard to prudence you may not be perfect in regard to adventurousness.

The Impossibility of Perfection

KFC Hunger
By Mayank Austen Soofi

A tree would not be a tree if it was perfectly regular.

Imperfection can be perfect, in the sense that irregularity can be useful.

Is a perfect world simply one where there is an avoidance of extremes?

By © Jamie Mitchell

Some Christians argue: "God creates a perfect world, humans choose to sin, and so the world is no longer perfect."

Can perfection and free will coexist in Heaven? - Scholarofgod.com

We could re-write this as "God creates a world, humans choose to sin, and so the world was not perfect in the first place. It is impossible for God to create a perfect world. The most God can hope for is that humans will avoid extremes."

Imagine you get to Heaven.

In Heaven you stop worrying about all the poor suffering people back on earth; so you are not perfect in terms of sympathy and compassion.

In Heaven, you continue to worry about the poor suffering people back on earth; so, life in Heaven is not perfect.

By maria dupovkina

Some Taoists would argue that every 'thing' and every 'action' is a mixture of so called 'good' and so called 'evil'.

"Taoists believe that nature is a continual balance between yin and yang, and that any attempt to go toward one extreme or the other will be ineffective, self-defeating, and short-lived."

What Taoists Believe

In Taoism, the idea is that if an object has a 'front' it must also have a 'back'.

In a created world there are opposites, yin and yang, which are actually part of a whole.

Waves cannot exist without troughs.

In order for 'compassion' to exist, there must be 'suffering'.

In Taoism, yin and yang (+1 -1) arise together from an initial peacefulness or emptiness (0), and continue in existence until peacefulness is reached again.

Imagine a stone thrown onto peaceful water, creating temporary waves and troughs.

Buddhists believe that you cannot have 'nirvana' without its opposite 'samsara'.

'Samasara' is the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

'Nirvana' is a blissful state where one has ceased to exist as an individual, and where one is free from delusion and suffering.

Budhists do not believe in the 'old man in the sky' type of God.

Buddhists believe that we are responsible for what happens, be it 'good' or 'evil'.

Buddhists concentrate on learning ways to end suffering, escape from samsara and enter nirvana.

For some Hindus, human souls have always existed and were thus not created by God at some time in history.

Human souls are responsible for their 'level of enlightenment'.


Anonymous said...

I noticed the previous comments about perfection seemed more to do with aesthetic perfection than anything else. Surely perfection is really a state of mind where the mind is happy and content with life and all that is?, especially when one is aware that there are going to be times when life isn't always that great?

To me, perfection exists in the natural, simple life. There is NO perfection in technologhy, because it is constantly being improved. Nature and humans are perfect expressions of cause and effect.

Untill we understand how to live on this earth the way nature intended, finding moments of perfection will always be tricky.

BaronSilverBaron said...

So what can we expect in Heaven?
Nobody needs to work because-
Nobody needs to eat
Nobody needs to drink
Nobody needs to sleep because-
Nobody gets tired
Nobody gets ill
Nobody dies
Nobody needs to anything because there is endless time to think about actually doing something.

All those people who profess to "know" about Heaven never attend to these thoughts.
The people that supposedly talk to the dead (mediums) never ask about these practical questions.

Anonymous said...

Hullo Aang,

Admittedly this is an intellectual exercise but regardless... I would declare 'perfect' was a loaded word, effectively begging the question.

A discussion of what is perfect or otherwise is really a discussion of what I like or don't like. Which is to say, it's all about me. Under those terms the dilemma is resolved by achieving what the Buddha achieved - that by realising that there is no self (ie. becoming one with the universe) 'perfect' becomes a moot point.

Under this logic there is no identifiable thing called nirvana. Not really. I suspect that a real Buddhist might take issue with me on this but I would declare nirvana to be um... a complete rejection of the paradigm ...hell, of all paradigms. 'Perfect' then is no longer a meaningful concept.

All things must pass - like landmarks on a highway sliding past the window and disappearing into the rearview - perfection, suffering, you name it. Why attach more significance to one thing than another? There's no future in it, not unless you include the word 'fleeting'.

And there we have it, the only thing in this universe that is utterly certain: change. Okay, so where does any definition of 'perfect' stand under that truism? It's almost meaningless.

And that's that problem solved! All you have to do is: realise that the only certainty is change; that there is no self; and that perfection can only be achieved by abandoning the word 'perfection'. And voila! You become the Buddha. Easy.

best etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

Bloody Hell!

BaronSilverBaron just nailed my life in nine lines.


etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a perfect day could possibly include sardines.

Anonymous said...

@10.58, yes i think you have made a good point.

Since nothing is really permanent i can only assume that when people mention perfection, that they really are talking about 'magical moments' that have had a large impact on them, compared to the mundane 'norm' day to day stuff.

That is why i say that it's really a state of mind. Buddha really got to the grips of awareness and our illusion of being seperate from everything else. You are right to say that we are all part of this thing called life, and truly inseperable from all that is. As you mention, perfection as an 'item' is therefore impossible.

The topic of this thread must therefore be based on the most simplest idea, or illusion of 'perfection', as in what people may think of as 'perfect moments', which are really nothing more than chemical reactions in the brain caused by certain stimulae.Truly what they assume to be perfection are but fleeting moments of euphoria in a constantly changing existence, which is always mind bogglingly amazing and always billions of times better than their small focus on so called 'perfection'.

If only they could realise that life is incredible, they would never need to to seek out perfection.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aangirfan.
Great post.

For years now I've thought that nature is perfect simply because it is full of infinite imperfections, thus making a greater "perfect" whole.

And if only we could relax into nature, we would become part of that "perfect" whole, rather than strive to be apart from it.

shirlz007 said...

Im afraid all of enlightened philosophers, Buddhists and Taoists are ALL wrong!
Perfection is drinking Sangria in the park. Later when it gets dark, we go home.
Perfection is feeding animals in the zoo. Then later a movie too, and then home

shirlz007 said...

or the girl who stars as Queen Isabell, in 'Isabell' on Sky Arts... PERFECT! XD

Anonymous said...


What does it mean?

The unimaginative always start with etymology. From Latin, perficere, "to bring to completion". Perfectus, "brought to completion."

But the real meaning of a thing is the universe of evocations it elicits in every mind that has, will or could exist.

Is physical law perfect? No, we could create alternative laws. Maybe ones that generate richer and stranger worlds. This casts a whole new light on the concept of experimental physics. Where physics is limited only by what can be imagined.

Is mathematics perfect? No. "Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk."
Even the concept of computable, constructive mathematics, as promulgated by the likes of LEJ Brouwer and Errett Bishop, is incomplete:
classical and quantum computability are different animals. Even "interactive computation" puts a different slant on what it means
for something to be constructible. Mathematics is a ceaselessly efflorescencing human endeavour.

Is heaven perfect? Hmm, a world in which you need never worry about irritations like death, hunger, poverty, disease, ageing, deadlines, obnoxious behaviour, even tiresome bodily functions. Gardens of Eternity, where you can relax and enjoy an inconceivably good meal with well-loved friends. Then climb mountains or soar over jungle waterfalls. And journey for aeons with friends, feel the sorrow of parting and the joy of meeting again. Plunge into countless new worlds for the thrill of mortality without the inconvenience of ceasing to exist. Facing and solving problems, meeting new people.

And wanting the same for them.

"No-one should be immortal if even one person has to die."

If you'd be unhappy in a world that is limited only by your imagination, then you need to become more imaginative.
You don't have to imagine riding rocket bikes on Mars. You could start with something simple. Like playing the harp maybe.

Is heaven perfect? Don't know. Just better than what we've got here. And also an eternal work in progress.
A never-ending striving to become something better.

"And we will search, with looks and words of love,
For hidden thoughts, each lovelier than the last,"

For an enlightened immortal, the greatest pleasures in life are understanding others and helping them navigate their world.

Hell is other people? No, hell is just you. Hell is selfishness. Blind greed, narcissism.
Vice is its own punishment.

Heaven is other people. Getting to know them, helping them become more than what they were.

What is perfection really? It is a state of mind.
Anything can be perfect if we love it exactly as it is.

But in absolute terms, only God is perfect.

"Believe me, I have no pleasure in the world superior to that of contributing to yours."

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