Perfection is an illusion. An illusion created by our mind by piecing together all the input we get from the media, the people around us and our personal experiences.

I've read two books, The Art of Imperfection and The Looks Book which has changed, or more aptly, improved my understanding of individualism and beauty. The Art of Imperfection basically explores the idea of wonderful chaos and disarray. The beauty of wrinkles of age, making mistakes, being disorganised, an assymetrical face, appreciating and accepting all of who we are; mind, body and soul and all of our imperfections. In one part of the book, the author rebukes the popular philosophy that the core of our being is our reason based on Rene Descartes' saying "cogito, ergo sum" or "I think, therefore I am." My take on this is that we cannot simply close our eyes to what's real, to what we can see in our reflections. Mind and matter go together and that makes us who we are. Take a brain-dead person for example. Is he still the same person? What about a fully paralysed person? Its hard to say really. You think for yourself.

Paradoxically, apparently its true that it is always mind over matter.What our eyes see and what our 'mind's eye' sees are different. Any Biology student will tell you that any stimulus received is sent to the brain to be interpreted. Here is where the change begins. The interpretation. How exactly does our brain interpret what we see and then bring about the reaction we get? How is it different? When looking at an abstract painting, different people can interpret it so many different ways. One will tell you its a masterpiece but cannot fully explain why. Another will just say its just a load of paint caked together on canvass and can't see the point of it. The fact is, our ideas, thoughts, observations, motivations and aspirations are all influenced one way or another by the world around us.

Another book I read, fiction though, was about this guy who was obsessed with the idea that everything we are are an illusion and imitated by others that are also copycats of others. In this sense, its quite true. We are motivated to buy the newest trends because it was worn by a Kate Moss or Victoria Beckham. Even the classics, the Little Black Dress and Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking pantsuit, became classics because people followed other famous people wearing them. The difference is that the classics keep being copied or reinterpreted based on the current trends, which in turn is imitations of other fashions. A more attuned fashion enthusiast will tell you that fashion is a continuous recycling of trends. Like right now, the trend is the tuxedo or vest. That came from the Le Smoking. Another trend is retro prints and styles. That obviously came from the 70's. So by all means, keep everything you have. Sooner or later, that item will come back in demand.

So who are we anyway? Under all this influence, what really remains? Even myself, the ideas I have have been influenced by the books I mentioned. Can we really think for ourselves?

Of course we can. The beauty of reason is that it takes everything, interprets and gives you the result, but the interpretation is different for every person therefore the idea is different. That is where the individuality comes in. The result you get is all you. Sure, we have to face the fact that our personalities are the product of a million types of input we get everyday, but what you get in the end is original. It is what makes you unique. The combination. And no combination is the same.

And here is where imperfection comes in. It gives us the individuality. Making mistakes leads us to our destiny. Our wrinkles show people that we have had a life. A wardrobe full of so many trends over the years show that we are constantly looking for our true identity (and we may never truly find it). Our imperfection shows us that we are human.

So its ok to forget, to be silly and not apologise for it, to make mistakes, and to fumble about, unsure of what we're doing and where we're going. The world is naturally in chaos (what else can you call all those hurricanes and earthquakes) anyway. We may never see the whole scheme of things. That is all beyond our reach. Only God knows the true order in all this chaos. So why waste your life trying to realise your illusions? Utter perfection does not exist. Its what we call the conditions we think are ideal to our individual self. So our imperfection can be another's perfection. Think about that.

This all goes without saying that I too, a human of many flaws, struggle to accept things as they come and my imperfections. Yet these challenges make us stronger. We may never discover our true self but does it matter? Isn't it easier to to live and let live? Reality is harsh but comforting because it is real. Accepting allows us live without too much expectations, too much disappointments and headaches, and impossible ideals. This, however, does not mean we should live day to day with no plans and goals. We should just be realistic, that's all.

Make peace with yourself. Don't beat yourself up if you fail. Don't think too much about it if you feel insignificant in this huge world of ours because you probably are. We all are. Get with the program; love your perfectly imperfect self. Life is only temporary, its what's after that matters.

"Don't frown. You never know who's falling in love with your smile."

4 Responses
  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nabz Says:

    you know when i first read the first few paragraphs, i wanted to say 'wow!' but then the caption underneath the picture sounds too familiar... ;)

  3. I would have quoted it but that wallpaper of yours also doesn't have the name of who thought up that phrase lah!

  4. By the way, I highly recommend that book, The Art of Imperfection by Veronique Vienne. Reading it truly changed my perspectives. Thanks Veronique!

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