Does perfection exist anywhere in our world? I don’t think so. I know science and technology both rely on precision, and maybe that comes close to perfection. I’m thinking here about space travel and NASA’s ability to plan the timing of shuttle dockings and other such things that are far over my head. I am awed by it all, yet still I’m not quite sure it’s perfection.
I think, too, of delicate medical procedures where highly-skilled physicians repair damaged nerves, remove microscopic tissue cells or perform other surgeries. Are we seeing perfection? Certainly we are grateful for a perfect outcome, yet still, I’m hesitant to speak of perfection.
Why am I so insistent about not seeing perfection around me? Maybe it’s because I know how imperfect we are, and maybe it’s because I believe that man was never meant to be perfect.
I do think it’s interesting, though, to look at the botanical definition of a perfect plant. Quite simply, it’s one that has both male and female reproductive organs. Examples are roses, morning glories, snapdragons, petunias, irises, and lilies.
In that sense, yes, perfection does exist, and as human beings, we can never possibly achieve it… and let’s not get into any discussions of transgender individuals. I’m too old-fashioned for that. You’re either male or you’re female, and either way, like the rest of us, you’re imperfect.
But what’s wrong with that?
One of the most thought-provoking stories I recall is that of the perfect robot baby. This was quite an amusing story, one set in the distant future where would-be parents could purchase a robot baby and be assured of having a perfect child. The young couple of the story decided that would be the best way to experience parenthood. Every mother and father, of course, want their child to be perfect.
They bought their perfect robot baby — this, I believe, was actually the brand-name of the manufacturer — and they were delighted. At first. It wasn’t long before their perfect robot baby began to cry. This perfect robot baby fussed and wouldn’t sleep through the night. It wanted to be fed every three or four hours. And its diapers were often wet — or worse.
The weary new parents struggled for a few days, and finally packed up their less-than-perfect robot baby and hurried to the store to demand their money back. “You told us this robot baby would be perfect,” they exclaimed. “It’s not! It cries! It won’t sleep through the night. We’re always changing diapers, and it spits up on us. We don’t want this robot. We want a perfect robot baby, just like you advertise.”
The salesman’s reaction was one of puzzlement. “But it is perfect,” he pointed out. “It’s a perfect replica of a real baby. Real babies do cry. And yes, you have to change them, and feed them, and they do spit-up. Our robots are designed to do everything a real baby would do, so, yes, every robot baby we sell is perfect.”
I’ve always enjoyed that little story, and I often think about how many things in are meant to be perfectly imperfect. And so, my thought for today is a reminder that true perfection doesn’t exist. If we insist on looking for it, we’re always going to come away disappointed.
It’s much better, I believe, to celebrate our unique imperfections and know that that’s how life is meant to be.