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Looking For Perfection In An Imperfect World

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I have a point I'm trying to make, but I found that the background of a story is really useful for illustrating this point.  So, here's the background first.


For those of you familiar with Brandon Sanderson's works, you may know about The Stormlight Archives series (TSA).  I believe it makes quite a commentary on the concept of "perfection".

Most of his series deal with very imperfect people behaving very imperfectly.  And so many of the characters in TSA are deeply flawed beings.  In fact it is the story of a world where "Honor" (the deified personification of the character trait) was actually died because there were no more honorable people in the world.

What differs with this series is that the story centers on two people (Dalinar and Kaladin) who can be considered the very model of honorable men.  But as we go further into the series, we find dark pasts and reason to recognize that they are much more flawed than we hope the protagonists are.

A pivotal moment is that Kaladin's father explained why they had to be honorable in a world filled with people who did not value honor.  He says,"Someone has to start, son."  For a long time, Kaladin believes that his father began, but he wants Kaladin to continue the line of honor.  It is only after a startling (and highly disappointing) revelation that he realizes that his father could not endure.  As much as he tried, he was not the one to maintain the role of honor.

All the more difficult for Kaladin to believe that he would be the one "to start".


I had started another post about "positive male role-models".  I mentioned how two very imperfect men were actually my role models.  In fact, I had several others, including adulterers, alcoholics, drug addicts, liars, thieves... you get the picture.  But even these very flawed men taught me valuable lessons of life.  They taught me the little good that they had to offer.  And it was up to me to eschew the evil that they exemplified in and of themselves.


Why do we look for perfection in a world that, I believe, everyone on this site has acknowledged is highly imperfect with highly imperfect people?

  • Today's youth simply don't live up to their potential and many are "lost" in the evils and pitfalls of the age.
  • Marriage partners must be absolutely perfect or else we're just not sure if we want to marry. (This one I can mostly understand).
  • Movie stars and athletes aren't good role models (quelle suprise).
  • Everyone at the office must be perfectly professional or we just don't want to work with them.
  • Police must always make the perfect split second decisions.
  • Political correctness & cancel culture.
  • Virtually anything with politics and government.

The list goes on and on.


I remember being asked in high school -- what I looked for in a girl.  I explained that I couldn't really know because I really want perfection, but for me to find a perfect woman for me, I have the responsibility of being perfect for her.  There is the other half of the equation.

  • Our youth are often blamed for being "imperfect' children and youth.  Are we being perfect parents?
  • I want my wife to be perfect.  Am I a perfect husband?
  • Movie Stars are supposed to entertain.  We pay them.  That should be the end of it.
  • If we want others at the office to be perfectly professional, we need to be professional ourselves.
  • If we want the police to make perfect decisions... try walking a mile in their shoes.
  • Political correctness can go take a flying leap.
  • Our politicians are merely a reflection of our population, not an example of what we are to emulate.
  • Perfect government can only be found among a perfect citizenry.  How many of us actively participate by calling our local, state, and federal representatives on a regular basis?

In other words:


We need to be the change we hope to see in the world.

 -- Joseph Ranseth (a flawed individual who helped many people in his life)

Most people simply reflect the world around them. An exceptional person will be the image that others will reflect.

So if we are to look for perfection in an imperfect world,


I'm starting with the man in the mirror.

 -- Michael Jackson (another highly flawed individual that gave some joy to many people during his life)

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9 hours ago, Carborendum said:
  • Marriage partners must be absolutely perfect or else we're just not sure if we want to marry. (This one I can mostly understand).

I got lucky and married the perfect spouse.  She's still perfect to this day (and, I might add, has gotten even better in almost every way).  Extremely beautiful, but also caring and thoughtful.  I got extremely lucky...still can't figure why she wanted to marry me, but as I said, I got lucky.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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We can't find perfection.  We are all carnal, sensual, and devilish creatures.  People suck.  The only person that didn't suck was Christ.  The only way we can find perfection is to be perfect in Him. 

This does not mean that we can't increase in virtue by making good choices. 

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I was raised by the two most perfect people I have ever known.  My mother said to her dying day that I was the most difficult of her children.  My two older brothers are quite close to perfection as well.  I am the black sheep in a family of high achievers.  Life has been so strange for me.  Outside of family I am considered smart and a high achiever but at home and family I am the one that has done the least with my talents.  Of course I would pick a spouse that fit in well with my family.  She is even better at loving and so I must strive to be worthy of her.  I am of all men - the most lucky and blessed though I do not deserve it so.

But I would pass on something from my father who taught by example - that the greatness of a person is in the majesty of their failures and the humility of their successes.


The Traveler

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