Is Perfection Always Better?

We strive to improve. Our selves, our works, everything.  So perfection is the ultimate, is it not?

I am not so sure. I think what many may define as perfect may lead to too much sameness. If everything is perfect is anything better? Isn’t there value in nothing more than being different? Can’t sometimes a slight blemish make something more desirable? Does the means by which perfection is achieved matter?

No, Yes, Yes, Yes are the correct answers, in my humble opinion.

To think that wine started this internal philosophical debate. No not drinking some–though that would have helped– but reading about it. Twice.

The first article was in the Hemispheres magazine found on United Airlines. This article compared the techniques of two winemakers. One was driven to make wine better through genetics. Breed the best genes for the wine. The other, while recognizing the value of the grape variety, he believed making great wine was created based on the soils, micro-climate and most importantly the care and feeding of the vines by a master using his instincts. The first would create a wine that the average buyer could most readily count on as being of a certain quality. The latter spoke of the character, personality and even the sould of the wine. Each vintage may vary but it would always be the best it could become.

Somewhat later I read in The Economist that the pinot noir genome has been sequenced. This has opened the door for genetically modified wine. Also leading to greater consistency of one grower’s view of the perfect wine.

Now I know that some level of genetic modification of foods may be helpful to create strains less resistant to certain diseases or insects. This type of modification may help better feed the world. Let’s assume for purposes of this discussion that these genetic modifications do not cause other problems for animals or the humans that consume them. Still is a million of the same “great” item mass produced really better?

Whether we are are talking food, wine or people, i.e. plastic surgery to “improve” our looks, I disagree that this is a way to achieve “better”.  Let’s talk superficially for a moment about how people look.

I study how people look in great detail. I have for as long as I can remember. I see everything. What I see on TV or in the movies or magazines that looks too perfect doesn’t look right. Jessica Simpson. Take each component part and I would have to objectively say that each one is very attractive. Yet the total package looks too plastic. (I am about to show my age so bear with me.) Sophia Loren. Too chunky, long nose. Yet stunningly sexy and gorgeous. Cindy Crawford. The mole makes the face more attractive. Men with cleft chins, such as Cary Grant or George Clooney. Not perfect in the Brad Pitt kind of way but good looking guys–so I am told by women I know. Also there can be outstanding beauty in the an aged, time tested face that no youthful complexion can match.

Should any of the Impressionist painters stayed within the lines? Or Picasso? Are these not masterpieces?

And with taste, be it wine or great food. Being a little different each time is my concept of perfection.

Last point. Science as a way to perfection is a lesser means than art. Being able to slice genes or peoples faces to get something that is theoretically better does not improve our souls the way that working with your hands, studying the large and small techniques for creating something and sometimes failing, can do.

This is beauty. Perfection. I saw her in Amsterdam.


About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

3 Responses to Is Perfection Always Better?

  1. Carol says:

    I agree with most of what you say. Except, that Cary Grant is perfect; he has mannish looks.

  2. Frank says:

    Excellent essay…and a beautiful point made of the woman in Amsterdam. Beauty.

  3. 48facets says:

    I wanted a closer shot of the woman but did not want to disturb her nap.

    I am really getting into the frame of mind that how you get there is more important than where you get to and expanding our ideas about what is beautiful.

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