Shades of grey – The perception of perfection

By Gayatri Sankar | Updated: Oct 20, 2014, 09:10 AM IST

“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.” - Salvador Dalí

Each of us has often heard people discussing perfection and what we could do to try and become “perfect”. We often assume that everything around us is either black or white, and seldom acknowledge or appreciate the existence of greys.

Be it in terms of a person’s appearance or the way we characterize an entity. We often wish to see things the way we expect them to be and rarely accept them the way they are. That could probably be because of the idea of an “imaginary” concept of perfection that makes us believe that things ought to exist in a certain way and not another.

Marketing geniuses have taken great inspiration from the negative attitudes that societies and varied cultures wear. However, the urge to attain perfection is universal. Else we wouldn’t have internationally acclaimed personalities endorsing “fairness creams” for fair and flawless complexion. Flawless complexion is understandable. But how does it matter if it’s fair or dark?

Now, does that mean that people with dark complexion are in any way inferior?

Similarly, when it comes to the body type of a person, people often pass judgments categorising him/her according to his/her size and shape. Now who decides what “perfect vital stats” are? Can we look beyond 36”- 24”- 36'’ and admire people for their imperfections?

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” said philosopher Plato.

Promotion of perfection may prove to be an excellent marketing strategy but it does sow the seeds of inequality.

The desperation to attain perfection often leads to depression, I believe. If we were to take a closer look at Mother Nature, we would realise that there’s nothing perfect on the surface and yet everything is totally in place.

Take the petals of a flower for instance. Each petal is shaped and sized differently. Yet when put together, they look incredibly beautiful. The full moon may look “perfectly” spherical, but a closer look at the moon will show the huge craters! The rocks that form a mountain are asymmetrical and so are the waves in the ocean. A baby speaks only gibberish and no perfect language. Yet we understand and enjoy their vague conversations.

Nature is imperfect. But we, who are ourselves products of nature, are yet to come to terms with the fact and display hopelessness by hunting for perfection.

Even when it comes to an institution like marriage, we are obsessed with the idea of a “perfect life partner”. Nothing works on its own. The two people involved in the relationship have to work hard to make it 'perfect'. Even in a “perfect marriage”, there are lows and highs. it is only how the couple handles the lows that decides how a marriage will turn out. There is no Bollywood love story in real life. They say “it takes two to tango” and rightly so. Both the man and the wife have to work as a cohesive unit to make marriage a success by compromising, adjusting, understanding and caring.

So do we really think perfection is realistic? Are we influenced by what we see or hear? If yes, then who do we blame for ingraining such bizarre ideas into our brains?

If people are “fair as snow”, then are they angels so are dark people evil? And as we know this is not true, then why this disparity? We are humans and have elements of both black and white, good and bad. Then why do we judge people so much?

Contentment comes only when we admit to having weaknesses. As responsible global citizens, it is time to rise and awake, reject unrealistic and unjust beliefs that discriminate people in the garb of selling “perfection”. Maybe the time has now come to change our perception.