What makes great art? What makes life good? What makes a best friend?
We ask ourselves these questions and quickly get lost in how complex they can be. If you are a sane person, you’d never have “perfection” as being among the answers, yet time after time we subconsciously try to make things perfect in our lives. We have a deep longing to own the perfect house, raise the perfect kids, take the perfect photo, create the perfect painting, write the perfect song, and have the perfect spouse. Perfection is warping our sense of reality and crushing our ability to feel like we’ve accomplished anything.
On the surface we might all admit to being imperfect, but to fully embrace it is another thing entirely. For one thing, embracing imperfection is really fucking scary. It means I have to tell people that I screw up, that I say the wrong things, I won’t be done on time, that I don’t understand, that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I hurt, I destroy, and I make a mess of things regularly.
Imperfection is the most human thing about life, creation, and art.
Imperfection is what bonds us and our work together. It reminds us that we are alive and free to feel, to question, and to react. It reminds us that someone actually made something with their hands and didn’t manufacture it with a bunch of machines just like the 500 before it.
“Make it perfect!” is the battle cry of our generation. Auto-tune his voice. Overdub some drum beats. Auto contrast that image. Drop a preset on that photo. Grammar check those sentence fragments.
Make it Perfect!
Technology makes it almost effortless to get closer to perfection and further away from the humane nature of who and what we are. Sometimes being pitch perfect is what is needed… other times curling up with a Cormac McCarthy book might be a better option for you.
If we can admit that nothing we do is perfect… it frees us to start more projects, take more chances, love harder, forgive easier, and finish some things that we were too scared to finish.
Imperfection is the freedom to break the rules. Or at the very least it’s the freedom to not be bound by them.