Perfection. Why are some people pursuing this ever-fleeing concept; why do they almost always end up giving up; and why have you never heard of anyone who has never given up on it? Well, it’s pretty simple, actually.
Perfection is, first and foremost, only a concept. It is born and lives in your imagination. Nobody, alive or dead, has achieved nor will ever achieve perfection. Be it a perfect work of art, a flawlessly balanced lifestyle, true enlightenment, etc. And I believe that this bait, this carrot which is never closer to you however fast you run, is impeding many naive persons into concluding their work. I’ve known a man who would never be able to record his compositions because they were not perfect to him, and he would always destroy them in the end. It doesn’t even matter how hard I tried to tell him that they are more than good enough for any purpose, but he wouldn’t listen to me. It’s a real shame; I really wanted to be able to listen to his music on my own.
Now, why do people finally give up on that, and how do they do it? I’m glad you asked. People give up for numerous reasons: not throwing away all the effort they’ve put into a particular project, spreading their artistic vision to other minds, showing off, etc. There are as many reasons as there are people and circumstances. But then, how do they give up? I guess they mostly do this by lowering their expectations, resulting in a perfect enough work. Some might do this even unknowingly! It’s as if all the times you’ve re-recorded a certain part, re-written a particular passage, or completely re-thought your whole concept or approach takes a notch down your “You must be this tall to ride” sign. Probably some will also knowingly accept an obviously imperfect work, just because at this very moment they are upset and tired and discouraged. These people will most likely regret this choice later in life, but at least they’ve got something done, haven’t they?
Then there are the people who never get to end any project they have at heart. And these are, unfortunately, the people you’ve never heard of, and never will. It’s an easily imaginable fallacy to think that, since we are better, wiser, and more knowledgeable every day, tomorrow’s me will do a better job than today’s me at doing this thing – be it writing a poem or a song, or starting a drawing or painting. Therefore, the day one should create art that is meant for the public is the day of their death. These are the people you never hear of, or if you do, it’s by the posthumous release of their unfinished works.
However, ideas are like tectonic plates, as in that they surface someday from the depths of your brain, and are hot and luminescent, malleable, but they quickly cool down and become dull, disinteresting, and very tough to change, until they get recycled into the mantle of your head and are somewhat forgotten about, but they serve to the creation of newer ideas. I guess that what I’m trying to say here is that imagination is a continuous cycle of new and old ideas spewing out and getting back in, merging together in various unexpected ways to sometimes amazing results. If you keep working on the same project for too long, instead of getting closer to perfection, it might get spread too thin and diffuse through the unceasing flow of new ideas, diffusing them back too, and become lost in all this. I’m sure everyone is inherently different about that too: some will be able to focus on a certain work without erring, while others must almost rush everything they undertake because new ideas pop up all the time and their interest gets lost.
In the end, there’s a certain moment when you must accept your creation with its flaws and weaknesses; that’s what makes it a work of art. I hope that this little post of opinion will help some of you who are struggling to achieve something.