"You can perfect stuff
and it destroys all the interesting
bumps and imperfections."
-- Chris Clark,
from the I Dream of Wires documentary
New: Audio version
[Classic post from 9-8-15]
I watched an interesting (well, at least to me. . .) documentary the other day called, I Dream of Wires. It is a 90-minute history of the music synthesizer. I knew just a tidbit of the history of electronic music but learned so much more watching this great movie. As a musician, I used to own two synthesizers, but they were two of the very common, yet not "real" synthesizers. The original real ones would take up a wall in a good-sized room.
Regardless of whether the documentary or synthesized music means anything to you, I thought you could relate to one of the quotes I gleaned from it. The idea of the synthesizer was to not only create strangely different music but more perfectly controlled sounds. I thought about how that relates to people and our lives, careers and our personal goals and such. Indeed, even--or maybe even especially--about our children or young people in general.
When we are striving for and expecting perfection, we leave behind imperfection which is exactly where our character, our uniqueness, our individual spirit resides. Part of culture and character both is celebrating the differences. What blandness would prevail in a perfect world? In fact, I could make a case that there would be no point whatsoever to the achievement of that. It would be endedness.
Several days ago I shared a phrase that came into my head unexpectedly. It was three words: Preference vs. Prejudice. When we are seeking or thinking perfection, anything that doesn't fit in that space is prejudged as inferior. It is prejudicial to our goal. We think it is a preference, but it is not because preference honors all other forms not chosen.
I could write about a hundred and one examples. When I was in high school, I loved baseball and was actually fairly good at it, yet I was almost always chosen last by the team captains. This was purely prejudiced without any sort of real appreciation of the differences that come to make a real team function well. It was all silly stuff, but a good example of common prejudice.
We see magazines, billboards, and other media showing off very thin women with so-called perfect clothing, makeup, hair, and nails. These are shown as the goal of perfection or what every man and woman wants. This is total prejudice. It is not preference either because it is not honoring the things or people or images of other shapes and sizes and dress of other women. It might be something some men want, and some women want, but a smaller group than we might think.
It is our imperfections that entice. It is that crooked smile of Holly Hunter in the movie, The Firm, along with the so un-Tom Cruise-like character played by David Strathairn who so loved that crooked smile. And, as she said, "Well, It's not my best feature!" David's character was amazed. "Well. . . what is, sweetheart? (I love the movie, but that is my favorite scene in the whole movie)
The kid getting straight A's in school was the holy grail. I did it one quarter in one school year in third grade. Never to be repeated again. My uniqueness remained intact! I made it through with all my imperfections. And, I think we all are far better off with our idiosyncrasies and imperfections. Screw the perfect world. Oops. That was prejudicial, wasn't it!?
I Exercise My Preference And Gladly Choose The Imperfect And Delightfully Flawed.
Spread Some Joy Today--Why the heck not? Got something better to do?