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Postby Mohammed » Fri Dec 07, 2001 2:55 am

What is Perfect? Who is Perfect? How do we know that nothing is Perfect? If that was the case, how can Perfect exist?
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Postby Mohammed » Fri Dec 07, 2001 2:57 am

Yes this can be a very misleading topic...but I have always found it interesting...yet confusing. I guess religious views on this topic will alter the way people think.
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Postby ben » Fri Dec 07, 2001 4:00 pm

I think it's important to remember that just because the word "perfect" describes an object which has no flaw, it does not mean that such an object actually exists. In the same way, I can describe a unicorn which by definition has only one horn but that doesn't mean that any unicorns necessarily exist.<P>Existence is not a predicate! Please see my essay title "To what extent can it be proved that God necessarily exists" for a more in depth look at this idea.
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Postby Amy » Fri Dec 07, 2001 5:54 pm

My theory slightly relates to the theory of forms, that the ideal of everything is in our minds and not actually in this physical world. Nothing is actually perfect in this world, because if we DID have perfect things we would know the secret of how that thing is perfect, and would be able to create the perfect world.<P>In saying that, we all think differently and so if I described the ideal man that I saw in my mind, it wouldn't be the same as Clarice's ideal man (nope-the complete opposite of Ben!! Image hehe!!). Meaning there is only our own personal idea of perfect rather than qualities of perfect in our mind that we all share.
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Postby ben » Fri Dec 07, 2001 8:10 pm

Someone's been studying Plato Image<P>Does that mean then, that I can say I'm perfect because it's my own personal idea? Can i say that all my essays are perfect? I would argue that they are not. They are marked against certain criteria which must be totally fufilled before they can be called perfect essays. Just calling it a perfect essay, does not make it so.<P>Plato just doesn't convince me...
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Postby clarice » Sun Dec 09, 2001 4:09 pm

i reckon the concept of perfect is all wrong. it sets a load of standards we all have to live up to, and just results in disappointment. if, as Amy said, we can't actually find anything in the 'the real world' which is absolutely perfect, then the whole concept is only ever going to point out the bad in people. so either perfect doesn't exist, because we can never achieve it, or everything (or everyone Image) is perfect. because otherwise, why do we bother?
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Postby Magius » Mon Aug 12, 2002 7:21 pm

According to the word perfect is defined as...

<i>per·fect (p&#1099;rfkt)
1. Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind.
2. Being without defect or blemish: a perfect specimen.
3. Thoroughly skilled or talented in a certain field or area; proficient.
4. Completely suited for a particular purpose or situation: She was the
perfect actress for the part. </i>

I think these four definitions supercede all the others I have read so far, for the simple reason that they are realistic, down-to-earth, and more importantly they are applicable to real life. Reading through these I have come to the opinion that the world <i>was</i> perfect, prior to the our evolution.

<i>6. Completely corresponding to a description, standard, or type: a perfect circle; a perfect gentleman.
7. Accurately reproducing an original: a perfect copy of the painting.
8. Complete; thorough; utter: a perfect fool.
9. Pure; undiluted; unmixed: perfect red.
10. Excellent and delightful in all respects: a perfect day.
11. Botany. Having both stamens and pistils in the same flower; monoclinous.
12. Grammar. Of, relating to, or constituting a verb form expressing action completed prior to a fixed point of reference in time.
13. Music. Designating the three basic intervals of the octave, fourth, and fifth.</i>

Definitions 6, 7, 8, and 9 are more the type of answers that I am use to hearing and I personally don't believe that these grasp the conceptuality of perfect. The right word for these latter definitions I believe should be quintessential.

What's your take?
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Postby Brad » Mon Aug 12, 2002 10:36 pm

One can look at this discussion as a discussion between Plato and Aristotle.

1. There is nothing that is perfect.

--This is the dismissive attitude. It objectifies the world through Platonic forms and then dismisses those forms. I get the feeling that there's some kind of resentment, frustration, even anger here. The flip side would be apathy, indifference, and cynicism. That is, "Don't tell me something's perfect, I know nothing can be perfect. Don't engage me in something that is not true, not possible."

--Ben's comments aside for the moment. Does anybody else see the irony here? Isn't the knowledge that nothing is perfect a form of perfect knowledge? How does one prove it wrong?

2. Perfection is in the past.

--This is also Platonic. It is also, in a sense, Confucian. Things were perfect before 'we' got here (and by this they usually mean steady state or in balance). This isn't exacty what Plato or Confucius said, but it coincides with the idea that things begin in a perfect form and then degenerate through time to where we are now. It is a deeply conservative viewpoint (literally, not necessarily politically).

--It is a form of nostalgia.

3. Perfection is in the future.

--This is Aristotelian. Aristotle can be seen as taking the reverse side of Plato. Movement is generated by the need of things to return or attain their essence, their perfection, their "what it is that they are". It is fulfilled potential, the best any entity could possibly be. Hegel, Marx, and Fukuyama can all be seen as Aristotelians in this sense with their use of "The End of History". This view can be called progressive (again, not necessarily politically, which is why I added Fukuyama.)

--This is a form of hope.

So, do you dismiss the question -- thereby arguing that you're perfect in that knowledge; do you look to the past -- to what has happened; or do you look to the future -- to what might happen?
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Postby agirl » Tue Aug 13, 2002 4:07 pm

i watched return of the jedi today. i've never seen a star wars film in my life, and i thought it was about time i did. i have been told that it is the perfect movie, and, quite frankly, i thought it was bollocks. which i think goes to show that the idea of perfection would change from person to person, as i saw flaws in that movie that other people obviously don't.
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Postby reggie73 » Wed Aug 14, 2002 12:49 am

Why not start with the premise that everything is perfect? Can we disprov e this?
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Postby Brad » Wed Aug 14, 2002 11:02 am

That's a possiblility. The trick then is to recognize that it is perfect. This follows from Buddhism or at least a certain type of Buddhism.
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Postby locke_key » Thu Aug 22, 2002 5:40 pm

thats pretty interesting. basically that would mean that a 'flaw' is necessary, therefore making our ideal 'perfect' imperfect. but then we would lose all definition, an object with more flaws would be as 'perfect' as one with less. kinda strange put into words...
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Postby Cerberus » Fri Aug 23, 2002 12:28 am

Some of us strive for perfection yet there can be no perfection while there is individuality. Perfection is a point of view, what is perfect for one person isnt perfect for another so therefor to acheive true perfection we would all need to have the same point of view.
What would a world be like where everyone had the same point of view? Would it be perfect? And if not then would u say that a world where everyone thought cold blooded murder was wrong would be perfect.
Yet how would we know it was perfect. We define our goods by our evils, our wrongs by our rights. In order to have perfection you have to have imperfection. Otherwise how would u know that it was perfection...
If we all had the same views, the same ideals. Would we all be one?
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Postby Shade » Thu Oct 03, 2002 3:54 am

Perhaps perfection is everything, and flaws do not actually exist as "flaws" as we like to define them. Perhaps "flaws" are simply part of perfection. Who's to say they are not?

How can anything ever not be perfect or complete? It is as it exists, and that makes it perfect and complete. A broken glass is perfection as a broken glass. It is not perfection as a whole glass, because if it were, it would not be broken. Therefore, I seem to think that imperfection is impossible.

Anyone care to show an opposing side to that concept? I'm interested in hearing one, because I just realized I can't really come up with one, therefore I think I might actually have stumbled upon a concept I agree with.
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Postby cba1067950 » Thu Oct 03, 2002 5:09 am

Shade wrote:How can anything ever not be perfect or complete? It is as it exists, and that makes it perfect and complete. A broken glass is perfection as a broken glass. It is not perfection as a whole glass, because if it were, it would not be broken. Therefore, I seem to think that imperfection is impossible.

You said "It is not perfection as a whole glass...". Being that it is still being defined as a whole glass imperfection can exist in the form of a broken glass.

Also applying the item to situations can bring up an arguement for imperfection. The broken glass wouldn't work when trying to hold liquid.

It's perspective. I wonder if it applys to genetics and stuff.
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Postby Shade » Thu Oct 03, 2002 7:04 am

While I see your point.. at the same time, when it fails to be a glass (imperfection) it succeeds to be a broken glass. Which is perfection. A broken glass doesn't hold water because it's not supposed to.
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Postby Matt » Thu Oct 03, 2002 12:49 pm

I'm not sure I agree with anyone as yet, I think perfection is a very human idea. Look at Magius' definitions,

1,2,3,4 and 10 are all relative to the way one percieves something and so useless as a definiton as then the idea of perfection changes from one person to the next.

6,7,8 and 9 (where did 5 go Magius?) are all basically saying "identical with".

The rest can be ignored.

So while the latter of the two is easy to judge, it is still not the same as identical. Why? Because what it really means is as close as to be identical to as reasonably possible. A "perfect" copy is never an "identical" copy as the identity of the two is not assured, in fact the are highly dissimilar on true inspection. The famous story of some painter (was it da vinci?) being asked how good a painter he was so he draws a perfect circle freehand (you think that's easy, try now)! Well it was a perfect circle to the human eye and ruler, but under high intensity microscope it would have been all over the place. So there is no such thing as perfection without US, and so it is a relative concept. Thus to answer What is Perfect? Who is Perfect? just find the consensus of the people and you have your answer, if you want what is most commonly perfect, or accept that something might be perfect to anyone.
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Postby Skeptic » Sun Nov 24, 2002 8:10 am

Thought this topic was interesting, so I figured I would bump it back up and see if anyone had any other perspectives.

I would think that the only being that could truly be described as perfect would be "nothing". It is the only being that is not in a state of change. Change lacks balance, so it is imperfect. For a being to be perfect, it must be completely static. Of course, most would suggest that nothing as a form of being is a contradiction.

I realize that perfection is really just how you want to look at it, but that is how I look at it. 8)
Last night as I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky, I thought to myself,
"Where the heck is the ceiling?!"

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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Postby inward » Sun Nov 24, 2002 1:53 pm

Skeptic wrote:Change lacks balance, so it is imperfect.

I would say that change somehow knows balance, because it tends to it. So you can't say change lacks balance.
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