Perfection, Not Here

As I look out at the world today, it seems like people are being held to a perfection standard no one can meet.  Any current or past action that doesn’t meet today’s social norm is a permanent blight on your record. The most concerning part of the underlying tone is that people can’t change.  Any mistake made is a view into their true unchanging nature and a perfect excuse to ignore or even ridicule them for the rest of time.  I don’t know what is driving this change, but it seems to be a combination of events and effects.

The explosion of social media clearly has had an impact.  People are putting their entire history and every thought on line.  You can’t get away from the permanence of the internet in the cloud.  Because you can’t change or get away from your past, the human psyche then leads people to take the position that they are always right and anyone who has a different opinion must be wrong, or worse, evil.  The alternative is to admit that you are wrong or evil and unwilling or unable to change.  People just can’t handle the alternative, so it must be everyone else who is evil.

The problem is life is never that simple.  We are all complex people made up of things we have done that are good and bad.  In the final book of the Harry Potter series, one of the things Harry had to come to grips with was that his hero and mentor, Dumbledore, was not the perfect saint Harry viewed him to be as he grew up.  Dumbledore did things he regretted.  Dumbledore did things that he should not have done.  Dumbledore was even pals with one of the most evil wizards of his time, Gelleret Grindelwald, before they had a falling out. Those things did not necessarily make Dumbledore a bad man, they simply made him human.  Harry had to come to grips with the fact that Dumbledore was a person just like you and me, with imperfections.  But the key is that those imperfections did not define the man. He was and should be defined by everything he did, not just one or two bad things.

We all make mistakes; we all have failings that continue to be part of our lives.  The question is can we learn from them, can we overcome them? Maybe the bigger question today is will society allow people to change?  Can people be less than perfect, but still meet with society’s approval and acceptance? I hope so.

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