Perfectly Flawed

"Still, perfectionism is the greatest ideological threat that we have ever encountered as a species"

My favourite type of porn is word porn… I love words! No wonder then that I have at times been guilty of sending out words into the world that were absent action. When I look back at those words, so full of promise, of intent, I grow a little sad - because absent action they were in the end, just sounds. Noise. Our society has long held this knowledge, the discovery is not a new one; it is laced into our language. We have all heard, no doubt, of how actions speak louder than words. If there is anything of a message in these ramblings, it is that everyone has a mouth stroke keyboard, it is not very hard to use (trust me, I know) but the only real currency that we have is movement. Undertaking.

I have been fortunate enough to know a lot of intelligent people who were very good at speaking about a lot of intelligent things. If I were to hazard a guess I would say that most of them are out there somewhere still um… speaking. That seems like such a tragedy. The world needs intelligent people, after all. It is not nonsense that these people speak, a lot of it makes sense, some of it is possibly even ground-breaking, but inaction strips it of its potentiality. Reducing it, some may say, to an impotent mixture of sound and fury. (I don’t know who these ‘some’ are, but they sound very convoluted). Joking aside. The unwitting waste of potential, the inadvertent defeat of action, is a very costly circumstance.

Does perfectionism sabotage our efforts? (Credit- Unsplash)

It goes without a saying that our ancestors were so much more about action than we. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but (if I’m broken, something broke me, and -) I blame social media. That’s been the main shift in how we live our lives. Again, I really enjoy social media (trust me, I do!) But there is something about a culture of cultivating still images and carefully curated words to accompany said still images that ultimately stifles action. I think that a fair number of people are afraid to “do”, and if not afraid then at least slightly hesitant, because of this garish man-made spectre that is hanging over all of us. I no longer mean social media. The ghost I’m talking about is perfectionism.

It is a ghost because it is not real, it does not exist. Still, perfectionism is the greatest ideological threat that we have ever encountered as a species. If left unchecked it will give birth to a planet of talking heads incapable of doing anything significant because what’s the point in trying? If it’s not going to be perfect, why even bother? That thought has robbed the world of a fair few novelists I would imagine and perhaps a large swath of doctors and other such miracle workers too.

"But as an intelligent person once told me [...] you can’t criticise something that’s not there."

I began all of this by speaking about porn, pornography, and the main lesson I’ve taken from porn is that no matter how good something is, if we are to take Mr ILikeMilfs247 at his word, there’s probably something out there that’s loads better. Youtube has also taught me the same lesson, the comment sections in general really. Despite the shocking levels of dissatisfaction on Pornhub (or wherever you get your ethical porn from), I would like to reassure you, and myself, I suppose, that real life doesn’t quite work the same way. For one thing, it’s a whole lot more believable! I jest. But as an intelligent person once told me (and the million others listening to her podcast) you can’t criticise something that’s not there.

So to all the people that have ever dared to put out deeds into our world, who have ever risked flopping, I am insanely thankful. Everyone has something inside of them that’s divine, that’s magical and I hope that more and more of us find the courage to let it out - for all of us.

Marshall is a self-taught student of psychology, hugely interested in diasporic politics and contending with the question of how we can all best function within an increasingly polarised society.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this piece belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Demographica as a company.

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