Friday, September 27, 2013

flaws and imperfections

Having lately discovered the French TV police procedural "Spiral," I watched a second episode last night and wondered anew why my own country's creators seemed largely incapable of coming up with something equally inventive. It's money, I suppose, but since reading subtitles is not something I do well any more, it made me a bit cranky ... but not cranky enough NOT to watch "Spiral."

The serial contains what any decent story contains -- character development, a credible plot, and quirky personalities capable of delivering more than a roguishly-unshaved jaw or tantalizing, plunging neckline. Each character has "flaws" ... which made me think:

The search or longing for unflawed perfection may be as strong as it is ballyhooed ... as it is in spiritual adventure. But it is also rather strange. In its simplest form, such purity just means someone might wish to be free of the "flaws" that currently upset life's applecart -- a kind of get-thee-behind-me-Satan longing: Boy, if I could just experience an 'unconditioned realm,' everything would be a lot better! Text heaps upon compelling text; spiritual formats hold out and extol this carrot. And it's nothing to be smug about: The yearning can be heartfelt and inspire some truly daunting efforts.

But even if only intellectually ... if anyone were to attain such unflawed and unconditioned perfection -- in the very moment they attained it -- a new flaw would, ipso facto, be born. And what is true in intellectual gyration is also true in quite personal fact. Simply put, there is no capacity to outrun the flaws ... which is lucky since what is flawed -- just as in the TV serial -- is far more interesting than what is not.

I wonder if there is another word, something less hoity-toity and derogatory than "flaw" or "imperfection."

Maybe it's like ironing a recently-washed shirt: Of course there are wrinkles and of course they need some smoothing, but there is nothing "imperfect" or "flawed" about the shirt. The shirt will not be more perfect -- perhaps even unto the 'unconditioned realm' -- after various warming efforts have been applied. Those efforts need to be applied if you don't want to look like some stumble-bum, but they are no guarantee you won't get fired.

Well, I'm just digging myself in deeper and deeper here. What the TV suggested to me was that the flaw IS the perfection and the perfection IS the flaw. The one without the other is just legerdemain. Say "it's all one" and you've screwed the pooch. Say "it's the same, but different" and you've screwed the pooch again. Say "there is perfection" or "there is imperfection" and the problems simply mount up. Say, "there is perfection and it's just one shirt" and it's oopsy-daisy anew. Perhaps there is "unexcelled perfection" but what happens when you mention it? Isn't it just more bullshit on the pile you were trying to dig yourself out from under?

I dunno. It just seems to me that "flaws" and "imperfection" get an unduly bad rap even as "perfection" and "purity" get an unwarranted good one. Why speak Urdu in a land where English prevails?

Turning down the volume might help a little.

Or, who knows, maybe even a lot.

I believe I'll try to leave perfection and imperfection to their own devices. There are shirts to iron.

Smooooth sailing.

1 comment:

  1. Love Spiral.
    But Adam H.B.O. produced THE greatest crime series ever imo.
    The Wire.
    Its huge in both breadth and depth.