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The Pursuit of Perfection
Had a very strange dream last night. Someone - I don't know who - was trying to introduce me to the notion that nothing is complete - that our brains fill in the holes in our reality. If they didn't, this mysterious person said, we'd all see the gaps in between and totally freak out!
I told you it was a strange dream.
Might make a good springboard for a story - or the subject of a documentary perhaps. At least part of one. You wouldn't want to dwell on the topic in case people thought you were crazy...
There's a great Philip K Dick short story that covers the same ground, that he wrote it at least 30 years before The Matrix. In his version, the authorities were covering up the fact they'd destroyed the world and were using sophisticated holograms to make people believe nothing had changed.
It's a metaphor, of course, for the way our governments try to tell us everything is fine when the world's going down the toilet. In much the same way as celebrity spin doctors make their clients look good when their behavior gets out of line.
The irony being that we probably actually prefer the 'spun' versions of real life - from celebrities and indeed our governments - because it appeals to our need to make sense out of chaos and disorder.
So, in that sense, we really do like to paste over the cracks in reality - as a species!
But as I say, it's best not to dwell on these things publicly, in case the men in white coats - or is it the men in black these days - start to take an interest in you!
Artists like to alter reality if you think about it.
They take what's solid and re-arrange it into another form.
They take the immaterial - like thought - and create new forms and new methods of expression.
I'm reading the Steve Jobs biography this week - along with a few million other people I suspect - and in it he says that taking LSD during the seventies made him realize that creating things, adding to the sum of human consciousness, was ultimately more important than making money.
Interesting from a man who made more millions than most of us can count! But no less valid a point for all that.
Jobs was also the man behind Pixar's Toy Story. Did you know that?
He basically enabled the modern 3D animation industry - as well as a few other things, of course. And though he was apparently a difficult person to work for because of it, it was his pursuit of perfection that made him so important to this generation.
He was obsessive about the details - the fonts on the Mac for instance, the weight of the iPad, the texture of skin and hair and plastic in the first Toy Story movie. All the things we take for granted because he understood that part of taking things for granted is not seeing the gaps in between creativity and reality.
That to me was the secret of his success - and his legacy.
Because if we want to create something new, whether that be a creative project or a different way of life, we must aspire to do the same.
Not least because it's a tough world out there.
Books and movies that influence the world are beautifully crafted these days. Nothing is left to chance - because the odd crack, from bad punctuation in a book to sloppy editing in a movie, can destroy any chance of making millions back in profit.
We're spoiled in this regard these days.
We buy stuff - books, DVDs, computer games - and it's all flawless. We watch TV that's stunningly sophisticated and expensive to produce - and we take it all for granted.
We buy toys and electronic gadgets and demand perfection as standard.
And yet we let our own lives - the most important thing we have - just truck along as though we're not in control. We put up with all kinds of awful things in our daily lives we wouldn't countenance in our 'stuff'.
If you want your life to improve, you need to set a higher standard for yourself - and probably others.
Self help gurus tell us you teach people how to treat you - by participating in their abuse of you.
Demand perfection - in yourself and those around you.
Set a higher standard and your life will improve.
You might not ever get to be perfect. Who does? But that's not the point. It's aspiring that's important.
If we demand more of our spouses, our bosses and our governments - and have the courage to walk away in protest when they insist on behaving badly, I'm pretty sure the world would soon become a much better place.
Hey, can't hurt to try...
THIS WEEK'S QUOTE:
"Rob Parnell is the foremost writing guru in the world." Vin Smith, Midnight Bookworm
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