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What needs to be emphasized, when discussing social norms especially in the context of disability, is that no human can become perfect. Some humans may have one or several favorable qualities that are well-developed, but because of the multidimensional nature of humans no individual can be denoted as perfect, flawless, or unequivocally without fault. All humans are imperfect. Many acknowledge that perfection is impossible in real life (Arokiasamy, 1993; Lazarsfeld, 1991; Pacht, 1984). Yet, the strong force of social norms distracts people from this fact. Like the inevitability of death, the fact of imperfection is suppressed and denied by many. Pacht (1984) described a client who believed she was perfect even pointing out that the word "imperfect" can be "visualized as I.M. PERFECT which of course reads, I am perfect" (p. 388).
The assertion that no human is perfect is relevant to the field of disability studies for many reasons. First, perceptions are held by many people that individuals with physical or mental disabilities are imperfect and thus are avoided due to fear of safety or contagion (Smart, 2001). Such discrimination and stigma is a blatant disregard and denial for the fact that no human is perfect. The anger, avoidance, blame, and stigma that is often heaped upon individuals with disabilities could be explained as a projection of an individual's own insecurity and non-acceptance of the fact that he or she is also imperfect. The projection of the "fiction of perfection" (Lazarsfeld, 1991) unfortunately finds a target in people with disabilities. This may occur because disabilities may serve as a threat to one's conscious and unconscious body image (Livneh, 1982) which may include beliefs about the importance of (physical) perfection. Disability may also pose an unconscious reminder of death (Livneh, 1982) which could be viewed as the ultimate form of imperfection due to not having control over all aspects of one's life.
Perfection For An Imperfect World Essay
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Since then, my belief has strengthened. For example, every time I am overtaken with jealousy, I pull my dusty belief from the back of my mind and make it new again; imperfection is perfection. It’s like Buddha says:
R2P: Seeking Perfection in an Imperfect World
The same logic that is used to counter the perception that there are "perfect" humans can be used to address the thoughts when an individual declares that it is not "fair" that he or she has a disability. Is absolute fairness possible, like absolute perfection? And if so, upon what qualities and by whose standards is fairness (or perfection) judged? Fairness, like perfection, is a perceived quality that depends upon the individual's worldview. "Fairness [like perfection] is not a universal/objective concept" (H. Livneh, personal communication, January 13, 2001). For example, if an individual picks a certain quality claiming that absolute fairness would be that everyone earns the same income (e.g., a communist society), then a problem arises when one individual works harder than the other. Is it "fair" that they are paid the same amount? Translating this into disability topics, is it "fair" that individuals differ widely on any one quality, whether it be physical, emotional, or cognitive abilities? Would perfect fairness be achieved if we all were the same on a specific quality, yet differed widely on other qualities? And who would choose which specific quality would be most desirable for all of us to be equivalent? In a similar way, who decides what qualities would make up a "perfect" person?
Individuals with congenital or sudden-onset disabilities may internalize the stigma that "disability means imperfection" (Smart, 2001). They may view disability as "a constant reminder of imperfection" (Bicknell, 1983). These highly laden, negative connotations of having a disability is one reason why some may argue that an individual should not "accept" the disabled aspect of his or her mental or physical life. However, if the argument shifts from whether one should or should not accept a specific disability that exists in one's life to the argument that all no human is perfect, then the issue becomes: does an individual accept that they are imperfect, like everyone? The fact that society as a whole denies that each and every person has imperfections and that there can be no perfect person is a larger issue. The negative connotation placed upon physical or mental disabilities by society can be recognized as a form of projection of fears about facing one's own imperfection and finiteness. Thus, a baby with a disability should not be labeled "imperfect" by the parents (Bicknell, 1983) as if there was a human that was perfect.
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Perfection In An Imperfect World;
The dichotomous thinking of perfection/imperfection is similar to the dichotomous thinking of disability/ability. For example, the phrase describing people without disabilities as "temporally-abled" implies that once an individual has a disability, then they lose all their abilities. This ignores that all humans have a range of abilities and qualities in which they may surpass many others. However, imperfections and disabilities will always exist simultaneously with qualities that may be viewed socially as approaching perfection along with abilities. As Arokiasamy (1993) stated, "Every single person has some ability while no person has infinite perfection" (p. 83).
The Quest for Perfection for an Imperfect World
We are again ushered into the new creation. Christ died to give us a perfect conscience. He lives to give us a perfect object. But it is clear that until we have tasted the deep blessedness of the former, we can never be properly occupied with the latter. We must have a perfect conscience before the heart can be at leisure to go out after the Person of Christ. How few of us really taste the sweetness of communion with a risen Christ. How little do any of us know of that fixedness of heart on Him as our one paramount, engrossing, undivided Object. We are occupied with our own things. In one way or another the world creeps in; we live in the region of nature; breathe the dark, heavy, murky atmosphere of the old creation; self is indulged; and thus our spiritual vision becomes dimmed, we lose our sense of peace, the soul becomes disturbed, the heart unhinged, the Holy Spirit grieved, the conscience exercised. Then the eye is turned in on self and back on its actions. We must spend time in holy and happy occupation with our Object. In order to get back into the enjoyment of what we should never have lost, even a perfect conscience we must be devoted to the heavy but needed work of self-judgment.
The Quest for Perfection for an Imperfect World | Kibin
Smart (2001) reports on the attitude that leads to "imperfect" people with disabilities being blocked or discouraged from marrying or having children due to the concern about passing the "imperfection" onto others. What is wrong with this concept? The error lies squarely in the irrational belief that there are humans who are perfect. Stone (1995) wrote about the pervasive social myth of bodily perfection. Yet, cognitive and emotional perfection should also be included in her analysis. Thus, the bottom line is that it is a myth that anyone can claim to be perfect.
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