In pursuit of perfection

perfection

Every time I turn on the television or pick up a magazine I am bombarded with images of perfect people. They live in perfect houses, with their perfect families and perfect teeth. It is clear what they are saying. You are not good enough. Only perfection is acceptable.

Whole industries have developed on the back of our apparent imperfections. Eat this if you are overweight, go here to tone up those flabby muscles, we can fix your misaligned teeth or enhance your breasts and if you only follow these instructions you will get whatever it is in life that makes you happy. Dissatisfaction sells and we imperfect people will continue to buy as our dream of perfection is unattainable.

This is a dangerous road to follow. Not only does it lead to billions of frustrated and dissatisfied people, it could lead to the extinction of who we are as a species. Specialisation is the last stage before extinction. Genetic variability is essential to the long term health of a population. Working towards a single ideal of what a person should be, especially at a genetic level, reduces the variability and increases the risk of extinction through an, as yet, unknown cause.

Eradicating all diseases may seem like an ideal worth striving for, yet a population without disease has no immunity and will not be able to cope with an infection that leaps via a mutation from the animals around us.

Modifying and removing all genetic abnormalities may seem like an ideal worth striving for, yet genetic variability is the engine that drives evolution. Without it our species would stagnate and we will be as we are forever. Humanity will not be able to adapt to the changing environment around us. We will become a people of this and for this time only.

Who knows what is over the horizon. We cannot have health without illness and we cannot have normality without the abnormal. We need to celebrate variety and variability. We need to stop seeking perfection.

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