I’m sure you’ve heard the argument a hundred times before – your spiritually aware, new-age-leaning, gentle hippie friend says “Ah, but it’s all perfect!” And sooner than you can allow yourself to contemplate that, your other friend, a self-proclaimed pragmatist, an undying realist, shouts: “But how can you say that?! With all the war, and abuse, and violence, and murder, and poverty in the world, how dare you say it’s perfect?”
So is the world perfect, or not?
If you’ve tried to reconcile this argument, only to leave it unresolved in conversation or in your understanding, this will help…
As with most other English words, the word ‘perfect’ has multiple definitions. I believe the confusion or argument arises when one person uses a certain definition and understanding of the word perfect, while the other uses a somewhat different definition.
When something is perfect, it could mean that it has reached the height of its development or evolution, it is entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings, that it can be no better.
By another definition, when something is perfect it could mean that it exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose, exactly as it should be.
(these are the 2 significant definitions in this context. The dictionary has more)
The world as we know it, and indeed the entire universe, is constantly evolving, always advancing towards a more complex, more conscious forms and functions – and this in itself is proof that at any given point in time, it is not perfect – in the sense that there is always room for improvement. Yet at the same time, and indeed beyond the dimension of time, everything is perfect in the sense it lacks nothing, it is complete, whole, and it is exactly what ought to be happening in the whole unfolding of the world and the universe. The unfolding too is perfect.
So the next time this discussion pops up (and that’s highly likely, you know!)– before it leads to a heated argument, you can make peace between your friends by saying something like: “The world is perfect by one definition of the world, but not at all perfect by the other definition of the same word!”
Or if you want to keep the conversation warm (not heated) and entertaining “well, in a sense the world is perfectly imperfect!” – Which will be true, wouldn’t it?”