What scares me to death? Perfection. That scares the homunculus out of me (that "little man" inside our brain). Perfection is my greatest fear. I believe this is the cause of all our social and psychological ailments. Perfection comes in many forms and the quest for it is definitely self-traumatizing and self- sabotaging. Think of anything in this world and I can tell you that perfection has its filthy fingers in it.
Beauty? Yes, perfection has been there. Look at the obsession - young and old. No physical appearance remains unblemished by the quest for perfection. The cosmetic industry and the plastic surgeons will go bankrupt if not for this obsession. Ugliness is to leprosy what beauty is to perfection.
But the insatiable need to look perfect makes automatons out of us. The world pre-consciously worships the perfect face and many will spend a fortune to achieve it. The quest is never-ending because beauty is the ticket to wealth, stardom and even power. Trophy wives become the first lady of power and good looking men charm their way up the apex of society. This part of humanity scares me most because the more we seek the idealism of beauty, the more shallow we become. And the more shallow we become, the less of humanity we retain.
Sooner or later, this illusory quest for perfection reveals its ugliness not in its superficial physical form but in a hidden face not many will see. It is a face of self-consuming envy, self-predatory vanity, and self-mutilating bitterness. For this reason, the damage that ugliness, if any, does to beauty pales in comparison to what perfection does to it. The latter results in an unspeakable ugliness that goes to its core and the former is merely transient before one's character shines through to make beauty even more beautiful.
How about religion? I guess this takes the cake when it comes to perfection. Perfection in religion is a scary thing. And what makes it even scarier is for perfection to be institutionalized in the name of organized religion. Mass worship brings about mass hysteria. Sadly, for the Judeo-Christian religion, the quest to be Christ-like has transformed many to be anything but Christ-like. The scary bit is not in the endless struggles of men to be good and moral notwithstanding their many repeated failings. That is of course expected and most understandable.
The scary bit is for men to skip altogether the struggling part and come forward to present an image to the world that they are as near to perfect as biblical perfection would warrant it. And to compound the fear for me is for these self-righteous men to elevate themselves to such heights that they have become invulnerable to sins and mistakes common to all men. There is in fact a disarming mechanism that blinds them to believe in and swear by their own invulnerability and it comes in two familiar labels, "hypocrisy" and "self-deception".
When they have reached this stage of delusional perfection, they would have become the end product of what they had from the start so completely stood against. But alas, because they have perfection embodied at least in the god-forsaken citadel of their mind, any suggestion that they have lost their way would be dealt with by way of the strongest denial.
There is in fact nothing scarier than a man who thinks that he can do no wrong or all those who are against him are wrong. And with the twin monolith of what has become known as institutionalized faith and the unconditional support of the indivisible mass of misguided devotees, I am afraid the delusion only deepens further.
Now the danger of this self-declared and blindly-endorsed invulnerability is that it grants them the impunity to do as they please and to justify all means by its self-serving end. This is where perfected religion do the most damage and this is also where I must always remind myself to look inside my own mental closets for the lurking shadows of perfection.
This quest for perfection is a mad race with faulty brakes. In society, in the name of utopian economics and the new world order, nazism, fascism and communism have all done almost irreparable damage as a cover for their leaders' self-preservation. Think about the final solution, the great leap forward and the cultural revolution and you will witness for yourself how history was derailed, defaced, and deracinated by this obsession for perfection. Trust me, you can find no better proof else where.
My last area is the human hubris as shown most glaringly in our blind faith in science. Our progress of course cannot do without the twin engines of the scientific revolution and the enlightenment. Our eyes are undeniably opened to the wonders of how a man could plant a flag on the moon, how tonnes of metal carrying human passengers could defy gravity and travel in the sky, and how a harmless science project of splitting atoms could on a grand scale annihilate us all.
Now somewhere simmering in those developments, the quest for progress has quietly mutated into the unquenchable search for the perfect human mind. And this perfection comes with a cost we cannot afford unless it is paid for at the price of our extinction. This perfected mind glorifies and deifies only itself. It is one that is god-defying and man-exploiting. It is a mind that is utilitarianistic even to a fault. Its logic is self preservation and its execution is methodological. Its cold calculus of deliberation will put expediency above morality, convenience above truth, survival above sacrifice, ambition above love, opportunism above peace, and logic above humanity.
Think along the lines of the symbolic "selfish genes" and you should get a foretaste of the foreboding reality of the selfish mind. I guess the greatest of all ironies is to unknowingly suffer the perfect end to our existence which is guided by the suicidal hands of the perfect mind. Imagine a well shorn sheep led to her slaughter or the frog in a pot brought slowly to a boil.
I hope this is one fate that would extend beyond the mortal length of my life on earth. Because nothing scares me more than to witness the quest for perfection ending in the most imperfect way conceivable. Cheerz.
* Image taken from "spurmag.com".