Friday, May 2, 2008

Understanding Imperfectionism

I've mentioned my philosophical commitment to imperfectionism a few times before (and I'm proud to point out that if you google "imperfectionism," my blog comes up first!)

Anyway, I saw a short presentation on RocketBoom that helps shed a little more light on why, in this particular point in time, with the rise of the internet and the blogger/YouTube/Wikipedia culture, imperfectionism makes so much sense.

The clip shows a guy named David Weinberger talking about fame. It's a cool little presentation, but the best line (and the reason I'm writing about it) was when he said:

"Perfection is the enemy of credibility."

Yeah. I think that nails it.


dad said...

Hi Dan: tell me more about that.... our music director on tue night's is a 'Perfectionist'... that was her opening line on her resume.... she is not a fun person.... the rest is history.... Dad

dad said...

Hi Dan: let's see how many takers you get on this one:
..."Perfection is the enemy of...?
-having fun
-being relaxed
-being friends
-being low-key
-being human
-not taking life so seriously
... there must be a whole host of others....Dan; I'm sure you can think of a bunch.... I bet Mark and Kim can add some too.... Dad

Gabe said...

Oooohh! I like those Dan Ward's Dad. Can we use them for our Rogueish stuff?

Mark said...

I think a common misunderstanding is that imperfectionism equates to embracing mediocrity.

In other words, there is a difference between aspiring to be perfect - while realizing that perfection is an illusion, never has been/will be/can be attained - and aspiring to be blah.

Imperfectionism, as I understand it, is about celebrating the good things more than despairing over the small flaws. I like the idea of trying to reduce flaws, but if that effort overshadows the realization that something good exists, then as Dad said it's just
"no fun".

On the other hand, it can be equally "no fun" to just be stagnant, mediocre, lukewarm, or just plain poor.

A typical makeup commercial or magazine add is a good example of the "perfection illusion". (I think Dove has a nice counterexample going here - something about Real Beauty iirc)
For the other extreme, just spend a few minutes browsing Youtube to see plenty of examples of content that goes way beyond "imperfect". Just because it is real doesn't make it good.

Imperfection lies somewhere inbetween the two, I think. Or at least it is looking towards the "perfect" but not so hung up on itself to produce an artificial facade which in the end detracts from credibility (I like that quote).


The Dan Ward said...

Mark - you nailed it once again. Imperfectionism is indeed about celebrating the good instead of being bummed out about the bad (sort of a glass-half-full kinda thing).

And imperfectionism is not about low quality, not caring, apathy, etc. I'll have to post a link to my full article from RPL...