On what we learned from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a thought drifted my mind, wondering why it is we seek perfection when it can never be attained. In my typical disjointed mind I also wondered what possibly could have been learned from eating fruit of the Tree of Knowledge that would be worth the title of original sin. And then it clicked.

We learned what perfection was

and the idea of perfect was forever instilled in our minds. It is natural to try and achieve perfection. A is good, but B is better. Therefore I want B because it is better than A. But B could be better, if we change this, or it didn’t have this, then it would be better. We always want what is better and the most better is the perfect. We are constantly driven towards the best, the perfect.

It is impossible for us to achieve the perfect state of anything, but yet we still try. Why did Hitler have a holocaust? Because he wanted to create the perfect race. What caused an uncountable number of wars in history? Someone thought they were more perfect then someone else and deserved more land, Somebody needed to correct the evil ways of the sinners. Some nation needed more materials to become better.

Our constant drive to become better, to make better things, to be better to people, all of this is driven by our need to achieve our own personal perfection. Now this isn't a bad thing. What drives the Dali Lama? He wants to become a Buddha, a perfect being. Why do are we nice to people? Because it makes us "better people". Why do you train to become an athlete? So you can play the perfect game. Why do you write the symphony? Because it is beautiful. Why find a way to cure disease? Because it is better than dying, ceasing to exist. Self-betterment, our drive towards attaining perfection, is a good thing. Without it, our race would never have advanced, but we might also have never left the garden.

The idea of perfection is a double sided-coin and a two-headed monster. On the one hand the pursuit of perfection has probably led to almost all wars in history. On the other hand the pursuit of perfection has probably led to almost all of the humanitarian efforts in history. Before we knew of perfection we were content with what was because it was! Now we know it exists and that we don't have it and aren't it. Perfection gives and perfection takes. It hurts and it helps.

How can one strive for perfection, but at the same time be content with what one has? If anyone knew the answer they would achieve what I believe to be the perfect state of mind. We must be dedicated to the "relentless pursuit of perfection" but at the same time we must be content with simply existing. We must strive for balance in our live and Balance is a perfect equilibrium...

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