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Recruit, United States Marine Corps

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What is the Perfect Person?

There is an ancient phrase in the western world called "Deus ex Machina". Translated, this means "A God from the Machine". In literature, this describes a common event at the end of Greek dramas in which a pulley would lower an actor playing a god over the stage to portray the realized moral of the story. The problem is, that we only glean the ideals of the storyteller whom we obviously cannot believe is perfect.

My question to the TED society is actually many questions: What are characteristics of great men and women? Is morality to be taken into account? How do we, as simple humans, see perfection? Most importantly, in what direction and by what method is best in order to try to become that "Perfect Person"?

*Keep in mind that I have written the word "person" and not "human" into my question. The perfect human would have, at its bare bones, non-existential traits such as strength, stamina, fertility, etc. In other words, do not confuse "Superhuman" with "Perfect Person".


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  • Jul 21 2012: Perfect is an ideal that we will never reach. Perfect is an image. The longer you look at something, the more you will begin to see flaws. I'm sure my wife could expand on this in great detail after spending life with me, but it would take way more characters than this site allows :)
    • Jul 21 2012: But the question is asking what those ideals are! Without seeing them, then all motives in the world are arbitrary.

      People don't consciously make bad decisions without caring, do they?
      • Jul 21 2012: I think the perfect person and the perfect life are arbitrary. Ask 10 people to define them and you may get 10 very different answers. I think people are always striving to improve, but I don't think anyone ever gets to the point when they think it's perfect. As your life improves, your definitions of what you want will change. People who are extremely successful still wake up with a to do list. It's part of the human condition
        • Jul 21 2012: It's true that many things are relative but there are a few select characteristics that we all admire such as justice, love, and good. In fact, if you look at the characteristics that people have already listed, they are a lot more common than you might expect! Moral relativism doesn't go so far as each person being almost a different intellectual species.

          Whether you believe that perfection exists or not, it does. Humans can picture consequences and use their imaginations and intellect to make their lives a little more perfect with every decision. If we as humans can always do this, then it doesn't mean that perfection will ever exist in reality, but it means that our reality will improve. As a society, we find our common goals of self-improvement, and then do our best to execute them.

          Without the idea of perfection, there are no goals. There is only acceptance of the present.
        • Jul 21 2012: The quality of life for African-Americans in the southern U.S. certainly wasn't perfect. But did they just accept second-class citizenship, Jim Crow laws, lower wages, etc.? No way! They imagined a life that was more perfect for themselves and with that image burning in their minds, they fought for it.
      • Jul 21 2012: You just made my point with your last post when you used the term "more perfect". Your language reflects judgement rather than emprical truth. As people, we will always aspire to be more than we are, but the end goal can never be perfection because it is subjective. Perfect to whom? You ? Me? What's "perfect" for one person is not for another. I also say the the definition of perfection (the perfect life, the perfect job) will change for any given person throughout their life.
        • Jul 21 2012: but it still exists! that's the point. There is obviously no actual perfection, but that doesn't stop us from believing in it.

          Also, keep in mind that the "perfect life" is only a reflection of the "perfect person".

          Perfection as I have gleaned it is actually almost identical to all of the people who have answered so far, except for those who don't want to believe in it.
      • Jul 21 2012: Zach,
        Give me one example of perfection in human or any other form that isn't your subjective opinion.
        Write it down and seal it in an envelope. Open it in 20 years and see if you still think it's perfect. I am willing to go out on a limb and say you will feel differently about almost everything in 20 years. Things will change during that time in your life. Work, school, marriage, children, and the world will change everything.
        There is no such thing as a perfect person. It doesn't exist.
        • Jul 25 2012: the whole point of asking the question is to see what universal conceptions of perfection were! For the third time, if you read other people's opinions, they are actually relatively similar!

          If I knew what perfection was, then I wouldn't have asked the question. I'd just be another sad result of Deus ex Machina.

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