Imagine for a moment, if you had super powers, an eternal life, and you lived in paradise. Everything is perfect.
Try to imagine that vision for a while much longer, imagine all you have wanted to do in your life is to make art for a living and eat caviar everyday.
Oh wait, you can make art all the time now because you do not have to make a living, and you could eat caviar everyday even if you may not need food for sustenance in a perfect world.
You will have no dreams to chase, because all your dreams are already true, you will have no food to crave, because you can eat whatever you want, you will not experience hunger, will not know what is like to taste something divine because everything is divine.There is nothing to fix, nobody to help.
Multiply that moment eternally. Tell me if you see joy in your existence if you had everything in this perfect world, forever.
We are horribly mistaken. We think, “oh if only I can do anything I wanted in my life”. We are mistaken that we seek the power to do anything, but what we really want is, to escape doing what we don’t like doing now.
Or perhaps we just like the idea of being able to do anything when the rest of the world has to do something. Is it self-empowerment that we seek, or power over the weak?
If there is a perfect world and a perfect you, you wouldn’t know how it feels like to sweat blood, drop tears and still realize that despite all the challenges you are facing, you are still totally invested in making your life worthwhile living.
The challenges we face, the pain we feel, is almost the only chance of us peeking into our inner-reserves, finding out who we really are.
The joy of living comes from our lives being imperfect. We know the strength of our love for our loved ones when we know we unconditionally accept their flaws. We know we are loved when our loved ones accept us for who we really are. People who are extremely rich and beautiful, we think they have it all, but how would they ever know if they are being appreciated for who they are? It is a curse they would have to live with, a burden they have to carry.
We run marathons because we know how it feels to be able to endure and reach that finishing line. We start businesses because we want to know if we are capable of growing an idea or if our expertise is worth something to people. We participate in social causes because there is a joy in wanting to make the world better.
What we truly want is to realize potential, be it in ourselves, in others or in the world at large. There can no be such realization if the world is perfect.
The idea that the world can get better only exists if the world is flawed.
There is something intrinsically beautiful about being human which no amount of words can describe in human language. That we are all deeply flawed creatures with dark desires and yet some of us is trying so darn hard to put aside our flaws, our weaknesses, our egos, to try make something out of it.
Artists may instinctively understand that the best art is created during chaos and disarray. Try making art in a minimalist, sterile room (you will probably be distracted by trying desperately to keep the room clean). We need provocation to display our potential. We love having hard problems to fix. For solving hard problems allows us to know our capacity. Even those of us who have found joy in simple contentment, it is precisely the choice of feeling contentment in the midst of all the madness that is going on, that brings that inner peace.
The beauty of being human, is that we are both strong and weak at the same time. There is a paradox of being able to be weak that ultimately displays our strength; that sometimes trying to be strong all the time makes us weak.
It is how we choose to navigate the paradoxes, the dualities, the contradictions, the understanding that we cannot choose the cards we are dealt with, but we can choose how we play them.
That free will, the will to make that choice to either accept the status quo, or to consistently stretch our own potential despite all of us being flawed human beings living in a imperfect world, is inherently what makes being human so beautiful.
Would you contemplate for a while that what you truly want is not paradise, but rather a sandbox where you can be creative in?
And that the sandbox contains sand that takes on a somewhat organic form, that you can mould with your hands but it will never take on a permanent, unchanging form. You know you will be able to either shape your creations to be even better, or knock it down, so another kid can have the space to make a potentially better replacement — and all the kids in that sandbox can be amazed, with the cycle of disruption and creation going on in that sandbox.
This post is written as part of an ongoing writing experiment to write on Medium the same way I tweet, mostly unedited, unfiltered, unscheduled, and the stubborn refusal to self-censor my idealism for this world.
Originally published on Medium.