Actual perfection vs functional perfection/excellence

So I have been looking at perfection today, now this topic is a big one, so far many questions and few answers but I am finding it a great direction to look.

What I always found in myself is being stuck in a certain dichotomy which seems to arise out of a misunderstanding around what perfection actually entails.

What I see is that in the real world where everyone is already separated from actual perfection we need to generate a synthetic perfection by living as closely as possible to the various values, beliefs etc (which are the absolutes in this case).

Often when I have contemplated what the PCE demonstrates there was this feeling of “well if everything is already perfect then why would I strive to be excellent at anything”? In short when actual perfection is experienced 24/7 what motivation is there for excellence?

So this is the dichotomy, this belief that if I am to let go of the endless pursuit of moral perfection I will revert to some lousy state, an actualist hobo. This can often express itself in various forms of ‘actualist morality’ e.g. “why am I going to the gym to look good if my body is already perfect?” - so essentially this kind of actualist morality is the same old spiritual morality in disguise, to let go of any worldly desires as they are somehow intrinsically immoral.

As above though I am coming to the seeing that this dichotomy is based on a misunderstanding as to what actual perfection entails and what ‘functional perfection/excellence’ is all about.

I started thinking about Richards example of the burnt toast vs a golden brown toast, how this would be an example of a ‘functional perfection’ even though both the black and brown toast exist within the arena of the actual perfection of infinitude.

I have had experiences recently where for a brief moment everything including myself is seen to be actually perfect, and that it has always been this way, it is like all of a sudden the entirety of existence is infused with actual perfection. This actual perfection is not a product of the mind or the heart, it is concrete.

So how to reconcile this seeing that everything is already perfect with the fact that the black toast is not as good as the golden brown one?

What I came to conclude so far is that it is all to do with frames of reference, and how infinitude lacks those. What I can see is that the ‘functional perfection’ is indeed a product of the mind, it requires the intellect to hold 2 variables in a ‘intellectual vacuum’ and then to compare those against a yardstick which is taken to be the absolute.

For example I have an injury to my arm at the moment and it is seized up so I cannot bend or straighten it.
If the yardstick was my ability to use this arm for martial arts then it is indeed bad compared with a healthy arm, it is lower on that ‘functional perfection/excellence scale’.
Yet if I change the yardstick I can observe that my elbow joint has swelled up/seized up in order to protect itself, it has become painful in order to prevent excessive pressure being applied so that recovery can happen, now all of a sudden it seems to excel at doing exactly what it is meant to be doing, how is this arm not excellent?!

So in order to judge the ‘functional perfection’ I have to use my intellect in order to take a vantage point, as there is no fixed frame of reference in infinitude this vantage point can only ever be arbitrary, essentially I decide to look from a certain angle.

Arbitrary does not imply that it is not actual, for example I am indeed bigger than an ant, yet both mine and the ants sizes are equally meaningless when compared with infinity, neither of us is closer. Which brings me to the seeing that in actuality where there is no fixed frame of reference it is impossible to compare things/events in terms of their actual perfection.
Yet it is very possible and in fact sensible to use the intellect to asses things in terms of their ‘functional perfection/excellence’.

The problem seems that as ‘entities’ being separated from actual perfection, from perfection that is not vulnerable to change, we are desperately driven to seek fulfilment via this ‘functional perfection/excellence’ only. The morals/beliefs/values become the absolutes and the people, things and events are compared against this yardstick.
This ensures a never ending search for perfection, for it is a perfection that is not concrete, it will change as the vantage point changes because at the end of the day it is a product of the mind or heart.

I will end for now with something that has been on my mind lately, something that I keep getting glimpses of - both good and bad disappear in the perfection of infinitude.

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The interesting thing here is this ability to use the intellect to discriminate, judge, compare, seek excellence etc is actually a very sensible development.

What I can see is that when ‘I’ am out of the way this can happen in a way that is clean, as in the intellect can assess purely and cleanly, without distortion.
What happens when ‘I’ hold sway is that this ‘intellectual vacuum’ is really a breeding ground for illusions and delusions which obscure clarity, then all sorts of feelings and beliefs become absolutes against which life is being measured, then of course all sorts of madness eventuates.

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So reading this back I notice a certain agenda in myself, there is a fear of removing my investment in moral excellence. The interesting thing is that this desperate clinging to a synthetic perfection and excellence (via morals and beliefs) is precisely because ‘I’ am forever separated from actual perfection and excellence. And so ‘I’ had to carve out a secondary ‘perfection’ within reality in order to give life some kind of meaning, so of course to contemplate something outside of this seems scary (hence the actualist hobo fear).

However this whole fear is backward, for if there is no longer a separation from actual perfection and excellence then there is no longer a need to desperately maintain some synthetic ‘perfection and excellence’ - it was only a crutch all along.

This reminds me of what Geoffrey mentioned in the zoom video. That things are still being done in actual freedom however motivations linked to beliefs/social identity will fall away. But they only fall away for lack of need haha, because a concrete perfection is available.

Now the other cool thing here is that with no more need to generate a synthetic ‘perfection and excellence’ the various activities that I engage in are freed from the burden of having to provide meaning. Which means they are now free to be enjoyed for what they are.

The other cool thing is that living in this actual perfection there is no possibility of hierarchy (for the reasons outlined in the first post). Sure I can have more money in the bank, more skills in some area and a bigger biceps than X, these are facts, they do not need to be danced around. Yet these assessments happen on a different level altogether to the actual perfection that is intrinsic to everything - so it is simply impossible to be ‘above someone’ in the real world kind of way, this is not some attempt to be humble but rather it is a fact.

So at this point of rambling on I realise I should have posted in my journal instead as the forum will cut me off at the next post :joy:

This seeing also reminds me of something Geoffrey posted a while ago, I think someone asked if he is even enjoying when the weather is rainy and gray and the reply was - what is there not to enjoy?
And I can see now that this was a genuine reply, now that rain might have spoiled plans for a picnic, that is a fact and yet it cannot even touch upon the actual perfection, for there is no longer any good or bad. It is so lovely that actuality always provides the best of both worlds. There is still the assessment of what is more preferable (along the functional scale) and yet this has absolutely no bearing on actual perfection, so one can be sensible whilst living in perfection.


Good stuff, I’ve found myself investigating along similar lines lately - the tension ‘I’ consist of that fuels this or that escapade vs. intimacy - and this is invaluable.

Now you can reply more times :grin::grin:

The sheer wonder and awe at the exuberance of being alive – drives any ‘notions’ of perfection away. Everything just already is perfect.

For me it’s obvious in seeing how physical phenomena happen. For example in pouring water onto the table, the water ‘knows’ the most optimal way to land, the easiest path along the surface to take, the perfect way to fall off the edge of the table. Fire ‘knows’ and takes the most optimal path of what to burn and when, the flames perfectly reacting to what is around them, the smoke emanating perfectly in what is precisely the perfect (and only) way it could emanate given the particular configuration of what is burning. Even an atom bomb, which I am fascinated at the sheer power of – there’s an immense unimaginable quantity of energy exploding in an instant, and the universe ‘knows’ exactly what to ‘do’ with this energy, the universe doesn’t ‘break’ like some math equation, rather the energy forms a perfect fireball and shockwaves conflagarating outwards etc.

There’s no other way that it can happen other than the way it does happen – hence it is all perfect.

And as there only is the actual (there aren’t two worlds, equally real — there’s only one world, the actual world) then everything already is perfect.

Now with conscious life and self-aware life especially comes the ability to judge, evaluate, and discriminate. Within or as this perfection once can taste the burnt toast and realize, perhaps with some surprise, that one is capable of saying the perfectly browned and crisped toast is better. But this fact of one being better doesn’t diminish the perfection of the other… the toast was burnt as perfectly as it could have been given the heat applied to it. The taste buds perfectly function to let one know the nutritional value is low and that this toast is not optimized for their enjoyment and pleasure.

So it may be strange but there it is, within perfection there are some things better than others! But there isn’t some things more perfect and some less perfect… it’s all perfect.


So this is the interesting thing and I am seeing the distinction in the same way as with relative size and infinity.

So for example certain objects are factually bigger/smaller than others and yet none of the objects are closer/further away from infinity.

So it seems the normal way of looking at infinity is that it is a very very large scale, like a line that is so long that it just keeps going. Yet that is not factually correct, infinity itself cannot be placed on a scale, it’s a different measure altogether.

And the same with perfection, if I look at perfection as a quality that just keeps on getting better vs other things (along the scale) then I am not comprehending actual perfection for it is not a quality that exists on a scale (as this requires comparison).

Hence it is possible for one object to be better than another (by comparing their relative merits) and yet they cannot be more perfect than each other.

The thing that I cannot fully place here though is where do ‘I’ come into the picture? I guess the short answer would be that ‘I’ am not actual and hence ‘I’ cannot be perfect.
But is it that the way the human condition has been playing out (wars, murders, rapes, suicides etc) can be improved upon (along the better/worse scale) and yet it is all actually happening within the arena of perfection? I guess so, because at the end of the day it matters not to the universe what happens (ultimately) as it is already complete. Yet it matters a lot to all the individuals - this is the intelligent action one takes along that better/worse scale. Which makes sense why Richard writes in his journal that peace on earth is not the be all and end all of life, that it is a very important side benefit, however the ultimate goal is to live that perfection.

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This is all coming together rather nicely! :grin: I can see now how it is possible for one to be living in actual perfection and yet be keenly aware and considerate of what can be done to improve life for all individuals.

Because we are talking about completely different scales here, there is the unmeasurable/unquantifiable perfection that is here no matter what. Then there is the better/worse intelligent human assessment and action.

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‘I’ don’t exist, there is no ‘I’ that is actual. Rather we can ascertain that in what would otherwise be perfect/apperceptive consciousness, there is this illusion / delusion manifesting that feels itself like it is separate etc, and this is what I mistakenly feel I am. But it’s just that - an illusion! All that must be done is the illusion agrees to let itself be dispelled.

Yes agreed but what I am referring to is that even though there are currently human beings walking around without apperceptive awareness and thus they could be better on that functional scale, the whole game is playing out in an already complete universe. So basically ‘my’ rottenness (as a rotten illusion) is only quantified along the better/worse scale, it does not touch upon actual perfection.

Actually I would propose something that might help, because Richard proposed the intrinsic perfection vs the functional perfection. I would say that the word perfection should be reserved only to that complete/consummate quality of actuality.
Whereas the things on the functional scale should be judged only against the measure of excellence, because no matter how good the toast gets it never reaches the level of actual perfection, as its a different scale altogether.
Things can get closer to excellence but they cannot get closer to perfection as all is already perfect by virtue of that complete/consummate quality of the infinitude of this universe.

Yes, this has been the key to understanding what kind of perfection Richard means. He uses that word in a specific sense.

Its definitely not some kinda physically perfect universe where there won’t be famines, volcanos or cancers etc…but its because the universe is simply incomparable to anything else…so whatever idea of imperfection I have of the universe is “my” idea of a universe which doesn’t exist.

It’s “my” very presence that guarantees that a feeling of imperfection comes in because “I” imagine and expect the universe to be “my” way …something other than how it actually is

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Ah that is interesting indeed! ‘I’ am the one creating a feeling of imperfection which I believe to be true. In a perfect universe ‘I’ am the only one capable of conjuring something up which is not perfect, bravo ‘me’ :laughing: :laughing:

So the bottom line of all this is understanding that in an actually perfect universe it is possible for things to be less than excellent.

This clarifies so much for me!

The interesting thing though is it seems that this actual perfection somehow tends to breed excellence, ‘I’ am separated from actual perfection and so ‘I’ am not spontaneously inclined towards excellence. However when ‘I’ disappear it seems this body is naturally inclined towards excellence at all times. Mind you it is not inclined towards a moral excellence for it is free from such a burden, rather it responds in the most optimal way possible, each moment again.

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Yes indeed!

I am thinking now that this is where caring comes in, though. Caring about fellow human beings – this is only relevant on that functional better/worse scale, since the universe is already perfect anyway. Without caring in the picture – there is no reason to become free, because everything is perfect anyway.

But that’s where the caring comes in and the motivation to become free – it is better for this body, and that body, and every body. How can it be ‘better’ if everything is already perfect? Ah, because it’s on that functional scale, that does tangibly affect people.

And the interesting part relates to what you wrote here:

When apperceptive the caring is automatic! It is the natural tending towards excellence. So ‘I’ only make things less optimal by getting in the way of the natural perfect (in the way water flows perfectly) way that things would operate without ‘me’ interfering.

I will throw another little spanner in the works here hehe. It seems to me that what actual caring is fundamentally concerned with is for the other human being to be here, and in being here to live that immaculate perfection (the one that is outside of any scale).
But at the same time this actual caring does not preclude caring along the functional scale, I would assume Richard would rather serve me up a golden brown toast instead of a black one, or he would rather have the wars, rapes, suicides etc end sooner than later. But the ultimate concern of actual caring is for the other to live the perfection of the actual. It seems it all kind of merges into one at this point for me lol, it is turning my mind into a pretzel and I like it! :laughing:

Yes but isn’t this on the functional scale too? It doesn’t matter for the perfection itself if a human is free or not , it is perfect anyway …

Yes, I was hoping you’d pick up on this haha I had it stuck at the back of my tongue and couldn’t articulate it.