Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Imperfection

"The Godhead is impassable; for where there is perfection and unity, there can be no suffering. The capacity to suffer arises where there is imperfection, disunity and separation from an embracing totality; and the capacity is actualized to the extent that imperfection, disunity and separateness are accompanied by an urge towards the intensification of these creaturely conditions. For the individual who achieves unity within his own organism and union with the divine Ground, there is an end of suffering. The goal of creation is the return of all sentient beings out of separateness and that infatuating urge-to-separateness which results in suffering, through unitive knowledge, into the wholeness of eternal Reality." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The question why there is evil in existence is the same as why there is imperfection... But this is the real question we ought to ask: Is this imperfection the final truth, is evil absolute and ultimate?" -

"This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfection." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are, the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection. To round itself out, life calls not for perfection but for completeness; and for this the 'thorn in the flesh' is needed, the suffering of defects without which there is no progress and no ascent." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"There is no imperfection in the present, and can be none in the future." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"If we had attained the full vision of Truth, we would no longer be mere seekers, would have become one with God, for Truth is God. But being only seekers we prosecute our quest and are conscious of our imperfection." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"Creation is not an instantaneous act, but is an eternal process. The immanence of God which follows from this hypothesis is the pledge that evil and error, ugliness and imperfection are not ultimate. Evil has reference to the distance which good has to traverse. Error is the stage on the pathway to truth." - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

"Our freedom depends on our willingness to see Perfection. The imperfection that we have been taught to see has led only to suffering... Perfection is not a standard to be achieved, but a truth to be acknowledged. It is not the difference between us and God, but the hallmark of our unity with Him. And the honoring of Perfection is not a sin of vanity, but the humble acceptance of our identity as offspring of the Eternal." - Alan Cohen

"Our freedom depends on our willingness to see Perfection. The imperfection that we have been taught to see has led only to suffering... Perfection is not a standard to be achieved, but a truth to be acknowledged. It is not the difference between us and God, but the hallmark of our unity with Him. And the honoring of Perfection is not a sin of vanity, but the humble acceptance of our identity as offspring of the Eternal." -

"Our freedom depends on our willingness to see Perfection. The imperfection that we have been taught to see has led only to suffering... Perfection is not a standard to be achieved, but a truth to be acknowledged. It is not the difference between us and God, but the hallmark of our unity with Him. And the honoring of Perfection is not a sin of vanity, but the humble acceptance of our identity as offspring of the Eternal." -

"Perfection and imperfection are really only modes of thought; that is to say, notions which we are in the ahbit of forming from the comparison with one another of individuals of the same species or genus." -

"Whatever comes about, since it is made by God, must therefore be necessarily predetermined by Him, because otherwise He would be changing, which in Him would be a great imperfection… We thereby deny that God can omit to do what He actually does." -

"God is another name for human intelligence raised above all error and imperfection, and extended to all possible truth." - Chuang Tzu, also spelled Chuang-tsze, Chuang Chou, Zhuangzi, Zhuang Tze, Zhuang Zhou, Chuang Tsu, Chouang-Dsi, Chuang Tse, or Chuangtze

"To talk about the need for perfection in man is to talk about the need for another species. The essence of man is imperfection. Imperfection and blazing contradictions - between mixed good and evil, altruism and selfishness, co-operativeness and combativeness, optimism and fatalism, affirmation and negation." - Norman Cousins

"Evil then results from imperfection." - Philip James Bailey

"Where imperfection ceaseth, heaven begins." - Philip James Bailey

"The question why there is evil in existence is the same as why there is imperfection... But this is the real question we ought to ask: Is this imperfection the final truth, is evil absolute and ultimate?" -

"Imperfection means perfection hid." - Robert Browning

"Perfection and imperfection are really only modes of thought; that is to say, notions which we are in the ahbit of forming from the comparison with one another of individuals of the same species or genus." -

"Whatever comes about, since it is made by God, must therefore be necessarily predetermined by Him, because otherwise He would be changing, which in Him would be a great imperfection… We thereby deny that God can omit to do what He actually does." -

"It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are, the more gentle and quiet we become toward the defects of others." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"The great imperfection of most of us proceeds from want of reflection, but, on the other hand, there are many who think overmuch, who fall into the mistake of too close self-inspection, and who are perpetually fretting over their failings and weaknesses." - Jean-Pierre Camus de Pontcarré

"Language is evidently one of the principle instruments or helps of thought; and any imperfection in the instrument, or in the mode of employing it, is confessedly liable, still more than in almost any other art, to confuse and impede the process, and destroy all ground of confidence in the result." - John Stuart Mill

"Both our senses and our passions are a supply to the imperfection of our nature; thus they show that we are such sort of creatures as to stand in need of those helps which higher orders of creatures do not." - Joseph Butler

"Traveling through the world produces a marvelous clarity in the judgment of men. We are all of us confined and enclosed within ourselves, and see no farther than the end of our nose. This great world is a mirror where we must see ourselves in order to know ourselves. There are so many different tempers, so many different points of view, judgments, opinions, laws and customs to teach us to judge wisely on our own, and to teach our judgment to recognize its imperfection and natural weakness." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Always look at life with new eyes. Look at people with new eyes. Look at things with new eyes. Never bring in the old. Never look through the memory, never look through experience. They are all clouds which surround you, and through which you lose the freshness of life. Always make way and look direct, immediate, and you will see that everything is so new. Each moment, it is complete. Each moment, as it is, is complete… it is perfect. Life moves from one perfection to another perfection. It is not from imperfection to perfection. It is just from perfection to another perfection, from one grandeur to another grandeur, from one richness to another richness." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"The present state of the system of nature is evidently a consequence of what it was in the preceding moment, and if we conceive of an intelligence that at a given instant comprehends all the relations of the entities of this universe, it could state the respective position, motions, and general effects of all these entities at any time in the past or future. Physical astronomy, the branch of knowledge that does the greatest honor to the human mind, gives us an idea, albeit imperfect, of what such an intelligence would be. The simplicity of the law by which the celestial bodies move, and the relations of their masses and distances, permit analysis to follow their motions up to a certain point; and in order to determine the state of the system of these great bodies in past or future centuries, it suffices for the mathematician that their position and their velocity be given by observation for any moment in time. Man owes that advantage to the power of the instrument he employs, and to the small number of relations that it embraces in its calculations. But ignorance of the different causes involved in the production of events, as well as their complexity, taken together with the imperfection of analysis, prevents our reaching the same certainty about the vast majority of phenomena. Thus there are things that are uncertain for us, things more or less probable, and we seek to compensate for the impossibility of knowing them by determining their different degrees of likelihood. So it was that we owe to the weakness of the human mind one of the most delicate and ingenious of mathematical theories, the science of chance or probability. " - Pierre-Simon Laplace, Compte de Laplace, Marquis de Laplace

"The world is evolving from imperfection towards perfection; it needs all love and sympathy; " - Inayat Khan, aka Hazrat Inayat Khan, fully Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

"Ours is but a borrowed existence, freely given us by God, and He keeps us in existence because indeed He wills it so. Ours is but a goodness in which there is so much infirmity and even degradation; there is so much error in our knowledge. This thought, while serving to make us humble, brings home to us by contrast the infinite majesty of God. And then if it is a question of others and no longer of ourselves, if we have suffered disillusionment about our neighbor whom we had believed to be better and wiser, let us remember that he too has suffered disillusionment about us; let us remember that he too is perhaps better than we are, and that whatever is our own as coming from ourselves-our deficiencies and failings—is inferior to everything our neighbor has from God. This is the foundation of humility in our relations with others. Lastly, we must admit that the disillusionments we ourselves experience, or which others experience through us, in view of the radical imperfection of the creature, are permitted that we may aspire more ardently to a knowledge and love of Him who is the truth and the life, whom we shall some day see as He sees Himself. We shall then understand the meaning of those words of St.Catherine of Siena: “The living, practical knowledge of our own wretchedness and the knowledge of God’s majesty are inseparable in their increase. They are like the lowest and highest points on a circle that is ever expanding." - Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, fully Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange

"One day while walking in the vegetable garden at Tassajara, Suzuki noticed a student who was sitting on a stone looking at a sunflower growing nearby. He went over and sat by her. What are you doing? Meditating with the sunflower, she said. It rotates with the sun. Suzuki sat with her for a long time. That night Suzuki referred to his garden visit. Unless you get through to emptiness, you are not practicing. But if you stick to the idea of emptiness, you are not a Buddhist yet. Someone was sitting in front of a sunflower, watching the sunflower, a cup of sun, and so I tried it too. It was wonderful; I felt the whole universe in the sunflower. That was my experience. Sunflower meditation. A wonderful confidence appeared. You can see the whole universe in a flower. If you say, 'Oh this is a sunflower which doesn't really exist' [laughing], that is not our zazen practice." - Shunryu Suzuki, also Daisetsu Teitaro or D.T. Suzuki or Suzuki-Roshi

"In private prayer we have a far greater advantage as so the exercise of our own gifts and graces and parts that we have in public...in public duties we are more passive, but in private duties we are more active. Now, the more our gifts and parts and graces are exercised, the more they are strengthened and increased. All acts strengthen habits. The more sin is acted, the more it is strengthened. And so it is with our gifts and graces; the more they are acted, the more they are strengthened." - Thomas Brooks

"In every free and deliberating society, there must, from the nature of man, be opposite parties, and violent dissensions and discords; and one of these, for the most part, must prevail over the other for a longer or shorter time." - Thomas Jefferson

"The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent ... It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best." - Thomas Jefferson

"And now it [grass] seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves, tenderly will I use you curling grass, it may be you transpire from the breasts of young men, it may be if I had known them I would have loved them, it may be you from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mother's laps, and here you are the mothers' laps." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"I sit and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame; I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done; I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate; I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer of young women; I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be hid—I see these sights on the earth; I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and prisoners; I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who shall be kill’d, to preserve the lives of the rest; I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like; all these—All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out upon," - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Touch me, touch the palm of your hand to my body as I pass, be not afraid of my body." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Life means that I can live to see tomorrow." - Tokugawa Ieyasu

"To come to know your enemy, first you must become his friend, and once you become his friend, all his defenses come down. Then you can choose the most fitting method for his demise." - Tokugawa Ieyasu

"God comes through the wound': Our very imperfections—what religion labels our 'sins,' what therapy calls our 'sickness,' what philosophy terms our 'errors'—are precisely what bring us closer to the reality that no matter how hard we try to deny it, we are not the ones in control here. And this realization, inevitably and joyously, brings us closer to 'God'." - Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham