None of us...

None of us are perfect.

I suppose, superficially, most of us would accept that, even if we haven't really given the implications a great deal of thought. But I have, or at least more than average. I'll say it again - none of us are perfect. Two highlighted words that I want to explore briefly.

None

It's a simple word. It means no person, no one. There are no exceptions. 100%. A full circle on a Venn Diagram, therefore unity as well. If it helps, we can think of a Möbius strip where nothing becomes everything. In this case it means applying equally, to each of us. Every. Single. Person. Some might have moments of perfection, moments of genius, but flawed beings that we are, we cannot always distinguish these, except, perhaps, in retrospect.

Perfect

The Oxford definition says "...having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be:". By virtue of perfect meaning "as good as it is possible to be", this also means free of unwanted, undesirable or unforeseen consequences. My perception of this is that every act we take is like a pebble cast into a still pool, its consequences cannot be judged across time and space except, again, in retrospect. 

 

What does this mean, and what has prompted me to write about this? Well, from a personal perspective, it means that I believe that the ends never justify the means, because we're unable to determine if the results of our actions will ultimately do more harm than good. I absolutely recognise that our intentions are important, but only in the sense that they inform the motives behind our every action. 

Our personal ethics can therefore be the only tangible measure, in the moment, against which we can evaluate the acceptability of an act, in taking too long a view of our actions we can justify any abrogation of rights or ethics in the name of some wider goal. 

Clearly, as with any idea or principle, this should be considered with a degree of common sense, but the underlying idea remains - that the ends do not justify the means, we cannot foresee all ends stemming from our choices. The future is not set, there is only now, and the choices we make moment to moment.. 

 

"Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it." -- Albert Einstein