Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 16th 2016 Contents A29
Tuesday, February 16, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
I have been looking for the perfect
opening line, but the more I search
and synthesise what is known, the
harder it is to find. To be a great artist,
musician or athlete is to relentlessly
strive for perfection.
With each repetition, they aim to
attain that flawless rendition of a song,
the immaculate assemblage of perfect
brush strokes, or display total mastery
of technique. For us, the very word
"perfection" stirs up deep-seated emo-
tions and cultivates clear mental images.
Have you ever done anything perfectly?
And more importantly, can you do it
The universe undoubtedly loves to
produce novelty. The constant attain-
ment of novelty is an
force behind the pro-
gression of physics
into chemistry, into
biology, into human
history, into you and
also our technology.
Long ago, plasma
coalesced into hydro-
gen, then was con-
verted into helium as
it fueled the burning
of stars which then exploded creating
the heavier elements.
These eventually formed the Earth
with its rocks and oceans that somehow
started living and have come together
now for a short while to be you.
You are the cutting edge of novelty
in the universe with your unique blend-
ed genes and mutations in your DNA
coupled with all the distinctive expe-
riences that have conditioned you.
There has never been anything like
you before in this entire universe, and
there never will be again.
Everything you do and think is the
newest thing that this whole ancient
and infinitely complex process is doing
here and now as it continues to move
towards increased complexity and inter-
This trend replaces the old by mor-
phing it into the new. Five-hundred
million-year-old trilobites have gone
the way of cassette tapes and iPhone
3s, existing today as obsolete fossils of
life and technology.
You are here today and your ancient
ancestors aren t. Nature is constantly
evolving and producing novelty.
As an athlete, I have been hung up
or obsessed with the frustrating notion
of perfection for most of my career.
Just last week I was again fixated and
totally focused on perfecting my start.
With each repetition I strived to
recreate the memory of imagined per-
fection from the handful of times in
my career when I believed that my dive
was absolutely flawless and simply
I kept comparing the subtle nuances
of what is to what once was.
Everything we do is a product of who
we are. While you have a name and an
identity, who you are is really the sum
total of your conditioning.
Your conditioning is a collection of
the ways in which you have reacted to
and adapted to your environment in
the past based on the hereditary attrib-
utes of your DNA such as being innately
aggressive or conservative, etc.
Your DNA is like your operating sys-
tem and all of your experiences are akin
to lines of code that have programmed
you to better meet the imposed needs
of your environment. It s not easy to
accept, but you
are essentially a
rithm that learns
and adapts; a
you ever did was
simply a product
of who you were
at that point in
time. You couldn t have done anything
differently, because that would not have
been you based on your conditioning
at that point in time. To realise this is
As I practiced my dives, by trying to
recreate imagined perfection, I was
going against that novelty producing
force that drives the universe. I was
the butt of the ultimate cosmic joke.
Those "perfect" dives were a product
past. I would never be that same exact
person ever again because as time goes
on I am continually conditioned by
Essentially, new experiences, no mat-
ter how seemingly insignificant, make
me a new person.
True perfection is dynamic. It s an
expression of full commitment from
who we are at that moment in time,
and is constantly changing as nature
Perfection today will be different
from perfection yesterday, and will be
a reflection of the best we can be at
that moment in time.
If I continued to hold to my notion
of perfection as a memory from the
past, true perfection would always seem
imperfect by comparison, and I would
never be able to recognise it for the
beautiful novelty that it is.
Perfection is like a bull s eye on a
dart board, and not a single point. The
bull s eye is a small circle, containing
an infinite number of different points
The same exact point will never be
hit twice. It s this realisation that allows
you to attain new perfection by liber-
ating you from the known.
In a novelty producing universe, new
perfection is true perfection.
Find George on Twitter: @georgebovell
True perfection is dynamic.
It's an expression of full
commitment from who we are
at that moment in time, and is
constantly changing as nature
evolves us. Perfection today
will be different from perfec-
tion yesterday, and will be a
reflection of the best we can
be at that moment in time.
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