Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ideal and Perfect

"Ideal" and "Perfect" are two closely related terms. Infact wordweb defines the term ideal as "Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence". Often the usage of these words is misplaced. A student would have come across these words in his school level chemistry when he learnt about "Ideal gas" and "Perfect gas". According to me, the definitions of the ideal and perfect gases best reflect the meaning of these two words.

An ideal gas is a theoretical gas that obeys all the gas laws. Yeah, its "theoretical". That implies, it doesn't exist in reality. Its an absolute term and there are no double standards associated with it. Whereas a perfect gas is something whose "imperfections" are neglected thereby qualifying it to be called :perfect" - irony. So, we can say that ideal is absolute and impossible while perfect is relative with varying standards.

People might want everything in this world to be ideal. Think of an ideal society having ideal people with ideal characteristics. That might sound nice at first but a deeper thought on it would bring out many results of idealistic behaviour that would actually end up in an undesirable condition. In such an ideal society, people will live their life all by themselves. All of them will satisfy their own needs - they'll gather their food, build their shelter and make clothes. When all this is done, there won't be any money as everything people need are obtained by themselves and not "bought". But then, when this happens, the resources will be burnt out, the balance of the ecosystem will fail as the humans would take control of almost anything in their way (though not with bad intentions, they are ideal, remember) and finally a saturation will be reached beyond which life would be mechanised and fixed.

Now, amidst these hypothetical ideal creatures, lets introduce a deviant - a non compliant. This single guy spoils the equilibrium of the entire system. This single imperfect guy triggers a collapse that breaks the perfection and thereby drastically rearranging the system's elements. These elements move (behaviour in this case) in such a way that they constantly strive to regain their ideal state. This movement forms a highly dynamic condition where the movement of one element towards its own ultimate perfection would have a significant effect on the other thereby altering its movement. This creates a continuous inter-dependent rearrangement of the elements taking the system towards a stable condition - the ideal condition - which as said earlier is impossible.

I find it sensible to assume that the rate of change of the system is directly proportional to the randomness of the system from the the time it achieved its most chaotic condition. Its more like radioactive decay, the decay process continues but never ends. The curve of the progress towards the ultimate perfection will be asymptotic to the "ideal line". 

Lets go back to the civil society. Humans lived in forests hunting food; then formed groups; developed means of communication; made territorial boundaries; rulers came in; democracy was introduced; soldiers, police were needed to maintain and finally we have a working governmental structure that strives (supposedly) to stabilise the countries in a near perfect state. Systems have been devised to curb down all those imperfections that arise now and then so that they don't get to disturb the stability. As in the case of the perfect gas where we neglected the imperfections to deem it perfect, we can also call the current system near-perfect if not perfect.

Its these imperfections that create the dynamics of everything. Afterall, if we need to sustain life and activity on this planet, imperfections are a necessity. Its imperfections that provide a balance between good and bad and right and wrong and keeps us driving towards sorting it out and progress towards the ever elusive ultimate perfection - Ideal.

Disclaimer: Read the URL of this blog. This post is directly from my mind after some random musing. The idea may or may not be correct. Feel free to blast me in the comments section :)

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