Perfection: What a Start! Gracian Series #1


Please remember, I haven't read Baltasar Gracian in advance!  We are doing this exploration together. His first maxim is so loaded and even possibly triggering for a person with an eating disorder.  But we will take them as we find them and see what happens.

#1 All has reached perfection, and becoming a true person is the greatest perfection of all.

Wow. The issue of perfection is the first item out of the box.

If you are in the thick of an eating disorder you know that finding fault with yourself is a constant issue.

  You may not even know that you are striving for perfection because your perceived faults, especially in the mirror, are overwhelming.  If only you had the shape you wanted.  If only the numbers on the scale were the numbers you wanted. If only your mind, your body, your hair, your skin, your shape, your muscle tone fit into the standard of perfection that seems so out of reach.  Then you would be okay.  Then you would be happy.  Then you would have a good - no - a great life.  You would be safe, loved, successful in all your endeavors.  You would be perfect.

And, because you are so far from your sense of perfection, you are doomed to live a painful life in which your only reliable support is your eating disorder.

This is not the perfection Gracian is talking about.  This is the perfection of a mind distorted by an eating disorder.  This kind of thinking is a symptom, not a reality. But as you know, it feels real.

But Grecian isn't talking about perceived perfection.  He seems to be saying the the world and all that is in it, as a whole, has reached perfection.  All that is needed is here.  The potential of anything is here.  It's like saying that the DNA is perfect.  It contains the potential for all, but a considerable amount of effort is required for that DNA to actually become a complete animal or tree or person. I think Gracian is talking about the effort we need to expend to become the best person we can be based on all that we are born with and all that we can gather to us that will nourish our healthy development.

Double helix is an 'electric slide' for proteins.  I like this picture beause it attempts to show the DNA in the process of becoming.


Another way of saying this could be that a baby has reached perfection.  The sperm and the egg met and exploded into a new being.  It became a zygote that developed into a baby.  The potential was there in the beginning, is there now, and requires effort to continue on the journey of becoming what Gracian calls "a true person."

In our conversation, we would have to look at what you and I mean by being a true person. And then look at how we might become a true person. 

Somehow, leaning on an eating disorder seems like a device to support a person who has not yet achieved the wholeness of being true to her potential as a developed woman.

And, of course, we need to remember and look carefully at Gracian's words, "becoming a true person."  He doesn't say, being perfect.  He doesn't say, looking perfect.

I think he's talking about becoming the real you that you are without the cloud of an eating disorder and all its various symptoms, blocking your genuine presence from this world.

And that the goal of our striving toward and in recovery.

For me that means that the ugliness I found in my past is not my ugliness.  It's a challenge that I need to know about, integrate into my awareness and perceptions and accept the fact of the reality.  When I do this I am somewhat changed, I hope for the better.  Gracian says that this is for the better.  So does my training in psychotherapy and so do the wisdom teachers of our culture.  What does it mean for you?


P.S. It's a challenge to talk about my past without details.  You can give details because you can remain anonymous.  I am not anonymous and my telling details of my personal history would be exposing other people's privacy.  I hope you understand.






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