Imperfection

Tuesday, January 23, 2018



Few weeks ago, I read a writing by an extraordinary Indonesian woman who has been trying to respect religious people, but failed all the time. The other time, I heard one of my best friends complained how feminists are too sensitive with many simple things that people do with no intention to disrespect anyone. The other time, I remember a time when I said biologists are easily to disrespect people from another field. 

Based on science findings, stereotyping and prejudice are naturally happened in the modern human’s mind. Even if you think you are educated enough and try not to think about people based on their social attributes, when you face an implicit bias test, you may not escape from the subtle prejudice. Stereotyping and prejudice are impact of social categorization, which we have accepted since baby (yes, baby!) from our significant others who hold their cultural value (who doesn’t?). The conception of “we are better than them” is somehow important for our own self-esteem, and that self-esteem is important to our psychological well-being to be a well-functioned person. 

Then what hurts? As the implication of the “self-esteem baking”, we tend to see flaw from outgroups is much bigger than someone from our ingroup who is having the same flaw. It is so much easier to point on someone’s mistake if s/he has different religious faith, major, ethnicity, or you name it. Plus, people also have different amount of self-esteem needs. We can say, we will see the amplification of prejudice and stereotype effect in someone who has a tremendous thirst of self-esteem. That possibly comes from anywhere, such as a ruined childhood, a broken home, a neglected child, a bullying victim, or the one who was always left behind. A perfect self-imagery is needed to fill the imperfection gap.


Now if we take a walk in the Nature, we will see imperfection everywhere. From the fallen orchids, rotten woods, fungi, leaves with holes, and others. But then we learn it is a process of something. I’ve seen beautiful, perfect fungi with nothing came close. Some mushrooms, has imperfection and eaten by insects, but that could be a signal that the mushroom is edible. I’ve seen fallen trees that then provides food for other creatures. Feces everywhere that help the spreading of plants’ seed, making a new forest. All the imperfections that lead to a new progress of the world's perfection.

Another case of imperfection is human itself. Few weeks ago, I watched a critic towards our National television program and dramas. It was well said: in Indonesia’s TV shows, the main character is either purely evil or angelic. I personally think that this what we adapted from telenovela; which was famous back in the 90’s. In the real life, no one is purely evil or angelic. We human do good and wrong in our daily lives, and study has shown that both religious and non-believers do in the same quantity every single day. Recently my partner and I are continuously watching our favorite American sci-fi crime drama. I notice that this drama’s stunning point is the conflict of main characters in deciding what is right or wrong to do; what is the best way to save humanity even when it risks ourselves – and that we all make mistakes and need to learn from it. Imperfection encourages us to learn, and that is our strength as humans. 


I once was a human with such a huge perfect ambitions. I need to see all the things in my life are perfect, in correct order, and fast. Time goes by and I learn that imperfection is okay. Not all biologists have the traits whom I don’t prefer to work with, and it is okay – I can find other biologists with good traits. Not all feminists are sensitive, some people are wise enough to accept people’s jokes and pun. And most importantly, not all religious people are poorly educated and possessing false logic, some are having really wise worldview. And if so human possesses imperfection, it is a process of the world in creating a perfection of the world itself: diversity.

Lore Lindu National Park,
January 12th, 2018

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2 comments

  1. Setuju Pitek :D ya di kehidupan nyata, ga ada yg purely evil or angel. ya hana juga sekarang belajar menerima ketidaksempurnaan :D suka sama kalimat loe yang ini: Imperfection encourages us to learn, and that is our strength as humans. :D

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    1. Thanks Hana sudah baca! Semoga bermanfaat :)

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