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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Nobody’s Perfect, and That’s What We Should Expect in Life

Perfection sometimes is what we strive for in life, but it can seldom be achieved, if at all. Certainly not as a sustained “thing” that stands before you like a rock (rocks aren’t perfect either, and in fact are always changing because of deterioration by the weather). A few of us were talking the other day about the human face and the ideas of “my good side” and “bad side” profiles. No one’s face is perfectly symmetrical, and for that we see the whole person; in fact it’s often those imperfections that we like or love most about our mate.

april 2, 2011

“The captain clicked his tongue disapprovingly, ‘Symmetry is only a property of dead things. Did you ever see a tree or a mountain that was symmetrical? It’s fine for buildings, but if you ever see a symmetrical human face, you will have the impression that you ought to think it beautiful, but that in fact you find it cold. The human heart likes a little disorder in its geometry, Kyria Pelagia. Look at your face in a mirror, Signorina, and you will see that one eyebrow is a little higher than the other, that the set of the lid of your left eye is such that the eye is a fraction more open than the other. It is these things that make you both attractive and beautiful, whereas … otherwise you would be a statue. Symmetry is for God, not for us.”

– Louis De Bernieres, “Corelli’s Mandolin”

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