Perfection in Nature

I was looking at the sky this morning when i started thinking about how ‘perfect’ nature was and why that sort of perfection will not exist in a totally man-made construct or environment.

The important point in my head was the very definition of perfection. The idea of perfection differs between individuals and is heavily influenced by our biases. Perfection exists in form, function, systems and with regards to expectations and limitations.

  1. Form: when something looks it best and cannot be improved further. E.g. a computer-rendered image of a square; it is accurate to the pixel.
  2. Function: when something does what it is meant to do, and does so at the highest level. E.g. a compass that consistently points North
  3. Systems: when objects or parts of a system interact with one another seamlessly. E.g. the systems in a car that work together: engine, air-conditioning, radio, drivetrain, lock mechanism, brake system.
  4. Expectations and limitations: when something is not perfect in any of the above three ways but we regard it as so because the threshold must necessarily be lowered given circumstances, our expectations and naturally-occurring limitations which cannot be avoided or removed. E.g. when a row of uniformed men stand according to height, there is ‘perfection’ in the form even though the height increment between men is not constant and their body shapes are different along with their other physical features. Yet these are naturally occurring limitations so we disregard them.

To me nature is perfect in every sense because:

  1. Form: we are products of nature. We get our form and taste for good form from the world around us. Even our opinions are influenced by external stimuli. If the form of something affected its function, then in nature it is perfected.
  2. Function: things work, even when they don’t. Handicaps can still live, the laws of nature hold fast no matter the season, and no external hand is needed to get things functioning. They just do.
  3. Systems: Every single thing right down to the littlest detail is in harmony with the rest of the universe, and that is why it is still around. It was here way before us, and will continue to be here after us.
  4. Expectations and limitations: like form, our expectations and limitations are sometimes set by nature or based on it. And independent of all that, nature just is. Put simply it just doesn’t care what we think.

Perfection can be achieved, to a degree, in man-made constructs and environments, but what we lack is the ability to transfer the organic spirit to our creations. Even the most sophisticated of inventions rely upon some external force to keep itself alive. Take for example a highly advanced android:

  • Firstly the android has no real function in this world except to serve humans
  • Without humans its existence is meaningless
  • Should it live after us, it only needs to take from the environment what is needed to keep itself alive
  • It will likely cease to function one day, or reproduce if it was programmed to
  • But again, it will serve no real purpose except the preservation of its existence and the continuation of its kind. I should think it not part of any food web, but maybe time and science will prove me wrong

The biggest point for me is, to be honest, how nature just doesn’t care about anything. It will do and it will keep doing. Changing when it is time to change, things will die, new creatures born, and it will just go on. We too, are a part of nature, and will someday go, however fiercely we fight for autonomy, control and influence. We did not choose to be born yet we were brought here, that should be enough of proof that we are not the bosses.

And yet amidst all this mess and chaos, nature continues. There is no epic destruction to stop it in its tracks, except for the Divine, or any other Reason you might subscribe to or not.

This is something that needs more contemplation, and who knows what further revelations await.


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