People will often preface a statement of belief with the phrase “In a perfect world…” – indicating that this would be the ideal situation.  Many of us like to imagine, with John Lennon, that we could live in a perfect world.  Unfortunately, this is impossible – A perfect world (universe) can not exist.

At first this may strike the reader as overly pessimistic – it is not that at all.  It’s a direct deduction from my previous statement, to whit: We can only know perfection by contrast to imperfection.  Thus, if we lived in a perfect world, we would never know it.  And, our not-knowing being a fault, it wouldn’t be perfect anymore. Q.E.D.

Remembering Wittgenstein’s first statement in the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus: The world is everything that is the case. Wishing for a perfect world is not going to change that – and the sooner we get used to this fact, the quicker we can move on.  As was discussed earlier, accepting the world as it exists is not a call to excessive passivism, it is a call to deal with things as they are, not as we want them to be.  By recognizing the reality of the situation, we have some small chance of affecting it – if we mix up what is with what ought to be we will only get frustrated.

Recognizing that it is logically impossible (given our premises) for a perfect world to exist frees us from continuing to live under that illusion.

 

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