Why aren't we perfect?
There is a general idea that if we learn enough, read enough, teach ourselves enough, we can come closer and closer to perfect. So, if you take humanity in its entirety, we've been around for so many thousands of years that we should be fairly close to perfect by now. All the knowledge and experience should have brought us so far from the first humans on earth.
And yet, of course, we are not.
No amount of knowledge accumulated in the world will propel us, because we as humans can't simply amass lessons from other's experiences and immediately be "better." Even throughout time historians guess we have gained and lost great amounts of knowledge. The great library of Alexandria is considered to have had many answers we still don't have today.
Life is an individual journey. I have realized this as I walk my own steps and learn my own lessons. there have been billions of mothers who have lived and raised children, and yet I must gain my own experience. Reading about their journeys will give me some insight, and it will help shape me as I go, but change is something that must be engaged in personally.
For example, think of the typical image of new parents. They look at their tiny baby and worry over every fever, sterilize their baby spoons, adhere strictly to the diet guidelines, and check off baby milestones on a chart. Three children later that same parent will be much more relaxed, realizing those little things don't matter much, that their child will eventually walk and talk and each more dirt than was ever washed off their baby spoon. And yet each time new parents are hyper protective. You see, reading about being relaxed will never affect them the same way that experience will. Only the act of raising 3 or 4 babies will move them from one state to the next.
And that is why this quest for perfection is ridiculous. If I could simply read all the parenting books out there and learn myself into the perfect parent, then we would live in a perfect society. But I can't. I must experience each stage on my own. Likewise, I must travel my own path to spirituality, my own path to household organization, my own path to friendship, my own path to love. Many people have gone before, many have even done it much better than I.
I love to read and learn. I devour books and ideas as though I'm starving. But even then, if I'm not ready to experience that knowledge in real life (if my own journey is not there yet) then there is the unmistakable feeling that something is just out of reach. I cannot force feed myself experience.
We must accept that the years will change us. We must accept that many of our ideas, however solid they seem now, will slowly, almost imperceptibly, change through time. We must allow the journey to pass in ourselves, and in others, and be tolerant of that change. Experience is not hypocrisy, although some intolerant or inexperienced or unenlightened people might accuse it as such. I hope for change, I yearn for change. I do not want or expect to be the same at the end of my life as I was at the beginning. I want to embrace this journey, not be afraid of it.