Monday, February 18, 2008

Perfectionism and the Amish...or perhaps not...

Lately I've been thinking about perfectionism. Why do we become perfectionistic? Is there a cure? Should we want to be cured? If I'm a perfectionist why is my desk a messy pit? If I'm a perfectionist why don't I have a hairstyle? Are my kids perfectionists because I made them that way or would they be otherwise? Is there any way to make my kids become more perfectionistic?

Anyway, these thoughts have been swirling around in the old gray matter for a while now. So, I thought this would make a perfect blog topic. Heh heh...

I even had the perfect little anecdote to start the discussion...to wit, the Amish and their quilts. I've been told a lot of times that Amish women deliberately make one mistake in each of their quilts to remind themselves that only God is perfect.

So, I was going to start off with this idea...and as I thought of it, the more irritated I got. How dare those Amish ladies think they are so skilled and so perfect that they have to PUT an error into a quilt! Isn't that basically saying "I could be perfect, as God is perfect, except I must stay humble so...whooops...deliberate humility mistake!" If I'm a perfectionist these gals are...are...(hmppphhhh).... Well.

Being a perfectionist (and knowing that certain people who read my blog are too, and will point out my errors) I decided I'd better just check and make absolutely sure about this Amish/quilt/error business. Uh...turns out it might just be an urban legend.

Okay, no more righteous indignation against the Amish. At least not for that. But it does give one pause to wonder why it is so easy to accept this legend as truth. It's not like most people would shake their heads and say "Oh no, Amish quilters wouldn't do that...they are so freeform and random and relaxed in their quilting. They would embrace mistakes as part of the artistic process and let the errors become a new art form. The Amish believe it's all good, man."

Likewise, this legend wouldn't be as believable about, say, the more abstract of abstract painters. "Oh, yes, see that error right there, that's to remind him to be humble. What do you mean, you can't tell what's error and what's art?"

I can't think of the perfect way to end this post. See how many humility errors you can spot.

2 comments:

Michie said...

You caught my eye with the perfectionism post. My whole blog is about my struggles with perfectionism. Just thought I'd say hi. :)

Mrs. Darling said...

Okay Im not sure how I missed this but having been raised much like the Amish and having gobs and scores of cousins and relatives who are Amish I have to tell you I have never heard of such a thing! LOL I myself have helped quilt those quilts and I can tell you that is an urban legend!