Just What is a Flaw, Anyway?

Can anything be beautiful without it having a flaw? Put another way, is it the flaws that make something unique, even beautiful? Seen in this light, is there such a thing as a flaw?

You may be familiar with the phrase, “a Persian flaw,” the concept of which has to do with purposely adding a mistake into one’s work to demonstrate humility, that one is not perfect. It comes from ancient Persian rug makers who spent years weaving rugs of magnificent beauty. Deeply religious, they believed only God could be perfect so they weaved a flaw into each of their beautiful rugs.

The concept of purposely weaving a flaw into one’s rug fascinates me. In adding the flaw and by doing it on purpose, is it really a flaw? Superficially, yes, I suppose. The rug, as a rug, has a flaw. But considered more deeply, in adding the flaw on purpose as an expression of humility, the flaw has meaning. It’s an intended part of the rug. In fact, it helps define the rug. It IS the rug. I bet that over the years, it’s the most talked about part of the rug.

I’d go so far as to say that an intended flaw isn’t a flaw at all.

Transfer this now on to humans, specifically onto our bodies, our thoughts, our behaviors. In all three areas we have flaws, right?

Think about it. What don’t we like about ourselves? Can the shape of my nose be flawed? Am I flawed for lacking patience when my 2 year-old won’t get on her shoes and we’re late for her great-grandmother’s memorial service? Am I flawed for getting angry at nearly hitting a pedestrian who stepped in front of my car outside of a crosswalk? What else?

What if these so-called flaws are Persian flaws, existing for a reason? What might this reason be?

Is it to teach me humility, remind me that I’m not perfect and should therefore not expect perfection in others? Is it to provide me something to work on, to grow from, to better myself, knowing I will never be able to “fix” everything? Seen this way, then they are not flaws at all but an important part of who I am.

To consider this concept further, take a look at this short film.

Published by Andy Smallman

I work to promote ordinary activities that awaken kindness, cheerfulness, thoughtfulness & awe, helping people connect to their true nature and increase peace in the world.

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