Getting things right has always been an obsession of mine. Whether it was telling my mother when I was five years old that I had lied to her about some now trifling detail; or, succumbing to an esoteric and singularly annoying Planning Act issue when practicing law; or, indeed, getting the air tire pressure right for my automobile as I attempted to do today. While the object is always to meet a standard of perfection – whether moral, professional or mechanical – the achievement of that goal can however suffer a degree of timeliness, interpretation and accommodation. Basically, nothing is perfect – not me, you or it!
To the obsessive personality order matters.
Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a cluster C personality disordermarked by an excessive need for orderliness, neatness, and perfectionism. Symptoms are usually present by the time a person reaches adulthood, and are visible in a variety of situations. The cause of OCPD is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors, namely problems with attachment.
The expression of orderliness can reflect not only an insightful analysis of a matter – such as in anyone of the instances I mentioned earlier (morality, professionalism or mechanism) but also a less critical examination such as one might associate with the artistic mind; that is, expressive of imagination, aesthetics or even gut reaction such as instinct. The commonality of the ambition is the settlement of some outstanding or evolving disturbance howsoever that may be achieved in the mind of the adherent. For example, the quality of perfection is an awakening process in that as we age we begin to adjust to inevitability, decomposition and failure. The objective becomes not some crystallized formulation but rather harmony, an arrangement reflective of succession, structure and tidiness.
For the obsessive person, it is impossible to escape a level of trimness which has at least the goal of natural amiability; that is, the agreeableness with which we normally characterize the changeability of organic but wholesome living things. Once again, it is a persuasive but less rigorous conclusion that nothing is perfect. Sometimes taradiddle is better than honesty; the Court of Chancery evolved as a court of equity to avoid the harshness of the common law; and, neither of our ears matches the other identically.
This is not to say one shouldn’t, like the trained archer, first set the arrow above the target; but it is to suggest that there is yet fulfillment in missing the bullseye. Understanding this mutability of standards also discloses the adoption of greater imperatives. Essentially some things just don’t matter. And similarly other things do matter. The option then becomes not incoherent apple-pie order but rather fluidity, a sometimes far from graceful stability. The elegance of a fine elderly woman is not after all her flawlessness!