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Assuming it's possible for someone to be absolutely perfect, can we get an idea of what is socially considered "perfect" (in a manner or way that could not be better) through linguistics?

For example, the following phrases seem quite common: "perfectly elegant" "perfectly willing" "perfectly flexible"

All of these phrases can be used in the context of "in a manner or way that could not be better."

But instead of saying "perfectly powerful," the following phrase is more common: "absolutely powerful"

Does that mean power is never perfect? And if the phrase "perfectly powerful" is never used, does that mean the general public thinks power isn't a positive trait?

P.S. Can you complete the list of traits socially considered to be necessary for absolute perfection and the list of traits that aren't necessary?

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    'perfectly despicable', could be an equivocation. not sure! if not, it doesn't easily well with 'morally perfect'. strange, that perfection doesn't fit well with 'power' – another_name Aug 27 at 1:40
  • I guess there, it's a different meaning of perfect, maybe "completely." But "perfectly" not fitting well with power makes me think that none of the definitions of perfect fits power. – Yukang Jiang Aug 27 at 1:43
  • "not qualified or diminished in any way; total" cf "in a manner or way that could not be better." maybe we tend to assume in everyday language that power itself is not good; or ironically perfect either. i'm not sure if this is a (raw) philosophy question, or not. buddhism has the six perfections, don't know anything analogous outside that – another_name Aug 27 at 1:46
  • Yea, but there is not a sociology SE, so I thought this forum included sociology. – Yukang Jiang Aug 27 at 1:50
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    "Perfectly round" and "perfectly square" would comprise very different and exclusive "traits", this question doesn't make much sense from this perspective. All that remains seems to be: the difference between "power" and "elegant, willing, flexible" – christo183 Aug 27 at 5:48
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Nice question!

The Sanskrit word "purnam", also the Latin "plenum", are often source/target translations for English "perfect". Purnam is evoked in a widely cited vedic mantra :

Om! purnam ada purnam idam purnat purnam udachyate
Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evava shishyate Om!

A quasi-translation would be :

O!
That (transcendental reality – God) is purnam.
This (mundane reality) is (also) purnam.
From that purnam this purnam (came/comes/generated – tense ambiguous).
When you take away the purnam from the purnam the purnam alone remains!
O!!

The difficulty in this translation is of course the untranslated "purnam".

  • One can render it as "whole" "complete" etc.
  • One can equally render it as "the Infinite"
  • And one can render it as "perfect"

Note the first two are in obvious contradiction :
A whole is defined, de-limited
The infinite is unlimited (and in most math) undefined

"Perfect" carries that contradiction in itself.

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