An Ideal Knife

An Ideal Knife, 2015

Pen and Ink

“That is true, he said.
And do you not suppose, Adeimantus, that a single boxer who was perfect in his art would easily be a match for two stout and well-to-do gentlemen who were not boxers?” – Plato, The Republic

The answer should be obvious that an ideal boxer, one who was perfect at their art, could defeat an limitless number of opponents. Just as the ideal artist could infinitely alter the viewer. The ideal farmer could feed hungry minds. The perfect knife could cut though paradoxes and truths. All such ideals ultimately approach the same singular concept of “perfection.” Infinite anything, once enacted, implies infinite everything. Our previously mentioned ideal artist would, through their ideal art, create an ideal reality. One that was, in practice, no different than that of the ideal knife.

Perfection is a curious concept. Such conceptual singularity is at the root of the Western concept of an immutable God. The idea that makes up this core, on which so many other ideas are either explicitly or implicitly base, is that God, rather than existing as a being of infinite perfection, is perfection itself. The unreachable concept, inexplicable but self-evident, the ideal being, the perfect work of art, are all in their ways descriptors for this singularity that all things might reach, given the infinite.

As matter approaches light each incremental increase in speed requires an exponential increase in energy. So too does any work, as it approaches perfection, require ever increasing effort to attain even the smallest incremental increase towards its ideal. Matter must not despair however; the tail of the serpent is also its beginning. The great paradox is that to achieve the unattainable one must accept the perfection in imperfection. The world is ideal already, as is the knife.