The Flaws Which Make Us Perfect

Apart from the fact that they do not exist, perfect humans would still have one real flaw, that of being perfect.

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

A parallel with music

Chances are you have heard of musical notes. Of course you have! You might have even heard them too if you listen to music. They’re called C, D, E, F, G, A, B, or more poetically, Do, Ré, Mi, Fa, Sol, La and Si, in French.

Now here comes the interesting part. Every note can be associated to a major chord, by simultaneously playing the root note, C for example, the major third which happens to be the E for this example, and the perfect fifth, the G. 

The root. The third. The perfect fifth. And this is why the major chord sounds, well, perfect to the ear. Maybe a little bit too perfect. 

Some flavors

What if we tried to play something a bit more flawed, just to see how it would sound? Something with a seventh, rather than a perfect fifth? Or even a ninth? What if we tried to play a C major 7 instead of a C major? How about a Bm7? A Cadd9?

There are many flavors to a given chord actually, and if you take the time to listen to some of them or try to play them on a piano or a guitar, you will come to realize that a perfect major chord sounds quite dull next to most of these flavors. The “flaws” make them way more interesting. 

A C major is just happy. Lame happy. 

A C minor is sad. Lame sad, but still an improvement over perfection: sadness is a more interesting feeling to explore than lame happiness.

A Bm7 would trigger a mix of optimist melancholy and hopeful nostalgia I would say. 

A Cmaj7 would send you surfing in the clouds, comfortably numb, with a very distant afterthought to the vicissitudes of your human condition.

I can only speculate on the feelings a C7sus4 would trigger.

The flaws which make us perfect

Same goes for us mere mortals. You see, apart from the fact that they do not exist, perfect humans, like major chords, would still have one real flaw: they are perfect. They are boring. This is why people displaying their perfect faces, hair, bodies, homes, and lives on social media are annoying at best.

It is partly through our flaws and idiosyncrasies that we become interesting to our fellow humans. A scar. A birthmark. A weird hobby. A strange name. A one-off characteristic which hooks people for reasons they do not consciously realize. 

Some of these actually define who you are. Cyrano’s nose and his irreverent poetry. Django Reinhart’s fingers. Rick Allen’s left arm, the one Def Leppard’s current drummer lost in 1984. Hellen Keller’s eyes, her ears too. 

If a large nose, a missing arm, missing fingers or blind eyes and deaf ears are flaws in the eyes of the world, then God knows how perfect and flawless they have made Cyrano’s poetry, Django’s music, Rick’s drumming or Hellen’s speech.

Some others become a tag, a moniker. The Edge’s beanie or Bono’s sunglasses. Freddie’s moustache. Brian May’s PhD in astrophysics. Churchill’s cigars. But also your dad’s 1965 Chevy Impala he’s been driving around the block everyday for the past 57 years.

And some are just pleasant traits, rays of sunshine in a dull day, like your neighbor’s French accent or your colleague’s infatuation with Sidsel Endresen, and the many more interesting features of the many more illustrious unknowns you have yet to meet. All weird chords, all m7, add9, sus4 and the likes.

A word of caution though, you can only find the major chords on Instagram. 

All the others you can hear playing through the lives of real people. Flawed people. Beautifully flawed. 

A perfect melody.

Let the board sound

Rabih

Published by

Rabih

Lebanese, French, writing mostly in Frenglish and hoping to make a difference.

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