There is a line from the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) that goes:

The purist white is easily soiled.

or sometimes

The purist white appears soiled.

From earliest times, Daoism has played with the paradoxes inherent in the human quest for purity and perfection. During the Sung and Ming dynasties the Chinese government gave out official titles to Orthodox Daoists. (Actually, even at times when the government had an anti-Daoist outlook, Daoshi, invested priests, had the status of "prince" if they were dragged into a magistrate's court. When the British won capitulation at the end of the Opium Wars, one of their demands was that Christian Missionaries be given the same status in court as Daoists. This was later one of the grievances of the Boxer rebellion.)

Anyway the titles were funny like: The Perfected Immortal of the Purple Mist, or The Most Perfected Immortal of Mysterious Moon-light.

I lectured on perfection to this mornings class and at the end one of my students said, "My problem with perfection is that it is boring."

I've said before that Daoism is not a self-improvement scheme. But Daoism also doesn't reject self-improvement as an experiment. If a person has an "appetite" for self-improvement, Daoism has many methods for exploring that "appetite."

The problem with perfect alignment is that it is so easily disturbed. If your alignment is really perfect, you'll be totally thrown off by a little kid who crashes into you screaming and crying, "Help me rescue my dolly!"

For years I've practiced regulating my diet. One of the methods I used was to eat rice porridge (jook, congee, baijou) every morning as my main meal of the day. I'd look at my tongue, take my pulse and feel my appetite. Then I'd select different ingredients to go in the porridge, everything from mustard greens and beef stock, to chestnuts and pork-ribs. Still the base was the same and the additions were always based on bring me back to balance, really a type of purity.

My digestion was spectacular, and my practice really benefited from it. But I couldn't travel, or go out to eat. I went to stay at my sister's house for a few days. She made some fancy fried thing one morning and my tongue turned black. The variation was too much of a shock.

So after that I kept the same porridge diet, but twice a week I would spontaneously have something weird instead; like eggs, granola, or a cheese danish. This created a kind of syncopated jazz rhythm in my diet that allowed me to travel, eat-out, and experiment further afield.

The Daoist concept of "Perfection" is really about experiencing and accepting what we actually are.