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This is an exerpt from 'How to Be an Imperfectionist' by Stephen Guise. I can't grasp the meaning of the bold-fonted sentence. I can't understand the logical structure of this paragraph. Specifically, what is the meaning of 'one remdeeming quality'? Could anyone help?

It’s strange to think that perfectionists would ever perform worse. The problem lies in trying to run a mistake-free program (those are incompatible with the human opoperating system). This makes perfectionism even less attractive, because improved performance is supposed to be its one redeeming quality.

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  • Hint: think of "redeem" as in buying back. Nov 13, 2020 at 3:29
  • I can figure out by searching dictionary that redeeming quality means some good quality. I guess this paragraph contrasts 'improved performance' and 'mistake -free program'. Is it correct?
    – deerkoyan
    Nov 13, 2020 at 3:32

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This makes perfectionism even less attractive, because improved performance is supposed to be its one redeeming quality.

The context of the sentence is that perfectionists actually perform worse. By trying for an impossible perfection, actual performance is degraded.

A "redeeming quality" is a quality that makes a bad thing be less bad. The sentence says, in effect, that some people think that perfectionism is redeemed (made less bad) because it improves performance. However, the fact that it does not improve performance cancels the redeeming quality, leaving it even less attractive.

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  • Thank you for the answer!
    – deerkoyan
    Nov 14, 2020 at 14:44
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To "redeem" something can either mean to buy it back (return to the original owner) or it can mean to make good out of something bad (returning something to a positive state or purpose, as opposed to a negative one). It is this second definition the author is using. Basically, he is saying "improved performance" is supposed to be the one positive result of perfectionism, the thing that makes it a "good thing" instead of all bad. To apply this to the sentence and paraphrase the author: "This makes perfectionism even less attractive, because improved performance is supposed to be the one good thing about it."

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  • Thank you. Your answer is clarifying!
    – deerkoyan
    Nov 14, 2020 at 14:45

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