Nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.
We aspire for perfection- a neat, symmetrical and proportionate creation. We crave for these characteristics. This is how a thing gains beauty, we say. But we rarely halt and appreciate the imperfection. We seldom like to bear down the effort and discover beauty in those hidden places- in obscurity, in distortions, in nothingness.
Incomplete is beautiful. Decaying is beautiful. Aging is beautiful. Cracks and crevices are beautiful.
This sublime perception of beauty is captured in the Japanese philosophical concept of Wabi-Sabi.
A concept, an aesthetic, and a worldview that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the cycle of growth and decay.
Respect for fragile, modest, slightly broken and passing.
Wabi Sabi history can be traced back to Buddhism. Zen is the philosophical backbone of Wabi-Sabi as many of its concepts are associated with Zen spiritual-philosophical beliefs.
Wabi had an original connotation of misery, sadness, and loneliness that one feels by living within nature. But later it assumed a positive poetic meaning of melancholy at being at one’s own — humbleness, tuning in with nature and accepting the self.
The word Sabi means ‘the bloom of time’. It signifies degradation and growing old with time. A process that is natural and inevitable. Positively, feeling pleasure in aging and admiring worn, old and faded.
In Wabi- Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, the author notes the value of this comprehensive perception of beauty in everyday life saying, “It tells us to stop our preoccupation with success — wealth, status, power, and luxury — and enjoy the unencumbered life. Obviously, leading the simple wabi-sabi life requires some effort and will and also some tough decisions. Wabi-sabi acknowledges that just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be. Even at the most austere level of material existence, we still live in a world of things. Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom of things.”
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in