Wabi Sabi, it sounds like a nice sushi roll, spicy tuna with extra wasabi or so. Well, it is Japanese, but not to eat. Unless you mean some sushi that just fell slightly apart on your plate, showing all the different ingredients, looking colorful, tasty, beautiful. Not a perfect roll, but beautiful in its own way. That’s Wabi Sabi: the beauty of imperfection.
Wabi Sabi is a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic described as one of beauty that is ‘imperfect, impermanent and incomplete’. Everything that is asymmetric, simplified, modest is part of Wabi Sabi aesthetic. Appreciate the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
The word Wabi Sabi is not easy to translate. Wabi means rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.
For example, in Japan they would fix a crack in a bowl by filling it with gold.
This is called kintsukuroi, ‘to repair with gold’, and the understanding of it is that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken and for having a history.
I believe it is a great way of seeing the world. Of course you can’t go around fixing everything with gold (I can’t imagine that a fixed smart phone screen would still work properly. It would look pretty though…), but the idea of seeing beauty in everything is something wonderful. I love seeing old and weathered window shutters, bronze that turned into a turquoise color or shrubs overgrowing old stone houses with their leaves and flowers. It’s maybe not perfect and symmetrical, but it is beauty to me. I love going to places where the streets and houses are old and weathered. Where time has taken over the perfection and created a new beauty.
But not only with objects is Wabi Sabi a wonderful concept. Also with people you can go and see the beauty. Nobody is perfect, but everybody is beautiful, you just have to look carefully. If you don’t see the beauty, you don’t look hard enough. A sparkle in the eye, a gorgeous smile, a skip in the step: everybody is beautiful, you too!
Just to summarize it: Perfection is pure fiction, imperfection is pure beauty. Live life with Wabi Sabi.
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