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Wabi-Sabi Life

Imperfectly perfect

1/1/09 11:28 am - fishmonkeytrip - 2009 is the new wabi-sabi!

Maybe this lil community will finally be of some service in 09. Seems like times will be tough. At the moment its too soon to tell if it will only be tough for some. Mobile phone cams at the ready perhaps, to snap moments of beautiful losers who push up through the cracks of 2009.

12/9/08 04:26 pm - fishmonkeytrip - wiki - sabi

wikipedia (I read at wikipedia) adopts the wabi-sabi aesthetic: 'acceptance of the state of ongoing imperfection', in software applications and information in general. So let me jot down an ongoing, imperfect list, here.

"a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing."
"nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."
"Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society."
"sabi meant "chill", "lean" or "withered."
"Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance."
"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."
"imperfect quality, imperfect reliability - rust."
" liberation from a material world and transcendence to a simpler life."
"acceptance and contemplation of the imperfection, constant flux, and impermanence of all things."

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There's a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

Leonard Cohen


7/30/07 12:51 pm - arkasis - Dogma vs inquiry

As I have observed in my life, there seem to be two methods we have for dealing with the divide between our selves, that is the reality of who we are, and that which we imagine/hope/aspire/ought to be. 
It seems hard enough to truly see ourselves to begin with. What is it that we would be looking for, exactly? For most everybody, what we are is self-evident, that is, we do not question it, we take it as given, even though this 'given' essentially has no real content. We are content with this, or rather, it seems to go unnoticed as a potential source of reconciliation, so we do nothing about it. 
Two methods then. On the one hand we try to find out who we are through some engagement with something external to us, something other than we are, so that we can learn what we are capable of and/or define ourselves in terms of this thing we learn/acquire. On the other, we take as given other peoples' opinions of us, expressed in momentary form, but then lasting in our minds as something substantial. 
In the latter case, one is taking oneself as a delivered dogma, in the other one is an inquiry into who one is. Accepted cultural wisdom these days is that the latter is unhealthy while the former is healthy. The more we learn how to do, the more we do, the more we are. Or so the common equation goes. 
Now, what does this have to do with the theme of this community? 
Glad you asked. 
When we take accepted opinion of ourselves as something lasting that defines us, which is entirely our choice, so this is really a form of self-definition, we hold ourselves to a standard of being that often places us in relation to others, or the ever-present imagined perfection, the ideal. This ideal changes just as the seasons do. We call it evolution, as if there were sometime in the future when human beings will stop doing this sort of thing, as if the Ideal had a final form/being. 
When we try to go it alone and inquire into who we are based on what we can accomplish and do, and define ourselves in terms of those things, we are again holding ourselves to a standard. The standard this time is aesthetic or ethical usually. Still, we are looking at our selves, looking at the Ideal, and comparing the two somehow based on some criteria or other. 
Much of life is a mixture of the two modes. These two forms of self-definition form a complicated structure of our being, all of it, I might add, based on thought and feelings, and not so much on actual experience. 
As a way of trying to break this, because we end up quite dissatisfied with ourselves in the end, most of the time ( we have our triumphs, don't get me wrong; but the main function these modes of being have is to reinforce our sense of separation from our lives, which is alienating and yada yada....Sartre and Camus wrote those books.)

Is it, however, necessary to hold oneself to a standard? If so, then why? If not, then is it also necessary to define oneself in any terms at all?


7/28/07 03:07 pm - arkasis - Begin

I thought it would be interesting to have a LJ community that invited us to explore the felt divide in our lives between what we aspire to, think we should be, and what we actually are. Why does this cause so much stress to our minds, and why do we put up with it? Also, what are the many ways this manifests? Maybe this might seem like a support group, and maybe it is a little bit  of one. 

For example, when we look at ourselves in a mirror at our favorite department store while trying on clothes, why do we feel like someone punched us in the gut? When we watch the lives of other people, like celebrities on TV or in magazines, why do we alternately hate them, envy them and feel sorry for them? 

In short, why are we obsessed with perfection, and if not the strict cultural definition of perfection, then we try to make our imperfection into perfection? 
Why do we need to be perfect? What would that mean, anyway?
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