AGED TO PERFECTION?
There exists a Japanese philosophical concept called “Wabi Sabi.” It refers to the acknowledgment that everything has some imperfections. This way of thinking actually celebrates what’s natural in life, with all it’s flaws and imperfections. This Asian appreciation of what has been used, worn, or even chipped is indeed a novel approach to Western thought. As an example, a bronze sculpture is prized because it has developed a patina by aging naturally. The mere fact that we get excited to get something new is commonplace in our American society. Often, we desire to acquire things that are new, shiny, fresh “out-of-the-box” and expect them to stay that way. This creates a strong yearning and a subsequent struggle. When we use our possessions they do get nicks, dents, scratched and even soiled. For the Asian culture, they believe something well worn is better than something brand new. They have a deep respect and reverence for what has aged gracefully. They value age for the wisdom inherent in the aging process. In reality, newness only lasts a limited amount of time before it ages too. An example of this is a new car just purchased and driven off the dealership lot. It has just automatically depreciated!
Life itself is far from perfect. We as human beings strive to hopefully become the best version of ourselves. Therefore, “Wabi Sabi” does pertain to people as well as objects. Each of us develops character and personality, as we grow older. Taking this concept one step further, the significant others in our relationships need to be accepted for who they are – flaws and all. Although, we may strive to be virtuous, we may be imperfect in our daily thoughts, deeds and actions. In truth, aren’t we all worn? Aren’t we all works in progress? That is how we continually learn to conduct ourselves to create and achieve the results we desire in our lives.
There exists a natural pure magnificence in all things and in us in spite of the apparent imperfections alluded to in Wabi Sabi. Perhaps we would benefit by focusing more on valuing the intrinsic beauty of things well worn, like others, our possessions and ourselves. They really are aged to perfection.