These days I’m pondering the concept of perfection, the illusion of faultlessness all too common in our Western world. Is the quality according to specifications? I confess I’m afflicted too and suffer from the results of this chronic infection.

Wabi-sabi strikes me as a good alternative, that feeling almost all Japanese will claim to understand, though shake their head in disbelief when asked what it actually is. It contains many of Zen’s key spiritual-philosophical elements but here’s the challenge: “Essential knowledge, in Zen doctrine, can be transmitted only from mind to mind, not through the written or spoken word.”*

If this sounds like a Jedi mind trick, I understand. Wabi-sabi offers potential relief from the “seek out imperfections and get rid of them” mode of operation. It moves us to a state of being that sees beauty precisely in the imperfections. This has major implications on aesthetics. 

May you live an imperfect life!

*Page 16, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, by Leonard Koren