inconspicuous and overlooked

Originally, the Japanese words “wabi” and “sabi” had quite different meanings. “Sabi” originally meant “chill,” “lean,” or “withered.” “Wabi” originally meant the misery of living alone in nature, away from society, and suggested a discouraged, dispirited, cheerless emotional state. Around the 14th century, the meanings of both words began to evolve in the direction of more positive aesthetic values. The self-imposed isolation and voluntary poverty of the hermit and ascetic came to be considered opportunities for spiritual richness. For the poetically inclined, this kind of life fostered an appreciation of the minor details of everyday life and insights into the beauty of the inconspicuous and overlooked aspects of nature. In turn, unprepossessing simplicity took on new meaning as the basis for a new, pure beauty.

—Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers (Impermanence Publishing, 2008)


Loren said...

I think I'm ready for this. Just ordered it from Amazon.

Thanks for the quote.

Matt D said...

I've lived in Japan for about 17 years. Leonard Koren really opened my eyes up to a lot and gave me a much deeper appreciation for a lot that still exists in Japan.

That is really, really good book.