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Showing posts from July, 2012

God, The Buddha, and The Joker

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How many mass shootings have occurred since the one in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater that first inspired this post some five and a half years ago? How many lives have been violently snuffed out? How many families have been destroyed? How many people have been forever scarred by the trauma that they were lucky enough to have survived, but not so lucky as to have avoided altogether? Some brave individuals are counting, and trying to do what they can to persuade hearts and minds to embrace meaningful change. Many others seem to have just grown weary of the reality of massacre after massacre, and the repetitive and ineffectual discussion that ensues. I'm updating this post in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. Perhaps I want to ascertain which group I still belong to, the one trying to affect change, or the one that has grown numb. Has the worldview that I articulated below changed at all? Do I have anything to add?


God, The Buddha, and The Joker
I’m usually …

Wonder

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Sweltering summer afternoons such as these inevitably remind me of my childhood – the still air, the unrelenting sun, and the silence only intermittently punctuated by the ratcheting sound of a grasshopper in mid hop, or the unanswered call of a field sparrow, or the sticking sound that automobile tires make as they accelerate down an almost melting asphalt road.

“How about we go fossil hunting?” I’d pose the question over the phone to my childhood friend, Charlie, or he to me.
“What time?” was the usual response, neither of us needing much in the way of convincing when it came to such suggestions.
“After lunch. One o’clock. Under the railroad trestle.”

And so we’d meet in the shade of the old wooden bridge and ride our bicycles along the dusty trail to where the new highway cut through the layers of a limestone undergirded hillside. Once there, we’d make our way slowly, almost wordlessly along the fractured strata, carefully overturning the loose rock, becoming more subtly in tune t…

Envisioning A Wabi-Sabi World

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In my previous post, Can Wabi-Sabi Save The World?, I explored the Japanese aesthetic known as wabi-sabi in addition to briefly sketching out my rationale for pondering whether it might actually “save the world.” I’ll continue in that vein in this post, to the point where (I hope) you’ll be willing to agree that there’s at least some cause for someone to respond to that question with a great big emphatic “Yes!” First, though, let me review some of the pertinent aspects of wabi-sabi that relate to the point that I’m trying to convey. Toward that end I’ll try my hand at composing a concise and reasonably accurate definition of wabi-sabi:


Wabi-sabi is the traditionally Japanese aesthetic encompassing the appreciation of things that are simple, rustic, weathered, flawed, and natural in such a way that their very utilitarian ordinariness is elevated to the realm of artistic beauty. The truest appreciation of wabi-sabi requires the relinquishment (emptying out) of preconceived notions regar…