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BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

As a Perfectionist in remission, I am here to tell you that wabi-sabi — a Japanese way of seeing the world — works as an antidote to the never-good-enough, shiny-new-thing madness induced by the classical hyper-focus on perfection and the kind of seamless orderliness that arises from the mathematical, mechanical precision that evolved in the super-industrialized Occidental West where more is always better.

I grew up in a pineapple plantation camp on Molokai.  Many of my neighbors were Issei, first-generation immigrants from Japan, who brought it with them from their homeland.  I was marinated in wabi-sabi.

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BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 3): A Touch Test

BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 3): A Touch Test

18th-century British textile designer, poet, writer and socialist activist William Morris famously advised:  “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

It’s become a sort of go-to standard that organizers, minimalists and de-clutterers of every ilk use to look at the stuff with which we all surround ourselves.

These days every time you hear that phrase, you can pretty much expect that somebody is going to try to persuade you to get rid of some beloved something.

The perpetrator of the phrase may even hand you some sort of condescending, mealy-mouthed, holier-than-thou thing about your “unhealthy” attachments to “mere material objects.”

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BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 2): Material Mind

BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 2): Material Mind

Probably since the beginning of time the love of stuff has ruled the world.  And as long as there has been stuff-love, there probably also have been those who growl about all this rampant “stuff-ism.”

According to those grouses, making and getting and keeping and trading and maintaining and so on and so forth goes against “right” thinking and the proper order of something or other.

Stuff-ism is going to destroy the world as we know it, they say, or at least put a heavy dent in it.

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