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Posts Tagged ‘2021Inauguration’

Post-inauguration, the news is flooded with articles on the likelihood (or not) of unity in America, and even some on the failure of America as an ideal, as a dream. No matter what, some say, it will never be what it was again.

That may be true. But what if it can be better?

The Japanese have an art, Kintsugi. The art of broken things, of finding beauty in imperfection.

Rather than being thrown away, damaged pottery is rebuilt, pieced together with lacquer and gold binding the seams.* The results celebrate the history of the piece, not only what it once was but the damage it experienced and the conviction that it can be rebuilt into something beautiful. That it is worth saving.

“Some four or five centuries ago in Japan, a lavish technique emerged for repairing broken ceramics. Artisans began using lacquer and gold pigment to put shattered vessels back together. This tradition, known as kintsugi, meaning “golden seams” (or kintsukuroi, “golden repair”), is still going strong.”

― Kintsugi, The Japanese Art of Mending Broken Ceramics with Gold

“The restored ceramic becomes a symbol of fragility, strength, and beauty. Many see Kintsugi as a powerful metaphor for life, where nothing is ever truly broken.”

* * *

What has kept humanity going through lifetimes of broken dreams? Hope, faith, and the deeply-held conviction that progress is possible, that something strong can be built on what’s good about the past. I hold that hope now, for us.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places–and there are so many–where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

― Howard Zinn

* * *

* Commitment and cash, essentially; there are probably worse ways to describe what we need right now to rebuild.

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