Thursday, February 27, 2003

Thoughts on Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi - the article will be published soon, but here are a few teasers.

The hottest words on the planet, according to Reuters News Release, are found using word-burst detecting software that tracks blog sites. According to the list of words burning the hottest this morning on the Daypop Top Word Bursts, “Wabi” came in at number 8. The two examples of Wabi were from WABI-TV and Blogs4God, a Christian web site that tracks Christian webloggers or Theoblogians.

“The best explanation of Wabi Sabi as it applies to the design of the Net, is in Ward Cunningham's website at This uses Cunningham's WikiWiki software, which allows web visitors to edit the site's text themselves. Unlike the polished prose of most net thinkers, C2 is anonymous, collaborative and often half-finished: the Net in a microcosm and a living depiction of the Wabi sabi philosophy.”
Danny O’Brien, The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, April 9 2000

But the most common usage of Wabi Sabi on the internet right now is in regard to an Emergent Conference next month in Austin called wabiSABI.
Will Wabi Sabi be the ultimate replacement for ‘post-modern’? I sure hope not. The worldview and zeitgeist of today’s culture is far too complex to sum up with a single word, even a hot word. But if we have to choose an aesthetic that is non-western, responsive to modernity’s excesses, and is noticed by the media AFTER the church is already examining it, then Wabi Sabi may be a good place to start.