Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren

For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

Parker Klein ✌️
Published in
3 min readJul 14, 2022


Wabi-Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Modest, humble, and unconventional

“Those who know don’t say; those who say don’t know”

Missing or undefinable knowledge is simply another aspect of wabi-sabi’s inherent incompleteness

Rustic is simple, artless, or unsophisticated with surfaces rough or irregular

Self imposed isolation and voluntary poverty of the hermit and ascetic is considered opportunities for spiritual richness. For the poetically inclines, 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

Wabi refers to a way of life, a spiritual path, the inward, the subjective, a philosophical construct, spatial events

Sabi refers to material objects, art and literature, the outward, the objective, an aesthetic ideal, temporal events

Modernism implies a logical, rational worldview, is absolute, looks for universal, prototypical solutions, mass-produces, expresses faith in progress, future-oriented, believes in the control of nature, and romanticizes technology, people adapting to machines, geometric organization of form, needs to be well maintained, purity makes its expression richer, is intolerant of ambiguity and contradiction, generally light and bright, function and utility are primary values, perfect materiality is an ideal, everlasting

Wabi-sabi is primarily expressed in the private domain, implies an intuitive worldview, is relative, looks for personal, idiosyncratic solutions, one-of-a-kind, there is no progress, present-oriented, believes in the fundamental uncontrollability of nature, romanticizes nature, people adapting to nature, organic organization of form, natural materials, accommodates to degradation and attrition, corrosion and contamination make its expression richer, solicits the expansion of sensory information, is comfortable with ambiguity and contradiction, warm, generally dark and dim, function and utility are not so important, perfect immateriality is an ideal

Nonthinking repetition of mechanical forms allows one to concentrate simply on being without the distraction of having to make decisions, artistic or otherwise

You must pay maximum attention to everything happening at this very moment: be here now

Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness

Truth comes from the observation of nature

Greatness exists in the inconspicuous and overlooked details

Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness

Accept the inevitable

Appreciate the cosmic order

Get rid of all that is unnecessary

Focus on the intrinsic and ignore material hierarchy

The more systematic and clearly defined the components of an aesthetic system are the more useful it is

Nothingness is alive with possibility

All things are impermanent

All things are imperfect

All things are incomplete

Beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else

Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view

Stop our preoccupation with success-wealth, status, power, and luxury-and enjoy the unencumbered life

Just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be

Objects seem to expand in importance in inverse proportion to its actual size

Understated and unassuming, yet not without presence or quiet authority. Things coexist with the rest of the environment

Things are appreciated only during direct contact and use

They have no need for the reassurance of status or the validation of market culture. They have no need for documentation of provenance

Wabi-sabi-ness in no way depends on knowledge of the creators background or personality. It is best if the creator is of no distinction, invisible, or anonymous

Simplicity is the state of Grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence

#SharedFromTwos ✌️



Parker Klein ✌️

Codin' 👨‍💻 + oatin' 🥣. Formerly @Google @Qualcomm @PizzaNova. Building the best place to write *things* down: Twos (www.TwosApp.com)