Transience and Imperfection

A friend recently introduced me to the idea of Wabi-Sabi – the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. I love it.

I’m a white male, getting older by the day. The older I get, the more conscious I become of my whiteness, my maleness, and my oldness. My transience and imperfection.

I remember a conversation at a party – years ago. Question. How many times have you been stopped by the police? Me – once. Him – lost count. Spot the difference. Skin colour.

More recently, Josh Bersin (white, male, etcetera) wears jeans to give a conference keynote. Why not? Wear what you like. Go Josh! Meanwhile, HR ladies at similar conferences persist in giving female speakers grief because of what they wear. Skirt too tight, heels too high. What?!

I rarely, if ever know what it is like to be the minority – the one without power and privilege. I’ve never had to recoil after being touched inappropriately on a crowded tube train. I don’t know what it’s like to be routinely paid less because of my gender, and the bias in the recruiting experience, is limited to stories of the two identical CVs with different names. David gets the interview, Mustafa gets no response.

I don’t know what it feels like to be the one without power and privilege, and my growing appreciation of my own impermanence increases my awareness of its existence, at least.

Dear white people : no one is saying your life can’t be hard if you’re white, but it’s not hard because you’re white.

White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution : Joe Strummer

More to follow.

I found this difficult to write. It’s been a while, I’m low on form and high on self doubt. I asked if anyone was willing to take a look at the draft before publishing and several people kindly offered. Thanks to everyone who responded, and to Chris and Meg who kindly helped me with my work.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

2 thoughts on “Transience and Imperfection”

    1. Thanks Gail. It was lovely to meet you last week, thanks for the kind interview and enjoy the rest of your travels.

      I appreciate your feedback. Truthfully I don’t find it easy – my experience is that often, people would rather not hear what I and others are honestly seeing and feeling, but I think it’s important. My Dad was an honest guy, maybe too blunt at times, I think I’ve inherited something from him 😉

      Cheers – Doug

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