In movies or tv , whenever one character says to another “can’t we just go back to the way things used to be?...” it’s usually a sign on the part of writers that, that character has yet to face up either to reality or to themselves...The cliché is offered up as a solution… some trauma has passed, parties that were enraged or hurt or mistaken, want to forgive or heal or apologize, they want the bad times to give way to good times, but only on the false pretense that the bad times never happen.
We know that trauma can be repressed but it can’t be erased; lasting reconciliation is achieved by emotional self-awareness by embracing the change agents of trauma, how they irreversibly reorganize elements of personality, identity and social reality. This idea, the idea of embracing our wounds our brokenness is manifested quite poetique in the Japanese mending practice of Kintsugi, literally golden joinery, the art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold. The philosophy follows from a border Japanese aesthetic called “Wabi Sabi” that finds beauty not in traditional western ideals of symmetry or geometry but in Buddhist concepts of impermanence and imperfection “A way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.”
The fractures on a ceramic bowl don’t represent the end of that objects life but rather an essential moment in it’s history, the flaws of the shape are hidden from inspection but emblazed with golden significance, maybe Hemmingway had KINTSUGI on his mind when he wrote the famous lines form A farewell to arms, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places”. The art of Kintsugi, simbolizes the truth that repair requires transformation, that the pristine is less beautiful than the broken and that the shape of us is impossible to see until it’s fractured, until a wound like a crack run it’s length.