Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Pathos of Things

Mono No Aware, a hard to translate Japanese term which literally means the pathos of things is about the awareness of impermanence. Being aware that everything will change and nothing is permanent. While the concept seems really simple, it is one of the toughest things for the conscious mind to consider on a usual basis.

A sadness and melancholy that persists in you when you know that things will not last forever. A sadness that can also bring out the beauty in the current moment and make life more meaningful. Extreme beauty that can only be sensed on top of a deeply sad foundation. The best symbolic representation for the pathos of things is Sakura, cherry blossoms, that are very precious and beautiful while they last, and they last for a very short time.

I have been thinking about this concept a lot lately, very much looking into including it in our latest project, Tale of Ronin, as we have been researching Zen concepts very much and mono no aware has deep roots in Zen concepts and is about the human side of the Samurai which the game is all about.

My current plans are to study various literature and media related to this very important feeling. This is very much intuitive for me since I feel myself very much in a mono no aware state lately. A strange feeling that opens your eyes to the aesthetics of things you know will not be there soon.

I might be consciously thinking about it lately but I think the concept has been dancing around in my subconscious for quite some time. This post called Finally Alive from 2008, which is probably my most favorite post here, was exactly all about mono no aware!


Ashkan said...

There is an interesting side-effect of thinking about this (at least for me), which makes things move slowly.

You lose the incorrect belief of fast changes in the world and even in yourself when you are thinking about macro level more persistent changes. Revolutions, wars for justice and ... all seem tools to make fast and interesting but weak effects usually with a heavy price which makes the original action questionable in some situations. One realizes most things will not last so should be enjoyed while they are around, and most things which last more are created very slowly and usually in ways which are hard to describe or control by a single action or phenomenon.
Feelings like calmness , sadness and powerlessness are experienced in parallel since I feel that I'm like a river maybe which can move small things fast and my drops fast but the movement can easily be undone soon or lose its effect but still is interesting. On the other hand, other things like changing the shape of the mountains or changing the river's overall shape is something realized in years thanks to many other rivers, wind, rain, the sky and many other things which I might/might not understand.
Even what we fill as magic which is suddenly doing great stuff in a team or in our own personality is mostly the result of many small decisions, thoughts and accidents and ... over the years which makes the small not durable things more valuable since they shape more persistent bigger things in ways outside of our analysis power or control.

P.S The old post was really interesting, I didn't read it back then unfortunately while I went back and read most of your posts or maybe I did not understood many of the concepts back then so I didn't find it interesting. It was great!

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