Kintsugi: the golden heart of resilience
di Manuela Metra.
The Goethean worldview allows you to perceive connections, even when they are not too obvious, often unnoticed, and to establish a bridge between the Western vision devoted to action and the devout Eastern contemplation. One such connection lies in the relationship between resilience, strength, transformation, and the learning curve. In recent years, certain words have transcended their narrow technical meanings to become symbols of broader concepts, with resilience being one of them. In engineering, impact strength refers to a material’s ability to withstand impact without breaking. Through testing and analysis, we assess dynamic stress and shock. It is an important property that should be enhanced in materials subjected to impact. A material with low resilience is fragile.
From here, it is deduced that resilience, in humans, extends to psychological or emotional capacity, preparing individuals for the crises and blows that life inflicts upon them in various forms. Faith in the ability to withstand challenges is quintessentially Western, embodying faith in action and humanity’s capacity to shape its own destiny. While this outlook is generally acceptable and desirable, there are circumstances where resistance only leads to great weariness; where victory requires letting go. The realm of emotions follows its own laws. There are hearts that remain unscathed throughout life, while others bear cracks from wear, and brave hearts that break more than once. Certain situations may necessitate a rupture, despite resistance elsewhere. Sometimes, letting something break without expending excessive energy on resistance is more beneficial.
These heartbreaks are difficult to acknowledge, let alone treat. However, once we understand the essence of kintsugi, a new perspective emerges, infused with the elusive poetry unique to Japan. Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery by mending it with gold-infused adhesive, symbolizing the connection between heaven and earth. These mends imbue the piece with a new, fragile beauty, accompanied by a unique quality acquired through confrontation with life’s challenges.
Consider extending the concept of kintsugi to a more subtle level, finding ways to mend and heal our hearts, which have suffered damage. “Healing” is the operative word. It entails care, time, and action, utilizing precious materials like gold to mend and heal. This process of transformation metamorphoses pain and fracture, reshaping what was and what will be, while impacting the learning curve. The creative spirit is instrumental in this healing process, introducing new skills and perspectives.
Each individual must find their personal method of practicing kintsugi when faced with brokenness. This personal “gold” used to mend the pieces must possess a creative component to effect transformation. Whether through photography, painting, cooking, or any other medium, the essence lies in understanding what is being transformed. Kintsugi represents the deepest aspect of resilience—the gilded heart—which proudly displays its scars clad in gold, a testament to rigorous beauty and awareness.