Deconstructing The Future

Kintsugi’s metaphorical strength in Futures Thinking for Sustainability.

The main challenge to future scenario construction is to help people see themselves as part of a larger system in a way that empowers them rather than reinforces the belief they are helpless.

Kintsugi art has a unique approach to mistakes (i.e., cracks, break lines) pushing for the acceptance of reality. For kintsugi masters, a reconstructed piece is a symbol of strength, beauty and fragility. There should be no attempt to disguise the damage, as the point is to render the fault lines strong and beautiful. Hence, when a ceramic piece breaks, they repair it with gold while leaving the reconstruction highly invisible (Navarro, 2017 p. 10). The precious golden veins in kintsugi art emphasize that breaks have philosophically rich merit all of their own (School of life, n.d). This means that the object’s destruction becomes a feature of the piece, adding a value that can only be derived from historical damage (Taheri et al., 2018).

My approach towards beliefs is that of a critical realist, accepting there is a reality but that we are all inevitably looking at it from our own perspective. However, I want to emphasize that when we decide what we did wrong or what we regret or wish would never have happened, we can change our perspective.

According to Zushi, people can learn that if they have some injury in their minds or hearts, like a sad memory or the thought of, “I do not like myself,” they do not have to be afraid of being themselves; they are beautiful as they are. She also believes that ceramics are connected to the heart. She told me that when people have sad memories about broken tableware, they often blame or criticize themselves for that, and from there comes sadness. When you are creative and fix that sadness into beauty, the feeling of self-blame turns into a happier emotion and memory.

Chiho Zushi

In short,the kintsugi approach can teach students to look at things in a more light-hearted manner and maybe even appreciate them for what they are. They can learn that being part of something that is also not good does not feel so frightening and accusatory anymore, because maybe the not-good parts are essential for growth.

The solutions to our problems are within them. If we want to solve our issues, we need to deconstruct them, put them back together, enjoy the process, and never forget it. 

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