Degrowth as an Aesthetics of Existence: Part 1

The purpose of this scoping paper, however, is neither to review the existing literature nor offer another ecological critique of growth, but to extend and deepen the understanding of degrowth by examining the concept and the movement from a perspective that has yet to receive any sustained attention—namely, aesthetics. More about raising questions than offering answers, my aim is to open up the dialogue not close it down, which is to acknowledge that large theoretical territories are traversed without being able to map them all in the detail they deserve. Consider this, then, an invitation to discuss.

The Beauty of Wabi-Sabi

In 1992, while living in Japan, I embarked on a project to locate and define the kind of beauty that I felt most deeply attracted to. By "beauty" I meant that complex of exciting, pleasurable sensations ostensibly emanating from things—objects, environments, and even ideas—that makes us feel more alive and connected to the world; that urgent feeling we equate with "the good," "the right," and "the true."