Mono No Aware

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Transience can be a bitch, so suck it up.

Heidegger called it Angst: the apprehension of something which is not definite.  We all face the possibility of an encounter with what we do not know on a daily basis.  We are apprehensive of the incomprehensible.  We can scarcely comprehend time before it passes, then we have a memory.  The future is infinite and indefinite.  We all approach what lies ahead with a bit of trepidation.  We are intimidated with it.

Sometimes I wish I can just stay in one place, frozen in time, living off the here-and-now.  There’s always the greener pasture ahead, but you can only understand how “green” it is based on what you perceive and believe it to be.  Yet nothing is ever still.  Things move on, and we move along with it.  Time passes us by, and we live with it.  There is only movement, and the feeling that we have to shed tears when we say goodbye.  Even if it’s not necessary.

I guess that’s why you say your goodbyes way in advance, or why you brace yourself for a long journey even if you have yet to take a single step to wherever you’re going.  You just don’t know how you’re going to react once that time comes.  Or maybe it’s just extremely difficult to say goodbye at that precise moment when it happens.  After all, goodbyes are never sure or certain.  Like everything else, farewells move in time and space.

In a few days, I’ll be saying goodbye to officemates I have grown to admire and, given my bad people skills, consider my friends.  I’ll be saying goodbye to a job that, for the longest time, I’ve grown to like.  I know exactly what lies ahead… at least in my imagination.  Yet I’ll never understand what that will be until that day comes.  If the script in my head is something that I’ll follow, if spontaneity will take over, or if nothing will happen, much less a goodbye.

The Japanese call it mono no aware; the bittersweet sadness that comes with the passing of time, the coming of the seasons, and moving along destinations.  It’s the more romantic equivalent of sucking it up, and the less convoluted explanation of Angst.  That, I guess, is a feeling I don’t have to brace myself for.

5 comments on “Mono No Aware”

    • tina
    • October 28, 2009

    and why don’t you have to brace yourself for it? not a bad last sentence, but it doesn’t seem to be well-supported. 😛

    i like the idea for the post, but the execution itself is kinda…pfft. second to the last paragraph needs some expounding. what was probably the core of the piece was scrunched up and delivered tersely. no wonder the last sentence doesn’t hold up. ^^ although i guess you were going for something ineffable… unfortunately, just describing it doesn’t really have that much impact. somehow you have to make us *feel* that ineffable thing. like maybe through showing us how you said goodbye, to whom and to what you said goodbye. something concrete to help get the ineffable thing down. 🙂

    bittersweet sadness, huh? i guess you could do a kawabata yasunari-ish approach to this… his style would fit it perfectly. ^^

    1. Reply

      tina: i was trying to achieve the Yoshida Kenko “wabi-sabi” – slash – “meh” approach, w/c admittedly is epic fail in this case (although srsly i’m flattered guys like you take time to read *and* deconstruct, i have the feeling i should always be on the lookout). it worked fine for me since I haven’t left yet. consider how the entry “passes” before the emotion is actually felt, so for the most part it’s just terse laundry-list description (which is often my mistake when i write anyway), so the “kulang” is deliberate 🙂

      anyway i’m just making excuses, LMAO. i’ll take those tips to account when i actually say goodbye. ^^ 😀

  1. Reply

    Just curious; why are you saying goodbye to a ‘job you’ve grown to like’? chismax 🙂

  2. Reply

    Sometimes I would also just want to be immersed in this state when everything flies away and all I am doing is sitting in transient silence and solitude.

    But it seems that it is impossible to comprehend things and changes and movements; that all I could do is go with the flow.

    • tina
    • October 30, 2009

    marocharim: have to concede that i completely missed the future tense in that second to the last paragraph. ^^

    i guess i’m just not into minimalism. i tend to look for the extra nuances and texture of additional description… anyway, it’s good to hear you appreciate my comments. 🙂

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