I liked this word Yûgen the moment I stumbled into it.
Yūgen is a Japanese word pertaining to ‘a profound awareness of the universe which evokes feelings that are inexplicably deep and too mysterious for words.’
Want to get a quick fix and feel for this word ? See a good space documentary, in HD, on a wide screen TV.
Even better, go to the nearest planetarium and watch some shows there. (J and I were were happily reeling after watching ‘HUBBLE 3D’ on IMAX)
Watch a clear sunset after to really rub it in.
I get this fix from reading some good sci-fi. Because good sci-fi is no just about cool future tech but opening your mind to new possibilities of human conduct and living. For example before I read ‘The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia‘ I always thought Anarchy, defined as an absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual was totally for the loonies only. But after reading that book and many many Culture Novels by Banks I am now a believer.
This is one of the true gifts of good sci-fi. It shows you the world and the rules you live in is not preordained but one among many possibilities. The Foundation Series by Asimov, that I read in my early teens blew my young mind into the next star system.
The Culture Series by Ian Banks absolutely screwed with my already fragile sense of this world we live in. Imperialism, Militarism and Democracy needs not be the permanent narrative. Was this even possible ? Yes. Banks shows you how that would turn out. Brilliantly. The best two books if you want this 2015 summer to be one where you deliberately read something that inspires YUGEN are :
This current post is directly inspired by a long article I read today, a brilliant primer on THE CULTURE.
Read it to understand a little of both the world Ian builds and what Yugen tastes like.