One of the founders of modern architecture and proponent of simplicity of style – Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe – is often associated with the a 19th century proverbial phrase, Less is More. The kernel of this phrase is that simplicity and clarity lead to good design. This is particularly true because what is less complicated is often better understood than what is more complicated. Several people prefer simplicity to complexity. And for a large lot, brevity is more effective than verbosity.
I agree with Ludwig to reasonable extent that Less is More. Yes, Less is More when the idea is to declutter. Of course, doing a single most important thing is usually more effective than doing a lot of less important things. Yes, Less is More finds application in communication. If I wanted to get my point across effectively, then saying it succinctly would be more effective than blathering on and on. My listener would be lost in the verbiage.
But Less is More is a flawed concept when it is viewed from other perspectives. For instance, if Less is More means a little amount of something is better than a lot of it, then that concept wouldn’t obviously fit a situation where one needs to use thin tissue paper as swipes. Less would never be more in repetitive processes that build capacity and competence. And less happiness would apparently not be more. Or would it?
I read in the world’s best-selling book ever a cardinal truth that more is the antidote to waste; much more to much waste. That timeless theory was propounded by a Master Strategist long before any economic theorist ever did: When demand thumps supply, scarcity ensues.
The next statements are not The Twelve Commandments. Neither are they scientific postulations. I consider them to be quanta of truth:
- The solution to wasting potential is striving to do more.
- More does not engender greed; it eliminates waste.
- More is working the harvest you anticipate; consistently shifting gears till potential becomes performance.
- More works your unsown fields and ploughs the abundance in your fallow ground.
- More is proof of the premium you place on who and what you could be and become.
- More is the bridge between ‘YouNow’ and ‘YouMorrow.’
- More stretches you to till your ground, cultivate and water it.
- More removes you from the grandstand and flings you onto the playing field.
- More transposes tomorrow’s regrets into tomorrow’s joys.
- More is about escaping mediocrity than advancing excellence.
- More is the difference between aspiration and actualization. It forces you to concretize your abstractions.
- More brings ‘The book of Matthew’ out of ‘The Tax Collector Matthew.’
Can you hear me? Come closer. I want to speak in hushed tones. Not because I don’t want others to hear what I have to say. No. I want you to give me your undivided attention. This is gut-level, no-holds-barred, naked-and-not-ashamed, frank talk. Listen! You are a major cast in the blockbuster, No More Crumbs. Your success and the success of others in the scriptwriter’s worldview are tied to your excellent performance. Until you rise and live your best life, you’ll just be existing. Occupying space. And until your 5-star performance on ‘screen’ is in sync with ‘The Director’s’ storyboard, life will be a passing shadow; and you a poor player that struts on, and then exit, the ‘stage.’
This is my honest advice to you is: Find your chord. Or chords. Strike it. Strike them. Sustain the ensuing rhythm. Create the music. Play it out. Loud. Continuously. Then people will dance to the beat of that ‘music’ you’ve created. And only in their dance will the three be fulfilled. Only. Yes, only in the peoples’ dance will the trio of Destiny, the original composer; You, the creative re-mixer; and People, the exuberant dancer – experience boundless joy. Only.
Less is More. To a considerable extent. But when I tilt my lens to get the outlook from other angles, I find that Less is More isn’t. I discover that Less is More isn’t, always. So when what is produced is less than the productive capacity of the producing vessel, then less isn’t more.
If at out interment we would, even in the smallest measure, increase the already stupendous wealth in the cemetery, then less wouldn’t anymore be more. Because the shovel of the bulldozer was not designed to scoop ice cream.
Come with me to my lexicon. You’ve heard the words ‘abuse’ and ‘misuse.’ You’ve used them when you speak and when you write. May I introduce to you a word you might probably know for the very first time. It’s a new word in my glossary. I coined it into my vocabulary. Quite recently. It’s the word ‘sub-use.’
Here are four personal definitions of my newly-coined word:
Sub-use: When what you’ve fired < How you’re wired;
Sub-use: When Production < Configuration;
Sub-use: When Output < Input;
Sub-use: When Ability < Capacity.
If the shovel of a bulldozer is used to scoop ice cream, then Less isn’t More.
So when you sub-use your capacity and achieve far less than that for which you were originally configured, then Less isn’t More.