The Journey of How Less Became More

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It’s in this invitation to occupation that less truly becomes more.

__Jeremy Barnes

We’ve all been there. The blank screen; the empty canvas; the expanse of an empty room or house. The void envelopes; unyielding. We rush to add material, to dwarf the giant lest we stand in its shadow. We create noise to shew the silence. The minute we introduce content to any blank space, it shifts, assumes a new identity. We fill the space with purpose, supplementing with value or emotion. But once begun, the question quickly becomes, “how much is enough?” Does more material, more paint, more stuff translate into more meaning? Indeed, when do we cease adding to the pile? While the question is often one of aesthetics, it is equally if not more, one of ideology.

Today, many would be quick to render the argument decidedly resolved by “less is more” – in a word, Minimalism. With so many individuals and companies claiming its aesthetic as a lifestyle, Minimalism permeates not only design culture, but the everyday consumer experience in the form of advertising. It makes it’s statement in homes and on runways. It has even defined the face of Apple, each package dominated by a sleek, unblemished photo of the product drifting in some blank, white atmosphere. Sure, it works great for undisputed marketing, but what attracts so many individuals to bring minimalism alongside their own style?

For most, it’s only a trend. I consider myself an expert examiner of trends, if only as a foraging effort to find an ever-elusive “timelessness.” To earnestly verify such a distinction, though, one must submit to a study of history, to find the roots of a trend, and discover what has stood the test of time. While Minimalism is gaining territory in pop culture, it’s roots are far from the fashionable. Truly, it hasn’t always been a part of prevailing Western thought, but rather stems from a much quieter and contemplative place, an a culture intimately intertwined with Nature and meditation.

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