Less Is More

How can this BE?Sometimes a concept is so familiar that it no longer gets the attention it deserves. For example, the idea that less is more has been around for a very long time, and everyone knows what it means without having to think about it much. At least we think we do. Mostly, it's taken to express a kind of minimalism; it encourages the old keep it simple maxim. But when you really stop and ponder, the concept is not only illogical, but thoroughly Zenlike in its irrationality.

If less and more are exactly equal—and they are, unless the is word has multiple meanings—then the inverse must also be true. But if more is less, I'm right back where I started. Let's say you have a pile of beans, and your friend has a pile of beans, and when you look at your pile it's clear you have far more beans than your friend has. But do you, really? I mean, if less is more, it's obvious he has the larger pile and no amount of eyeballing will disprove it. On the other hand, more is less. This means that, although your friend has the larger quantity of beans, you'll always have more, and also considerably less. It jams the gears, and confounds the noodle.

I think I'll go back to contemplating the sound of one hand clapping. It's easier.


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