Less is more

Reportedly there has been a spike in alcohol and food consumption during the pandemic. They’re the stock mollifications. The currency of the need in the middle of winter is but another expedient for the indulgences.  The dreary, grey skies of midwinter are unendurable at the best of times.  Consequently the subjects of abstinence and diet are neither infrequent nor unfamiliar.  Those of us who have both a “fat” and a “thin” wardrobe know full well that the season for confrontation of one’s habits is replete with a list of standard persuasions. The not uncommon failure of repentance means those gimmicky trends seldom work. Why for example would we suddenly decide that we no longer like what we’ve enjoyed for years! Clearly a smarter approach is required. The answer I believe is that less is more.

It assists in this dilettante research of “less is more” that it is axiomatic when applied to the reduction of ingestion. Curiously, like so many other insightful adages, it is fraught with hidden challenges not the least of which is its complete lack of sustainability. That such a seemingly simple prescription should be unendurable is another complication. It isn’t long before the analysis descends to what is characterized as a mental condition, a sickness, an inhibition.

There are many examinations of the ideology, among them the following none of which sheds any light upon constructive application:

Used to express the view that a minimalist approach to artistic or aesthetic matters is more effective.

The phrase less is more means that having just the essential things is better than having way too much of superfluous things.

Simplicity is better than elaborate embellishment; something simple is better than something complicated.

The concept of less is more is based on the value of simplicity and that by having less, you can actually create a life of more. You can still feel secure and happy with less because you are gaining so much more value in your life.

Clean lines, absence of decoration, avoidance of clutter, simplicity, and above all functionality – these are the characteristics of modernist architecture that were encapsulated in the phrase ‘less is more’. Although originally coined in Robert Browning’s poem Andrea del Sarto, ‘less is more’ is more often associated with the modernist architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, famous for his clean-lined glass and steel tower blocks in Chicago and New York City.

Notwithstanding the logic of the dogma in the context of restraint I am more inclined to acknowledge the pragmatism of it only when one is free of the shackles of other disruption and annoyance.  Otherwise as long as one is burdened with disorder we’ll invariably resort to the tried and true resolutions of food and drink no matter how evanescent they prove to be. It is as though we seek to overcome complicated consternation by clouding it with these common palliatives.  In short the resolution requires time and devotion, not exactly the favoured imperatives.

Competing with the thesis is the less notional observation that many of us adopt the more endearing scheme of acquisition over disposition. There’s a  reason there are so many fat North Americans – we have it too good! The sylphlike figure of models is routinely identified as its own emotional disorder not a commonality.