The ‘less is more’ concept is probably one of the most misunderstood and often subjectively used. It is mostly mentioned about the material side of life. To many, it may even sound synonymous to minimalism. Not that it is entirely separate from minimalism, but it is just that both seem to be only associated with material possession.
Less is more is more meaningful when used broadly. It is even more meaningful when it is applied to the basics of life. It is an expression of both simplicity and frugality. It also encompasses the aspect of gratitude and appreciation. More so, less is more, when applied broadly and in every aspect of life, could also be a gateway for solutions to problems that have been experienced since time immemorial.
It is no doubt that, for example, most of our illnesses are rooted in excessive consumption of food and beverages. This boils not only to the quantity but also to the quality and infusion of excessive additives into what is consumed. If the concept of less is more were to be applied and taken seriously in this aspect, most of our health problems would go away.
A part of this problem can also be linked to the financial or economic aspect. The concept of the heavily propagated success has led to focus more on the quantity and taste to lure the unsuspecting customer into excessive consumption just for the achievement of a six-figure bottom line. The focus on the bottom-line, therefore, at the end of the day, becomes more significant than the quality and effects a product has on the quality of the life of the consumers.
The same goes for the apparent scarcity of productive land. This has even become the foundation for the formation of political organisations and institutions. Such a problem would go away in one day if we all truly had the same purpose and concern for the betterment of all. That is if we all agreed that less is more and it breeds harmony.
Although we seem to have missed the opportunity to see the significance and gift of less is more, nature has its own subliminal way of giving us pointers. For example, think of the fact that no matter how much oxygen there is in this universe, one can only breathe in what is needed at a time. There are also so many beautiful places in the world to see and be, but one can only be at one place at a time.
Therefore, less is more is not just a concept. It is a meaningful and simplified way of life. It is a life lived reminiscent of the basics of life, good enough to keep one grounded and heads levelled. It is also a life lived with less worry and absurdity; a life of contentment, compassion and purpose.
The purpose is not only for the self but for building a foundation and planting a tree for which we may not even live long enough to enjoy its shade.
Lastly, less is more is the greatest reminder to not take and consume more than what we need. For, too much of anything is no good and we may live with devastating consequences.
By Karlos TheGreat
OSHIMWENYO is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.