Many of us have heard the metaphor “Less is More”. But how viable is this metaphor in a society that venerates excess? It certainly makes sense when one knows that its origins can be traced to one of the founders of modern architecture and a proponent of simplicity of style, Ludwig Mies van Der Rohe. I have transitioned to a more modern setting over the years due to the fact that I wanted less to clean, more open space and a zen like atmosphere. I have found that my home often emulates the stages of my life. I used to want more stuff around me. Now I want less.
Wanting less is a very difficult concept to embrace in our culture. It feel like nothing can be simple anymore. Whenever I go to the food store I feel like I should take a mattress with me so I can nap in-between making decisions over a product. Everything is enhanced with added ingredients. I had a yen for some orange juice the other day. I could not believe the plethora of juices. Not one product I was seeking was autonomous. They all had add ons. Finding the original is like seeking the Holy Grail!
The toothpaste aisle is insane. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. What ever happened to a simple tube of toothpaste? Every one of them has a whitening agent. How white do teeth have to be? Will I have to wear sunglasses to talk to someone whose teeth are so brilliant that beams of light shoot out of them?
Deodorant never had a smell. Now finding one without a smell is exhausting. I don’t want to smell like a forest, a lake or a cake. I just don’t want to smell!
What really gets me is the choices one has to make around toilet paper now. There is now an entire aisle devoted to it. It took me ten minutes to find one that was not riddled with extras. The one that is sold by a family of Bears is supposed to make you feel all warm and cuddly.How do they know, they go in the woods.? Now the latest one advocates for “going commando”. I never realized I needed to be part of a Swat team to use the bathroom.
But therein lies the seduction of advertising. Their goal is to create illusion, and it’s up to you whether you want to buy into it.
I personally do not want to spend my energy trolling through stuff that was fine the way it was. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, don’t try to make it a chicken.