I’m loving the book, “The Art of Simplicity” by John Maeda. The first sentence of the book says, “The easiest way to simplify a system is to remove functionality.” He goes on to use the DVD player as an example. We really only need one button – play, but there are some who would like more, maybe to go back or go forward, still others would like more features.

The balance between simplicity and complexity is the basic question. How simple can it be and how complex does it have to be?

“The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.” When you remove something, just think about it before you do it.

I am thinking about this in terms of life and church. How do we balance simplicity and complexity in those venues? Last week I wrote about the struggle between personal and professional vision. If we continue to add and add more and more we will soon drown in our own “vision”. There has to be a give and take if we are to “thoughtfully reduce”. This concept of reduction is John’s first of ten laws dealing with issues related to simplicity.

I leave you with one more thought coming from page two. When faced with the need to reduce we have to deal with the problem of deciding what lives and what dies. John says that these decisions do not come easy to us because we are not trained to be despots. Our default is to let what is living live. Inevitably we would allow all functionality to stay if we could.

Explore posts in the same categories: Belief, Books I'm Reading, Context, Creativity, Cultural Ideas

One Comment on “Reduction”

  1. Joe Says:

    Great post Bro.
    Our entire culture could use a lesson or ten probably from that writing! I know for me one of my biggest questions in life right now is what I can do without (ie. what can I kill) If I could kill some stuff then maybe I could really live. I think what you are reading and writing about may be the key to the “abundant life” that Jesus invited us to in John 10:10. This post is right in my grill and on my mind today so thanks for sharing!

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