Just Enough is Plenty

This post is inspired by the essay, Why the simple life is not just beautiful, it’s necessary, published on Aeon Magazine.

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Detail from Interior with Two Girls by Peter Ilsted, 1904. Photo courtesy Flickr

Apparently, ballpoint pens don’t work in space because of the lack of gravity. It is said that NASA, troubled by this realization, spent many millions of dollars designing a ‘space pen’ that could function in the absence of gravity. The Russians used a pencil.

Whether or not this story is true, it raises interesting questions about how technology is used in modern society. Are we, like NASA, complicating life and wasting money on superfluous technology?

To what extent could we, like the Russians, find much ‘simpler’ solutions to the problems we face?

What role should technology play in living the simple life? In the 21st century, are there times when our lives could be improved by using less technology, not more? Or by using technology smarter?

My love/hate with technology is around communications. I love my computer/internet connection and have acquiesced to having a mobile phone, but the trick is not feeling like you have to be available 24 hours a day to people. They’re just tools, not the master you’re enslaved to.

To be sure, there is no ‘rule’ to follow, as such, that can tell us when technology is appropriate and when it is not. There is much, much more to say on the question of technology in future posts. But for now I will  close this post with following comment:

The simple life is not just beautiful, it’s necessary. Technology can play an integral role to simplify our lives.

Life is about choices. Making the choice to live life in a simpler way is something that is becoming a necessity.

 

Excellence by Pablo Casals

Pablo Casals was a great Spanish cellist and conductor who is considered one of the greatest cellists of all time. He believed that music has the power to save the world.

When he was 93, he was asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours everyday. Pablo’s response to this question, in my view, is the hallmark of excellence. He said, “Because I think I am making progress and improving.”

pablo-casals-cellist

The French novelist Marcel Proust one said, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Learning gives us that new set of eyes.

Malcolm Gladwell has famously said, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Although some may see recognition of excellence as an ultimate goal, the quest never really ends with the receipt of an award. The process of improvement continues.

The pursuit for excellence never ends.

Pablo Casals on Creative Vitality and How Working with Love Prolongs Your Life via Brain Pickings