“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”* * de St. Exupery, Antoine. Wind, Sand and Stars. Trans. Lewis Galantiere. New York: Harcourt Inc. 1967

IMG_1689It seems to me that the industrial revolution marked a moment in the west when collectively our celebration of object through craft and design underwent a paradigm shift described by almost 180 degrees of rotation.IMG_1691

IMG_1690Up until this point, the job of a craftsman seemed to be to make an object function as well as possible and then to ascribe to the object a degree of ornamentation as a treatise on beauty that as perfectly as possible described something essential and made it seen; made something seen that otherwise would have remained hidden behind the veil of the potentially manifest.

Lets say that he didn’t try and left the object unadorned, or did so in a lesser way just to call the job done, then some opportunity was missed, some chance to speak of and explore man’s capacity to conceive of and generate a new experience of beauty. IMG_1686

Since the Industrial revolution in our designs it seems that more and more we seek to strip away all that is necessary to pare back and pare back further in our search for the essence of things,  for the purest expression of what is good.

And yet I can’t help thinking that these two seemingly opposite narratives, these journeys on a different map are nothing other than an experience of the different ends of the same telescope, like the difference in expression between the extraordinary richness of the mystical poets of Sufism compared with the incredible emptiness of the sayings of the Zen masters.

So the real question is, what is it that ties these ends together?

– John

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