Miracle Seat

image
A wonderful swingset I found

The miracles of life
Coming once in a blue moon
Forever a moment
Forever a piece of time
Nestled in a harmonious state
Escaping the clutches of death
That bind men to mortal status
Ordinary earth dwellings
When the magic fills the air
And Cinderella has until twelve
To live the impossible dream
Go and find the miracle seat
That wisks you away to
Never, never land

But these are just
Empty promises

Empty

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Less is More is Less

Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.

Andrea del Sarto, 1855, by Robert Browning

~~

This excerpt from Robert Browning’s famous poem introduced the less is more view to the world, that to take the minimalists way of thinking is to deliver a far better impact on the audience.

This is definitely true because trying to get a clear and concise message across to the target with only a few words or pictures easily captures their attention and interest and gives the work more meaning.

More does not always make something better; it might actually make it less special and too complex. I feel like we are in an age now where the less is more philosophy is being heavily worshipped. Multiple businesses have gone or have started to go this way. Microsoft recently simplified their whole line of products and services to fit one universal theme: the Metro look of simplicity and elegance. Every icon representing their products and services uses a simple color pattern and a minimalist logo that speaks volumes when targeted to a large audience. The major social networking sites use no more than two colors in their main logos, creating something that can be easily identified and significant. I have even used this approach in my own logo on my blog. MACBOFISBIL ismacbofisbil the “brand” I am trying to sell and having a catchy, easy on the eyes logo (black outlined circle with a stylized ‘M’ over it) helps it become significant and easily recognizable by any readers going to and from my site. I also like the lowercase font approach as well, as in the way ‘macbofisbil’ is stylized on my page. I don’t know, there is just something about it that makes it less intimidating, less formal, and hinting towards a fun and engaging experience.

Let’s say you had a portfolio full of many different images and other works of art. They are all significant and exceptionally made but there are only three that really catch your eye and provide a deeper meaning. The others could be taken away and you would still be satisfied because these three works are special to you. You could even hang them on the wall in frames and admire them all at once; having all of the works framed and walled would take away this simple admiration because some of them would outshine others. This is the less is more philosophy at work. Having less of something proves to be more beneficial.

An article I hit up on the Internet about the less is more approach brought home the concept fantastically for me. It stated the fact that posting a lot of fresh content on a website does not always lead to more page views and likes, contrary to popular wisdom, simply because the quantity factor is ruling over the quality factor. Having less posts that are made with better quality gives the readers a chance to connect with the content more through comments. These well-crafted posts or articles can be appreciated more and sort of be like trophies on a shelf that shine and become timeless. Don’t hastily post something on your website just to have something on there. Or if the cupboard is bare put up something that serves as your ‘centerpiece’ or starting point and build other posts around it that complement and provide structure. Make sure your posts are well-crafted, easily readable, and keep the reader interested. The article also pointed out the notion that we are more organized and thoughtful when we focus on doing less and making it exceptional, instead of doing more and assuming that it will all go to show and people will appreciate it more because there is more.

This is one of the approaches I have taken while blogging for over a year now. Publishing fewer, but more thought out and carefully executed posts goes a much longer way than publishing many but more hastily and half-assed posts that do not have much significance and in the end garner the least attention.

So, take the less is more approach.

You’ll be more happy and satisfied in the end with what is in front of you and how you eventually reach the top of the success ladder (after a couple of falls back to the bottom rung).


Daily Prompt: No Excess

Litmus, Litmus

I have a very small circle of friends. So small, that I’m not even sure there is a circle at all; it might just be people scattered about aimlessly. Not too many new people get in or even stay in it. Only the people I trust very well and can relate to me with unbiased views manage to get a coveted seat in the circle. You might say my circle has nepotism in it – favoring one’s relatives or friends and giving them preferential treatment. There is no application or set of questions to get into my “circle”. You just have to fit in naturally.

After brooding over this a while, I believe there really is no single question I could come up with that would determine whether or not I could be friends with someone. Simply because I can easily tell if someone will be a good friend to me by just looking at them (at least in the physical world – not online). If the person remained kind and loyal to me over a certain period of time, I would eventually come to accept them as my friend. It would be rather easy to see that a friendship wouldn’t work if that person and I just did not get along at all on anything. If there is no harmony or controlled chaos (yes, that is contradictory), then a friendship is highly unlikely.

Based upon my experiences with making friends, I know a good friendship consists of two or more people complementing each other, not exactly being alike but offering something that makes the others constantly improve by evolving ideas and bringing new things to the table. Friendly competitions among the group push each other to new levels that strengthen each person’s knowledge and ingenuity. There are arguments, but eventually everyone agrees on a consensus. A bad friendship doesn’t do that. It involves one another constantly competing with each other and never coming to any agreements, with eventual ideas wilting or only being half-baked.

But you still insist I come up with a question and an appropriate answer to it. Well, it was tough to come up with a selective question because I’ve never needed one in the past but I guess that question would be:

“Can you be similar to me in interests and thoughts, but not too similar that neither of us ever get anywhere or advance each other in terms of knowledge and success?”

And the potential answer from potential friend, after some ponderous thought:

“Well, I’m not sure if both of those parameters can be met perfectly but yes, I’m sure we have many things in common that will put us in harmony but also conflicting viewpoints that will constantly make us want to compete with each other and improve each other’s status. In other words, if I do or say something that you don’t completely go by, we could settle our differences with a little bit of friendly fire, trying to make each other understand that one’s views and decisions are his and are no right or better than others. By having these friendly arguments, we push each other to become better; to refocus our life goals and be better prepared to take on any interpersonal challenge that comes our way. It is a good way to bring up new ideas and decide if they are a good fit or not. Like fusing two elements together, our thoughts and ideas can combine to form something new and remarkable that will benefit both of us and possibly other people”.

Because without a little competition in a friendship, nothing new or exciting can ever come out of it. It will be constantly stuck in neutral, never evolving to allow each other to ascend new heights and become the person they always wanted to be. The answer to my question is not a definitive one and does not have to be that long. I just simply have to know, either in the person’s voice or their body language, that they have the will and motivation to do something interesting and eventful while also pushing me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. Think about how many companies, such as Apple, or bands, such as U2, would have never reached the success they are at right now, if not for a little bit of fighting and disagreeing over things. There has to be that edge that pushes a friendship or partnership past its limits to be able to explore new possibilities.


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Litmus Test

Eudaimonia

Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers of western philosophy, taught us that happiness is a virtue, not its reward. This means that happiness is a gift that is not to be taken for granted. It is the ultimate purpose of our existence. It does not come and vanish in a mere couple of hours. Happiness depends on ourselves. We choose to be happy. Aristotle gave a true definition of happiness:

…the function of man is to live a certain kind of life, and this activity implies a rational principle, and the function of a good man is the good and noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed it is performed in accord with the appropriate excellence: if this is the case, then happiness turns out to be an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue. (Nicomachean Ethics, 1098a13)

Am I a good judge of other people’s happiness? That depends. I don’t know if I’m truly happy myself. My self-absorption clouds my judgment, I can’t look past my inner demons to realize others are facing predicaments that question the nature of their existence. This is tough. I am more inclined in seeing the sadness in people. Since I am a loner and often have depressive states, seeing people on a level of my own makes me feel better because I know they have something in common with me: this insurmountable wall that I cannot seem to get over. But I feel safer on the other side anyway because I don’t have to face my struggles with human interaction and emotion. Stepping out into the light bothers me. I feel better being isolated and not having to win the acceptance of someone else because when I fail at that I often become even more depressed.

I close my eyes for a while, trying to think of a time when I knew someone was happy. For some reason, my late grandmother comes to mind. I am standing by her bedside, seeing her lying there, pale and cold as ever, holding on to her last few breaths of life. She has lost all focus of the world and her words and actions are not entirely hers, coming about from the Alzheimer’s that has progressed ruthlessly. I can tell she is happy and content inside, even if it isn’t readily apparent, because very soon she will be going to a better place, away from the agony and suffering that has been cast upon her. This is not like her. She has always been a strong woman, always alert and on her feet. I hate to see her struggle like this, acting like a totally different person and scaring me. I can tell she doesn’t want to go through with this sickness any longer, wants to rest in peace, be in a state of happiness. A deep depression washes over me. My mind is numb as ice. I can’t quite decipher any emotions for this experience. I guess I just realize dying is the natural part of life and learn to get over it. Grieving is painful. I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m trapped in my mind. Nothing can get out. It is a dark void. There is no where to go but straight. Behind me is just the shadows of despair. The road is foggy up ahead. I am so young, unable to take the burden of this loss.

I’m tired. I can’t go on any longer.


 In Response to the Daily Prompt: Happy Radars