Subtraction

March 12th, 2013 | By

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Walden Cabin

I’ve been motivated by two seemingly unrelated things lately: The Matrix & Henry David Thoreau.

Thoreau talks a lot about simple living. According to him, “the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.” And also, “none can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.”

A true disciple of Thoreau would say that stripping away each unnecessary object and activity from one’s day-to-day life is the fundamental prerequisite to good philosophical thinking. It’s also a prerequisite to creating good art and living the good life.

I agree.

The other day I watched a documentary about The Animatrix and the history of Anime. One of the anime artists that was interviewed talked about how, historically, American art strives to make itself better by adding more and more elements. Japan has a legacy of celebrating minimalism. When a Japanese anime artist tries to improve something, she will usually try to subtract something rather than add.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to subtract unnecessary tasks from my life and live a more simple existence. It feels good. I think it’s making my art better too.

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