The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

When Less is More

There is the great antique store in Long Beach. I mean, this place has more STUFF than I have ever seen located in one location. When I say a lot, I mean a lot. I go there every now and then just to be amazed at the pure artistic calamity that exists within it walls and in its outdoors space. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased anything there, though I have taken a lot of photographs. It’s truly a beautiful chaotic scene.
 
I was in there the other day, doing what I do: walking around and taking it all in. As always, it just amazes me at how much stuff people collect and how what meant so much to someone once upon a time, means nothing to them anymore. Or, maybe they died at their inheritors did not care what they cared about so they tossed their items into the wind.
 
…People collect a lot of stuff.  Each item is perhaps important to them but most likely to no one else.
 
When I was there, I glanced over at some old 78 records. I thought how the music on those records probably brought someone happiness and pleasure once upon a time. Now, most turntables won’t even play 78s. At least not this new generation of turntables designed for those people who want to feel oh so cool as they trip back to a time gone past.
 
I remember when I was young, maybe in 6
th or 7th grade, I was already a bit of an audiophile. Like most kids, I loved the music of my generation and when I had some money, I would purchase a record I liked and play it over and over again on this cheap little plastic record player I had.
 
There was this record store over on 3
rd Street that my friends and I would go into sometimes. They used to have a poster of John and Yoko naked hanging on their wall. As a kid, and part of the counter-culture generation, I found that poster all kinds of rebellious.
 
We were in there with this one friend one day. A friend that was tied to me via the martial arts. He didn’t hold the musical obsession that I and my other friends possessed, however. That day, he expressed his feelings in one short, very Zen, sentence. He said, “The radio is good enough.”
 
Back then, all my being fought against that statement as I wanted to possess the essence and the feeling that was provided by whatever record I hoped to own. It was a something that gave me a something.
 
Throughout the years, since that point, I’ve possessed a lot of music in a lot of formats. I’ve written a lot about how each specific way the music is captured and presented provides the listener with a very unique perspective of sound. I’ve propagated the need to listen for the subtilties.
 
…Anyway, before I get too far off target… Looking at those records in the antique mall, in combination with the massive amount of all the other stuff, and realizing how on my way to that business I was listening to music in my car that came to me via some super eternal substation, calculated and collected via Amazon, to my iPhone, then to my car radio, and finally out through my car speakers. …It just was this weird realization of how all things have become so simple. No longer do you need to own a thing: not a record, not a record player, not a tape, or a tape deck, not a CD, or a CD player. You can get your music via that external space in the sky that no one really understands. You can gain that feeling, that music provides, and not have to buy anything to get it. You can listen to that song that makes you feel that certain kind of way over and over and over again and it’s all free from the buying or owning anything. Well, at least mostly free from the anything, you do need a smart phone or something similar.     
 
So, if you think about it, the world is moving closer to Zen. A place where less is needed to gain and to do more.
 
Think about this the next time you plan to collect some piece of something that no one cares about but you. …Some something that will end up in some antique mall or trash can in the future. Something that only lives to make you and those around you more burdened.
 
Freedom, that is whole and complete onto itself, has become so much easier. Think about it… Maybe it’s time to embrace that Zen of Everything where Less is Actually More.