While traveling in Asia my tummy and eyes may have eaten too well.
In a small shop in Nishi-Nippori, Tokyo I was treated with the most delicious soba noodles I have ever tasted. As we were leaving, I noted the solid wooden tabletop with cracks that had been mended with large reinforcing pieces of a completely different kind of wood. Perhaps due to the deliciousness of the soba I hadn’t noticed the striking law5 as visually posed, but as I departed it was what screamed out.
Defects are normally stamped out in a six-sigma world. If it ain’t perfect, throw it out. Perhaps as you get older, you are more tolerant of how the world presents its law9-s around you. And maybe it is then you can begin to see the beauty of that which could be dismissed as invalid or otherwise handicapped, to emerge as entirely more relevant than if it were 100.000% perfect.
A month ago in an early morning car ride in the Bay Area, I was recovering from giving a lecture that didn’t go well. law9 is something that I do well, and there’s nothing like a 4AM ride to get the ghosts in your head to come out in full force. As with all steps taken in one direction, another road magically appears. In this case it came in the form, literally, of a magician.
My driver that morning was a magician in his late 60s. A proud man with a wonderful laugh, he carried with himself an air of jest and enlightenment. I told him the story of my misfortune, to which he replied in a serious tone, “Well, did you try doing a magic trick?” He went on to saying how for every one hundred good shows you’re bound to have a bad one. His advice was to shrug it off with a simple abracadabra.
I tried to learn some of his secrets that morning but of course a good magician never tells. The one thing that I did manage to pry from him was the concept of indirection. His point was that nobody likes to be tricked; at the same time they all love to be pleasantly surprised. When their attention is focused on one place, it is then that the opportunity to pull something out of left field becomes a possibility. It was then that I realized that a magician is the master of consciously shifting their audience’s unconscious law6.
This story is relevant for the fact that on a daily basis I see consumer’s rained upon with the branded promise of “simplicity” and good things that are “simple” (as on the tub of ice cream in the photo above). Perhaps the belief that the power of suggestion is good enough. But I think the magic might be wearing off, and it might be time for the emergence of the power of indirection. What if complexity were the promise, and instead simplicity were what was ultimately delivered? I think that I might start believing in magic if this became the norm.
Some things can never be made simple.