Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Matthew E. May wrote a book called In Pursuit of Elegance. I turn to it often to readjust crippled thinking. He defines elegance as having Simplicity, Seduction, Sustainability, and Subtraction.

It is a fun exercise to think up different scenarios or experiences that could be elegant. How could this system or institution be elegant?  How could my life be?

I like his writing and the way his brain works. He also dialogues, which is fun! The other day on twitter, I tweeted something about his definition of elegance, pertaining to something specific. Within minutes he responded with this:

Cool! Sometimes easier to describe what it (elegance) isn't: confusing, wasteful, ineffective, unnatural, hard to use, hazardous, ugly.

It could be a consuming passion to pursue elegance on every front. Be elegant. Have elegance. Create elegance. Search out the elegant. Crave elegance. Live elegantly.

I've mentioned it before; it is a great paradigm shifting sort of book if you're needing a refreshing tweek.


Joyce Wycoff said...

I really like carrying around "elegance" today and finding ways to bring it to life. Thanks for this.

Maureen said...

Perhaps not describe but certainly elegance of seeing:

-- a line on paper
-- a hand whose fingers are long and tapered
-- a way of walking
-- the balance of a burden on the head
-- the body of an Ethiopian woman
-- the image in a photographer's eye

And, as you note, a way of being.

Anonymous said...

late 15c., from M.Fr. élégant (15c.), from L. elegantem (nom. elegans) "choice, fine, tasteful," prp. of eligere "select with care, choose." Elegans was originally a term of reproach, "dainty, fastidious;" the notion of "tastefully refined" emerged in classical Latin.
i find the word interestng.
and i especially like the part "select with care, choose" in the etymology above.

Cassandra Frear said...

I like this.

Heaven will be elegant. Our longing for elegance is a longing for heaven.

What could be more elegant than a bird in flight? And so we shall -- fly away and be where every little thing is perfect.

S. Etole said...

Sometimes the most elegant things are the very simple things ...

Kathleen Overby said...

Susan, Cassandra, Nancy, Maureen, and Joyce ~ I like what you added. Thanx.