A house is not useful in its walls, roof, and floors. It is only valuable for the empty space it creates.
The purpose of a doorway isn’t about its frame or arch, however grand or rudimentary it may be. No; the doorway is a passage from one place to another. It’s value is in the possibilities it provides. Without the doorway’s empty space, it’s just a wall.
Without silence, there is no music. Without pause, there is no dialogue. Without the emptiness on a page, there are no words. Without Ozzy, there is no Black Sabbath. Just sayin’.
The application of a cup is not in its material or its shape. It’s about what it can hold. The value is in the empty space and the quality of what fills it. It’s about who and what is in the room and what takes place there. It’s not about the brick and mortar of the corporate building, a dojo, or a studio, but the atmosphere, culture, philosophy, and approach therein. An art gallery is nothing without the art inside.
While the tangible can increase the monetary value of the space it creates, it cannot elevate the quality of whom or what fills it. Oak over pine. Leather instead of cloth. Stone and marble; not plywood and stucco. Craftsmanship and design also play their part. Given the choice, most of us prefer high quality tangibles. Nothing wrong with that. I’ll take a Bentley over a Chevy any day. But … who’s driving?
We have a weird relationship with empty space, don’t we? Even when it comes to time, we want to fill it with busyness. Even when it’s quiet, we put on some music. And it’s Depeche Mode telling us to “Enjoy the Silence”. That’s … not confusing at all.
Instead of focusing on doing, we should learn to embrace and enjoy being. We need to ‘sway through the crowd to an empty space. Thank you, David Bowie. Now that there’s room, “Let’s Dance”.
The empty space is where creativity happens, relationships are made, deals are done, music is created and played, conversations take place, poems are written, and thought manifests into ideas, solutions, and maybe even enlightenment.
It’s where we learn, eat, sleep, relax, read, watch, listen, breathe (metaphorically too), dance, play, gather (not too many), work, and laugh. It’s where we move.
Life is lived in the empty space.
Photo by Jez_Timms on Unsplash