“More Matter With Less Art”

“More matter with less art.”

Queen Gertrude, speaking to Polonius, in Hamlet (Act 2, scene 2)


TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Specifically, in Act 2, there is long speech by the verbose politician Polonius. Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, quips: “More matter with less art.” She is calling for Polonius to tone down the fancy speech and get to the point.

In both modern times and past cultures, the ability to get to the point is valued but unfortunately underutilized. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Language allows humans a medium of communication unmatched by any other species; however, it also has the potential to create misunderstanding and confusion. Clarity is many times lost in excess.

What is the best strategy to pursue this principle of “more matter with less art”?

How do you remain direct without over-simplification?

Albert Einstein perhaps best describes the optimal approach to answer this question: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Be deliberate in your content and message. Be as specific as possible in your brand. But don’t dumb it down. Be surgical in your commitment to cut out that which lacks value, purpose or breadth.

Let us conclude today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub with a call to action of more substance, less rhetoric! Nothing more.


MEDICINE & MACULA: Here are some images of me using Alcon’s NGENUITY 3D visualization system for removal of epiretinal membrane (ERM, also known as a macular pucker).

An ERM occurs when there is cellular proliferation over the macula. In many instances, this membrane remains mild and does not have any significant effect on the macula or the person’s vision. However, in other cases, membranes become prominent leading to vision loss and metamorphopsia. For visually significant membranes, vitrectomy with membranectomy is needed to remove the proliferative tissue and restore the normal macular anatomy.

The Beaver Dam Eye Study (Ophthalmology 2015;122:787) showed a prevalence for ERM of 34.1% so this is a very common surgery I perform. Above is a high-magnification image of the ERM being removed with microsurgical forceps.


GRATIS: “Less is more.” -Ludwig Mies van der Rohe


My best to you,

David Almeida


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