The Empty Space 間

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2 min readApr 17, 2022


On this day when people worldwide celebrate the empty grave, I’m reminded of the importance of empty space. In Japan, they have a word for it — MA (“maah”) — and the concept is ingrained into almost everything in Japanese culture.

  • When the gardener prunes a tree, to allow space between the leaves, to let it breathe, it has meaning.
  • When a worker takes a break in the middle of a busy day, to go to a quiet place, to drink tea, it has meaning.
  • When kids are taught to bow, they are instructed to deliberately pause at the end of the bow before they come back up, to create enough MA in the bow, to give it meaning.
  • When a karate fighter keeps a safe distance from his opponent, to defend agains kicks and strikes, it has meaning.
  • When a bird pauses between notes of a beautiful song, to communicate and lift spirits, it has meaning.

In American culture we have neither word nor concept. We can’t park our cars inside our garages because our garages are so filled with stuff that doesn’t fit in the house. We don’t pause in speech because silence is uncomfortable. A good meal is one with no space left on the plate. We embrace fullness, with no empty space to define, make special, or give meaning.

Americans could use some MA.

Antoine De Saint Exupery, the French poet said, “perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Zcash is poetic, perfect, and powerful, not because there is nothing left to add, but because MA is at the core. There is empty space built into the Zcash blockchain. Take a look at a transaction that uses zero knowledge proofs.

Do you notice the MA? A fully shielded Zcash transaction shows emptiness where you would normally find transaction details such as amount or sender address or receiver address. If you look up a shielded balance, you won’t see an amount. You will see MA. The information not there makes what is there, what is important, what is relevant, all the more meaningful.

MA is filled with nothing but energy and potential and freedom. It speaks of silence rather than sound.

Zcash is beautiful because it has MA 間.



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