From “Wind, Sand, and Stars” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when the body has been stripped down to its nakedness.

It results from this that perfection of invention touches hands with absence of invention, as if that line which the human I will follow with effortless delight were a line that had not been invented but simply discovered, had in the beginning been hidden by nature and in the end found by the engineer. There is an ancient myth about the image asleep in the block of marble until it is carefully disengaged by the sculptor. The sculptor must himself feel that he is not so much inventing or shaping the curve of breast or shoulder as delivering the image from its prison.

In this spirit do engineers, physicists concerned with thermodynamics, and the swarm of preoccupied draughtsmen tackle their work. In appearance, but only in appearance, they seem to be polishing surfaces and refining away angles, easing this joint or stabilizing that wing, rendering these parts invisible, so that in the end there is no longer a wing hooked to a framework but a form flawless in its perfection, completely disengaged from its matrix, a sort of spontaneous hole, its parts mysteriously fused together and resembling in their unity a poem.

Meanwhile, startling as it is that all visible evidence of invention should have been refined out of this instrument and that there should be delivered to us an object as natural as a pebble polished by the waves, it is equally wonderful that he who uses this instrument should be able to forget that it is a machine.