This thought provoking TED talk by writer Pico Iyer reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from the Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu, Chapter 11, translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English):

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the centre hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.