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Thursday
Feb182016

simple but not simplistic

Now and again I am drawn to things that are over-complicated. I revel, for a while, in their overcomplicatedness and then I find myself thinking: this is bullshit! Simplify your life!

I realised there was a connection between meaning and simplicity. The simpler things are the more the meaning shines through. You can connect to excitement and nature with a motor boat; or you can surf in the sea, or swim. But when your motor boat breaks down you have nothing- you may even have to swim for it to save your own life. Simpler things require less maintainence. In the long run it is maintainence 'costs' that kill us.

Here are a few principles:

1. When it comes to making a decision automatically make the simpler choice.

2. Simplify your immediate living space- and store everything you don't use everyday or for a current project. Things you 'might need' should probably be binned.

3. Simplify your food to that which is in season.

4. Use simplicity as a powerful problem solver- just ask yourself how you can solve the problem at hand RIGHT NOW with whatever is to hand. It may throw up some interesting routes to a solution.

5. Imagine completing the project in just one day- see what ideas crop up as a result of this thought experiment.

6. Simplify your interaction with people by just paying attention to what they say. Try to suspend inference and habitual judgement.

7. Simplify your emotional responses to the world. Suspend taking an emotional stance on things. See if you gain in available energy.

I have always found that on a hike or expedition when I have only a few things I am very well organised and tidy...but put me back in a house or apartment! Of course some people can tolerate more stuff than others. Find your own simplicity level- the point at which you begin to get messy and disorganised. It might be quite low. Cut out things/people/events until you find yourself living at this point.

When you cut things out of your life it is easier to see what is meaningful to you and what isn't. When meaning increases in your life so does motivation- you do more because you want to, not because you are forcing yourself.

I think we'll begin to see that making life simpler, restricting information gluttony and 'stuff', will be the 21st century equivilent of the 20th century discovery that most sugar was poison rather than nutrition.

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