Sunday, February 08, 2009

Absolute Simplicity, Paramount Difficulty

There is a phrase I've used which has never quite made it to the level of being one of my mantras, but is still endlessly recurring. The exact wording varies according to the situation, but the sentiment is this. Simple doesn't mean easy. It started with a slightly different idea that life is simple, but not easy.

I've been facing the truth of simplicity a lot recently. As I try to make sense of the world with my new awarness of passive indoctrination the simplicity of the incredibly difficult things keeps coming up. I've also found over time that I will complicate things in ways that feel rational in order to make them easier. You can excuse certain things that you know to be wrong in the simple view by taking a complex view, and you'll do this because you're too attached to those things.

It all brings me to a single thought. The thing that is obviously right before you've thought about what's right is right. Physical health is a great example of this. If you think a lot about it you'll get into complex diets, various supplements, obscure rules systems, and a variety of overspecialized exercise routines. The clear obvious solution before you think about anything else is that you should eat healthier and exercise more.

If you're trying to break the influence that TV has over you then you could think about the relative merits of certain shows, you could examine whether you really think that having it as background noise when doing chores is a sign of its influence and you could get into a long discussion about whether Hulu is nearly as bad as regular TV. That's all fine, but none of it will change the simple thought you had at the beginning of all this. If you want to break away from TV, just watch less TV.

If you want to be stronger exercise. If you want to be a better student study more. If you want to know more about a certain subject go learn about it. It's all amazingly simple. It's the simple act of willing yourself to do it that can be incredibly hard.


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