Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Invitation to a discussion II:

Interesting and thoughtful comments.

Clearly we agree that the symbolic meaning of the act of "simplicity" is equally if not more valuable than the practical. I thought Thomas' observation that that there is simply more personal steam to be had in, for example, planting a potato for a cause than merely planting a potato--very useful. As well, the magnitude of the cause is related to the magnitude of the psychic energy it engenders. So then, the progression--boating begets sailing, sailing begets sailing without engines and other aids, "real sailing" begets sailing with a purpose of rediscovering traditional lost skills, and this ultimately begets a realization of sailing to discover a lost ideal, a symbol, of a vehicle appropriate for seeking hope and freedom. Of course there's a lot of power to be found in this task.

So, trying to define "simplicity" in terms as well defined as one might with the sailboat, we may need to invent or discover terminology. Two observations: It is clearly fitting and noble to be a first order producer of one's self. This necessitates self-reliance. As well, self-reliance requires simplicity for success, and simplicity in many ways is simply a product of capability and efficiency in living--not so much an end in itself, but simplicity will certainly be indicative of capability, efficiency, and I might also say maturity and nobility--or as engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists might say, elegance.

I find this at the moment a very fruitful consideration. The main observation is that one cannot strive for simplicity--but one can strive for personal effectuality and elegance--and simplicity will be the inevitable result.

Concisely: You can't go live a "simple life." Rather, your life becomes "simple" because of the way you live.

Other thoughts? Agree?


jbs said...

Basically, that's it. More longwindedly--

In a perfect state, every decision would be made with due consideration to "does this outcome make me a better person, or not?" ("Better", of course, being a completely internal condition.. the cosmic custard makes no value judgements). If one lived this way, the result would be an awfully clear, razor-honed, sharp, and admirable, life. My guess is that this life would contain (at least most of) the attributes we are labeling as simple.

What I wonder is, in addition to having those self-relient components, what else would be there? Play a musical instrument? Be a superb tracker of game? Carve elegant statuary? Write poetry? Sail a mean-assed course to weather against a tide? What?? We hear a lot of talk about the richness of biotic diversity-- and that is analagous to the richness of human diversity. To ONLY live simply is to look and act an awful lot alike one's neighbors-- at least within the dictates or limits of one's bio-region.

I think THAT is why I like the internal definition of a quality-life as opposed to an externally applied definition of simplicity-- the former allows for creative ecentricity...

Of course I may be just a few brain cells shy of a deck... ;-)

relee said...

I agree...(that would be the end of my comments if I really had this "simplicity" thing down). Everyone has to figure out what greases their own gears, what they want out of life...seems obvious but most people never ask the question. You have to take the simple step of evaluating the corporate frenzied use of time. Will this rule your life? Can you step out of the expected and ordinary, substitute your own plan for mass conformity? I think simplicity is not just a label but a reward for charting your own course away from the time-stealing, diversionary, seductive buzz of modern life.

That's why I love sailing! It is such an instant connection to nature, one that has been long lost to modern society. I know I am preaching to the choir...Perhaps the KISS principle is worth a tatoo!