Living Simply vis-a-vis Simplemindedness

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In a preceding post, I established that ‘Living Simply’ boils down to arrival at overarching principles, which guide decisions, actions, and ‘choice of activities’ in every feasible facet of life.

In that discussion, with ‘Acts of Love’ having characterization as ‘Acts that Improve Welfare’, I proposed the following rubric as an overarching principle for facilitation of Living Simply.

To Live Simply is to spend all of one’s time in:

Conception of Acts of Love that are designed for benefit of oneself and others, and that are to be implemented in future;

Formulation of previously conceived Acts of Love into Concrete Steps that facilitate implementation;

and Implementation of previously conceived, and formulated Acts of Love.

Universality of applicability of trio of Conception, Formulation, and Implementation is evident in several spheres of life.

In Manufacturing, an Invention equates to a Conception; Prototyping of the invention correlates with Formulation; and Production of the invention is equivalent of Implementation.

In same vein, consider a designer of dresses. The acquisition of a specific dress material is predicated on some Conception that transpires in the mind of the designer. Acquisition equates to conception, because not all textiles are suited to the specific design for a dress.

When the designer begins to cut up a textile acquisition, he or she Formulates intent of purchase of the textile. When the finished dress fits snugly and beautifully on the body of a client, intent of the Conception is established. For arrival at this end outcome, all of the formulations of the textile are sewn into one dress in context of Implementation of the specific design for the dress.

Clearly, as defined, Living Simply does not equate to Simplemindedness. But what then is Simplemindedness?

I Illustrate

In ancient times, based on their observations, the ancients assumed the earth was at center of its solar system, as such believed the sun and the planets all rotated around the earth. Even Aristotle the wise philosopher believed the earth to reside at center of its solar system. The reasoning, of course, was simple, namely, the theory accorded with what seemed to be observed, namely ‘seeming movement of the sun in relation to the earth’.

But then, came along Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo Galilei, all of whom, using tools of Mathematics progressively arrived at the insight that the sun resided at the center of the solar system, with outcome the Earth and the other planets revolve around the sun.

The seeming movement of the sun? The sort of parallax induced whenever two bodies that differ significantly in size and in the speed of their movements move in relation to one another — a parallax since convincingly explained by combination of Mathematical and Physical laws.

While it is true that ignorance is not simplemindedness, it simultaneously is true that absence of desire for insight into true essence of things has character of simplemindedness. A person who does not care for insights into true essence of things asserts he or she seeks to avoid any complexities that can arise out of having to act on any new insights that derive from a search for true essence of things.

For illustration, consider a detective investigating a murder. Typically, there exists an obvious suspect, that is, the simple theory. More often than not, the obvious suspect does not turn out to be the murderer, meaning absent willingness to embark on a search for the true nature of things, a detective is unable to move beyond the obvious suspect — the simple theory — for arrival at the more sophisticated theory that exposes the real murderer.

All of the Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca etc. believed in nobility of searches for true essence of things.

In this respect, all believed that philosophy is not just some abstract occupation of the mind, but rather that intent of philosophy is a search for the right way to live. In context of this view of philosophy, every person owes it to himself or herself to ask the question:

It is straightforward to see that philosophy is, in essence, an activity whose focus is discovery of overarching principles that facilitate ‘how to live’, equivalently, ‘Living Simply’.

We find then that we come full circle, are able to conclude that one surefire path to avoidance of simplemindedness is to care about, and embark on searches for principles that facilitate ‘Living Simply’.

Living Simply can, much as it did subsequent to Galileo’s work, induce increase to complexity of activities, that is, induce interest in navigation of the universe.

When Earth seemed to reside at center of the solar system, man felt important, could not fathom any rationale for attempts at navigation of the universe. Consequent on the discovery that Earth merely is a small piece of the universe, man’s curiosity for navigation of the universe received an awakening.

You see then that Living Simply is not about avoidance of complexity, rather is about arrival at principles that always can be applied towards navigation of any increase to complexity of life.

If we seek not to be simpleminded, with outcome we have capacity for embracing of any increase to complexity of activities that is rooted in truths or discoveries that are more sophisticated than those hitherto entertained, it all commences with genuine interest in discovery of overarching principles that facilitate ‘Living Simply’.

Written by

Educator and Researcher, Believer in Spirituality, Life is serious business, but we all are pilgrims so I write about important stuff with empathy and ethos

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