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Simplicity

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    [JUSTIFY]Right from my young age what attracted me the most among the qualities of human beings is their simplicity. That attitude developed stronger as I grew up and watched my dad leading a very simple life despite his knowledge and family background. His dad was a principal of an Engineering college and he was instrumental in shaping several engineers throughout his career. I was born after my grandfather’s death but still I heard so much about him. I am sure my dad might have heard several praises about his dad all his life yet he led a simple life as taught by my grandfather.

    In a competitive world, it is very important to sell ourselves so much in every possible opportunity and I was wondering how my dad and grand dad were so successful despite being so simple all their life and let their respective life speak volume about them more than their words. As I spent more time analyzing their life, I discovered an important difference between being successful and being simple. Being successful is all about setting very high standards for ourselves and live-up to those standards while working hard to lower our expectations of results. Being simple is a way of leading our life to maximize our peace and happiness and not about proving a point to anyone else outside of us.

    When I carefully analyzed the accomplishments of researchers and scientists, all they have done is to find a simple way to explain a phenomenon or make a product work for the benefit of a common man. It is the complexity in our thinking, talking and acting that makes life way too complex for us as well as for others. When I simplify all my thoughts, it becomes easily executable. If my objective is to get my son married, all I need to do is to find out what would make him and his fiancee happy together. Any other criteria I fix assuming his thoughts would only produce disastrous results.

    I realized that most of the time, my communication with others complicated mine as well as others’ lives. In simple terms, I realize that I had to work toward simplifying my communication whether it is verbal or written. My communicating is to make others understand it quickly and easily without wasting much time. If others don’t understand my communication, the fault is not at the receiving end but it is in my delivery system. For example, if I need to understand what are the plans of my son for his future, all I need to ask him is just that. Sometimes, it might be evolving as he makes progress in his life. I should not try to spoon feed him about various steps involved as he has a mind of his own. I can simply collect his goal and breakdown myself into various steps and if he seeks advice from me on any of these steps, I could offer my thoughts in simple terms. I should not be asking him 100 questions to understand his execution model as it is difficult for him to explain all his thoughts into verbal form.

    Many times, my actions are way to complex and I work all the time to simplify my actions. If I have too much to do when I wake up in the morning, I ended up spending considerable amount of time thinking, planning and analyzing what is critical and projecting what would happen if I fail to do some of them. Instead, I should have a list in front of me and identify the critical ones and start working on them. Everyone knows I can only work on one thing at a time and many times some of my actions items would resolve on its own.

    Even before I think, talk and act, I always think about simplifying each one of them. Simplifying my thoughts makes so much space in my mind without peripheral thoughts that would constantly make “What if” analysis. If my communication is simple and direct, my wife need not worry about what I have in mind when I asked a question to her. If I act simple, every day is extremely pleasant. Simplicity is a way of life and one has to experience it to understand what it does to one’s life.
    [/JUSTIFY]
     
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  2. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Viswa

    You should have titled this as ‘Complexity simplified!’ A nice, interesting take on the virtues of being simple. Complicating our thinking process is a way of life particularly in these parts of the world! We even talk of touching our nose by taking our hand round the head! Complicating matters is a quality that we have inherited from the gods! All those Avatars were necessitated simply because gods granted indiscriminately some very complicated boons to their Bhaktas who,armed with all such boons, became a threat to gods themselves! Some of the boons were as complicated as protection from death in the hands of an animal or a human, either at day or at night, either on the ground or in air and so on! When the recipient of this boon became a menace to all life, God had to manifest from a pillar at Pradosha Kala in half animal, half human form and kill the Asura by keeping him on His lap! The way boons are being granted, you would think that gods would need a computer to work out the permutations and combinations of getting out of all the mess caused by their boons! On another occasion, Lord Narayana had to assume a feminine form to extricate Lord Siva from the mess of His boon to Basmasura!

    There are many who think that an interesting life is one in which complex situations keep developing relentlessly as in a mega serial. Simplicity is a synonym for ennui for them. Looking at the happenings in the misty Devaloka where the inmates are treated to a 24x7 dancing sessions, I too tend to agree with this view. But then the capacity to withstand difficult situations being a highly variable factor, it is difficult to pin point an ideal ratio of simple and complex situations in life. For example, for someone who is allergic even to roads with potholes, a man walking across the Niagara on a piece of rope would be a mad cap.

    Again, age is another factor that has a great say in these matters. At 70, I am now all for simplicity but some thirty years back, I was prone to take a lot more risks. Similarly, the times that we live in also has a role in moulding our mindset. Our grandparents could afford to be an epitome of simplicity as life in those days gave them very limited scope for adventures. I remember that a cousin of mine who went to London to pursue higher studies in the ‘40s was great news in my family circles and when he promptly married an English woman, all the flies in the neighbourhood had free access to the open mouths for months together! That was a very complex situation those days but now it is such a common scenario!

    Simplicity of expression is again a matter where the nature of profession determines its desirability. In jobs where a direct, simple and hard hitting expression is highly preferred, long and winding speeches will only complicate matters. A deft magician on the other hand has to keep talking incessantly to divert people’s attention! All this drivel may not have given you any clue about what my own thinking in this matter is. That is the very purpose of this long reply!
    Sri
     
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  3. Aspire

    Aspire Gold IL'ite

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    Interesting post!

    We learn many lessons of life. Many from small things/events which we already know but in the grind of life we often ignore.

    How we convey information (communicate) plays an important aspect for another's understanding and the assumption that what we communicate will reach them. :)

    For example, say, somebody has never seen an apple. The said person can never visualise apple and he/she has absolutely no idea about apple. This implies the said person has no information regarding the apple. If one talks to this person about apple or give an apple, he/she will have no clue, unless somebody has already told him/her about apple properties. :)

    I remember this dialogue/quote from the movie Bawarchi, "It is so simple to be happy but it is so difficult to be simple!"

    Which makes me feel, simplicity is not so simple. :)
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya Sir,

    Thank you for your first response to this post. You perhaps wanted me to know what simplicity really is by providing a most complex set of examples cleverly disguising what your real opinion is about simplicity. However, I have to admit your actions such as responses to ILites, your approach to explaining a phenomenon in your posts and FBs, your liberal appreciation of fellow ILites for their wonderful presentations, your voicing of disagreements in a simple manner for the opinion expressed by me, etc. clearly provide insight into your simplicity.

    I tried to simplify the content and here is what I understood:

    1) Complicating matters is a quality that we have inherited from the gods

    2) Simplicity is a synonym for ennui for many people

    3) Age and changing world are responsible for complexity in life

    You have given two examples of Narasimha and Mohini Avatars for complexity introduced by Gods. You have stated that Gods introduced complexity by giving complicated boons. You missed one step here and it is the Asura's mind which assumed knowledge of elimination of possible death by analyzing what are the possible ways one could die. If they asked "I should become immortal", perhaps, it would have been granted. Much to the benefit of the world, Asura's asked for a complex boon which was granted and while granting, God already knew what was not included and hence granted the boon with a smile.

    In the second example you have given, you said for an ordinary person is unable to withstand the strain of potholes in the road, the walk on the rope across Niagara is far from reach. In both cases, the objective is to reach the other end. If the commuter thinks of the destination, potholes becomes immaterial and similarly, if the adventurous individual who walks on the rope above the Niagara Falls instead of thinking of other end of the rope decides to think about the enormity of the fall into Niagara, his concentration gets distorted. We can simplify an action into multiple processes to avoid any negative consequences but should not think of it when it is under execution.

    Your third example described there was no adventure for our grandparents. Those days change from norms is news whereas it has become a routine nowadays. They did not have technology to support their lives and still they led very successful life by taking risks and managing their thoughts, words and actions through simplicity. They communicated effectively in a post card. Their thoughts and actions are driven by simplicity as to how they could establish wonderful relationship with their grandchildren and utilized their time well when they get an opportunity to spend time with them. They invited all grandchildren to come to the village so that they could spend exclusive time with them for months. They did not allow the parents' influence over children affect their relationship with their grandchildren and never got into trouble with their own children. They led a natural healthy life in villages as opposed to maintained and managed health by us these days in the cities. They had a simple view of the world and focused on good health, enjoyment with contentment and longevity with independence.

    Viswa
     
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  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Aspire,

    Thank you for reading and responding to this post. Simplicity is a way of life that can be achieved only by practicing it every day. Simplicity by nature is not complex to achieve. In every complex situation we face in life, there is a simple solution. How we make effort to see it varies depending upon our environment, circumstances and our thinking. Our reactions to situations is very important factor in determining how complex we would make it to be. A clear mind would see the simple solution.

    Every invention in this world is about simplifying how to explain a phenomenon or how to make something work in a simple way. Even in spiritual life, if we think of what are the endless things that I need to eliminate for me to be Christ conscious, the enormity hits me and get me grounded. Instead if I think of Christ consciousness as a goal, I can eliminate one at a time and keep walking towards that goal. The prism through which we look things make it simple or complex.

    Viswa
     
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  6. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    My dear Viswa
    It is quite obvious that the inscrutable ways of God are not as inscrutable to you as they are to me! But an Asura’s mind is not as inscrutable to me as the ways of God. Asuras never believed in things like immortality as they had total belief in the mortality of all living beings. Why would they want to ask for immortality and live an eternally invisible life without all the fun and frolic of the ways of flesh? They just wanted a life which would never end so that they could explore all the physical joys that lay beyond the utmost bounds of human thought. With this in view, they sought permanency of life, not immortality, by seeking boons that gave them a chance to get it. Further it was beyond even the gods to grant a boon that directly sought deathlessness as it was the law of the divine that all life should cease in course of time. They had no power to rescind it save in rare cases like Markandeya and Dhruva. But then the Asuras were not interested in living the kind of life that Markandeya lived sans all the pleasures of the flesh.


    Coming to the second example, I mentioned it merely to point out that too much orientation to simplicity robbed us of the spirit of adventure. The simplicity-orientation forces us to pursue only an uncomplicated life so that living does not become a strain on us so that the mind can be directed to more creative pursuits. Perhaps I did not make myself clear in this example because of its complicated nature!

    Coming to the third example, I have become a grandparent of children who have greater scope for complicating their lives compared to me! I shudder at this very thought. I see my daughter working herself sick when her son who is a third year Medical student does not return home till the wee hours of the morning on a holiday. This makes me think that our days were far less complicated as we never had a chance to give such worries to our parents!
    Sri
     
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  7. Aspire

    Aspire Gold IL'ite

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    You are correct Mitra.

    It is not something difficult to achieve, it needs the "learning to let go" of complexity which would enable each one of us to move towards simplicity and this needs "awareness" :)
     
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  8. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Aspire,

    Somehow, I missed responding to your thoughts. Awareness is the key for to achieve simplicity and there is no question whatsoever. Every invention in this world is nothing but a truth expressed in simplest a fashion. As you rightly said there should be a motivation to let go the complexity in life.

    Viswa
     
  9. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Viswa, Homo Sapiens is the most complex of species. And for man, being simple is very complicated. Simplicity is a sign of refinement. The more simple you are the more reined you are in every way. But one should not end up being a simpleton and make things simplistic instead of simple.
     
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  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balajee,

    I enjoyed reading your interesting observation. You are right about being simple is different from making things simplistic. Leading a simple life is more of a habit. It is an art of living.

    Viswa
     

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