Wednesday, 27 January 2010

“Simple Things Amuse Simple Minds”

Despite this well known axiom, as I grow older I am becoming increasingly aware that simple is best. If we can keep things simple, not only do we reduce the possibility of misunderstanding for ourselves but we do so for others too. Human beings have an almost compulsive desire to complicate matters. It is as though we feel if a thing is too simple there must be some fault with it. As a consequence, we often add such complications to an otherwise simple matter that it becomes almost incomprehensible.

If we examine for a moment the manner in which scientists, for instance, have discovered so much about how things work in nature and in our physical bodies, we will discover that even the most complex function in the human body, has to be reduced to its simplest terms first before it can be fully understood. The intricacies of the human body begin with the fusion of egg and sperm and the subsequent division of cells over and over again until the wonder that is each one of us physically is created. It saddens me therefore, that scientists then try to complicate things for the rest of us, presumably to create a mystique that protects the reverence in which many people hold them.

To find out the meaning of a message in an unknown tongue, it is necessary first to analyse it in detail and reduce it to its simplest form. One needs to discover which symbols are commonly repeated and compare those with languages that we understand and from there gradually build up the meaning of the complete text. It took many years to decipher Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and indeed it only became possible with the unearthing of the Rosetta Stone that contained some information that was known for certain. This enabled the whole meaning of hieroglyphic imagery to be deciphered.

Always, to understand the complex, we must find a way to reduce it to simple terms and build from there. Try to understand the complicated end-product as it appears and we find ourselves baffled. Nowhere has humanity complicated matters and produced more misunderstanding and confusion, than in the matter of religion. Here we began with the greatest simplicity; all the great prophets and teachers stress the vital importance of simplicity and the religions founded in their names all begin as simple belief systems, easily understood by all. It is only later that complications are introduced in the form of dogma and creed. This gives those “in the know” great power and influence over the uninitiated. As it stands, all the leading religions in the world are only understood in part by the majority of their followers. The leaders have built up such a complicated body of theology that only those specially trained at universities can penetrate the inner meanings of it.

The desire to dominate and control other people runs strongly through humanity and one of the most effective means of exercising such control and domination is to create a body of knowledge that is so complex that years of study and training are needed to fully understand what is meant by it. The relatively few people willing to spend the time and effort to become so trained thus become very powerful. If you can add to that a mystique that the rules, far from being invented by power-hungry zealots, were in fact given to some specially chosen acolyte by an all-powerful god, then you have a truly potent mixture. A mixture designed to enable a few initiates to manipulate whole populations. This I believe demonstrates the almost hypnotic attraction of complexity, particularly to science and religion. Ancient races had a much more simple approach to life and its mysteries as Alexander Pope illustrated so clearly in the following extract from his “Essay of Man”:

Lo, the poor Indian! Whose untutored mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears Him in the wind;
His soul, proud Science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk, or milky way;
Yet simple Nature to his hope has given,
Behind the cloud-topped hill, an humbler heaven;
Some safer world in depth of woods embraced,
Some happier island in the watery waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiend torments, no Christians thirst for gold.
To Be, contents his natural desire,
He asks no Angel’s wing, no seraph’s fire;
But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.

As Jesus of Nazareth taught in his simple exposition of the spiritual nature of humanity;

“Unless you become as a child, you can never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Surely there is no more articulate way of telling us to keep life simple?

1 comment:

  1. Amen.......

    For me, "the simpler life became the more life became".......

    And as The Hopi peoples of Arizona, i also believe that "A Simple and Spiritual Life is the only Life that will survive".......

    A belief which i believe to be in perfect harmony with The Teachings and The Life example of the One called The Messiah. And The Messiah's Teachings and Life were given Him by Our Father(Creator), HE WHO is The Only True G-D.......

    And i select "none of the above" when given a list of the religious systems of this world to select from, for i believe "religion", of any flavor, is anti-messiah.......

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world and it's systems of relgion, for "the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the oontrol of the evil one"(1JN5:19)....... francis