Modern living is very complex and highly entangled, it is perhaps considered a sign of success to be well connected, to be busy and have loads of social contacts and a big circle of “friends”. One can measure virtual success by the number of followers one has on line and the thumbs ups given therein. This desire to be connected is a major barrier on the road to freedom. Life is hectic and very busy. Unless you are willing to be a yogi in a cave there seems to be no easy to way to change this situation. There is one simple mantra that might help, and this is quality over quantity. One could say that this is a wheat from chaff approach. In our complex modern world, complexity is seen as good. But by the very nature of it, there cannot be found freedom. Spread thin and thereby disperse and dissipated it is nigh on impossible to use one’s energy to obtain even a measure of freedom. By seeking simplicity and reducing the number of contacts that eat time, one can focus and give proper attention to whatever it is one is doing. By not being pulled in all directions it is possible to introduce quality as a guiding concept.
There is a lot of stuff and a lot of people who are not needed and drain, in the lives of most. For some the overarching terror of missing out has them stretched past their elastic limit. Relationships are facile and without depth. It is not possible to address profound questions whilst one is flapping around like a fish caught in the shallows. If one is to seek a measure of freedom, then quite quickly one comes upon the need to make life more simple, less hectic and uncomplicated. It does not need the extreme alluded to above, but I’ll pretty much guarantee that if you reduce the complexity of living you will feel, maybe not initially, but ultimately, more at peace and develop a measure of equanimity. To do this one has to face and overcome this fear of missing out. Constant distraction and involvement in socio-political drama does not bring a calm and measured equanimity. The counter argument is perhaps that multiple contacts and alliances afford freedom, a freedom of choice. Yet a little more careful analysis suggests that an alliance is not free, alliance implies a degree of dependency. The energy needed to sustain all those complex relationships negate one’s freedom, the freedom to be quiet and alone, away from the noise so that one can get a view on life and thereby develop an understanding of it. If life is chock-a-block with perceived devoirs, there is no time left to devote to the understanding of self. All that stimulus causes endless reactions. The draw of sociality eats time faster than a Pac-Man.
What is so very wrong with being simple, straightforward and uncomplicated?
This is a very good question and the sophisticated and successful might think that to even ask such a question is naïve. That it is perhaps backward and uncivilised. The highly politicised world of positional gain and self-advancement holds no truck with sentiments such as this. Life after all is about acquisition, kudos, power and fame. Be clear here, each of us makes choices, one path leads to freedom and the other to “power” of a kind, that kind is material power and not spiritual power. In a very real sense one cannot have material power and freedom in its emptiest, most free sense. If you are interested in material power, what the hell are you doing reading this? Perhaps it has lost its gloss, its allure?
It is an aspect of all development and evolution, that one has to find out for oneself and by oneself. Human nature being what it is, rarely takes advice. Oftentimes it is only when one sees or begins to sense more profoundly that something is not working that any alternative is sought. People, in our times, are overwhelmed by a pseudo-connectivity within the species. In so doing they lose sight of self in the outer presentation and any notion of true nature is abandoned in the needy desire to “fit in”. As ever the common denominator is not all that high, yet for some bizarre reason many seek to be “normal”, to blend chameleon like with the herd. If this is you, then you had better put aside any notion of high level freedom. You might get a little freedom, but not a lot; dependency has you.
Even should you seek to become uncomplicated, society is not keen on you doing this. It does not like the rejection and its normative ethos seeks to corral the wayward. And should you be uncomplicated, society will foist its own complexity in regard of moral and motivations upon you, by means of its perceptual lens. Being complex and full of motivations, it cannot perceive that you are not. It will transfer its “shit” onto you and only see those aspects of you which mirror self. It will imagine and expound upon your motives, even when they aren’t present. It will make up stories so as to cognitively assimilate you within the confines of its world version. Society has a taste for soap opera and will invent a script which bears little resemblance to the actual reality. Where there is no drama, it will attempt to manifest some.
To be uncomplicated is almost beyond the bounds of possibility for those prone to and beset by a love for complexity and intrigue. People are enamoured and hence entranced by interpersonal power dynamics and chicken coop pecking order interpretations. It is very simple, intrigue and freedom, cannot walk hand in hand. One excludes the other, if you are free there is no interest in intrigue, if you love intrigue then you are bound by it. Lasting freedom comes not at the personal and the interpersonal, it is not associated with the soap opera dynamics of the personality.
To be uncomplicated is to approach life as it is and not with the shoe horn of how it should be or according to the dictates of will, how one wants life to be. Life is way bigger than petty human will and to recognise that you cannot have life on your own terms, one cannot dictate to the universe, is a very liberating thing. It removes all that force, all that effort, all those expectations and thereby alleviates suffering and angst. This desire to be something, one is not, leads away from authenticity. Simplicity brings a mental freedom like nothing else. Strangely though in our times it is very difficult to practise this, because the minds of our fellow men do not like to countenance or encompass such a simple this as being uncomplicated. Removing complexity saves energy which can be used in the direction of liberation. Simple really…