Strive For Simplicity, Economise on Energy (2)

© Infrakshun | M.K. Styllinski

“The expression of truth is simplicity.”

— Seneca


Reading time: 20-25 mins

Natural and Common Law

If you’re like me you might ascribe to a universal law that operates outside of human constructs yet gives rise to a specific set of perceptions and values. Natural law is a system of moral justice and balance derived from the cycles and symbols of nature rather than the rules of society. There are inherent rights which exist outside of legislative bodies and the State which are deemed a timeless product of nature and the Divine. Natural Law is a culmination of thousands of years of philosophical inquiry from Taoism to the Stoics and celtic Christian theology. Drawn from generations of common sense experience, the common theme is that morality, ethics and jurisprudence should determine the outcome of disputes and community conflict.

Natural law flows through the dynamics of social groups, how we cooperate and include, when we live and die, who we love and who our friends our; it is our home and our community; the values, virtues and moral autonomy that gives life to art and altruism. It comes about by the process of reason and conscience which determines what is beneficial or destructive to the individual as part of the proper functioning of a community. It is a law that requires us to learn the sometimes subtle difference between that which gives life and creativity or that which sends us down the road to entropy and evil.

Under Natural Law infections of evil are allowed to wither and die by withdrawing energy for their existence. Such entities are not bailed out and propped up – they dismantled, re-envisoned or ignored. This universal standard is as old as human conscience – the wisdom formed through experience. It is a law that transcends time, culture, and government. It is a law that helps to create organic order that is porus and fliexible as well as socially binding. Natural promotes self-responsibility, self-sufficiency and preventative measures when it comes to crime and dysfunction.  It is the judge who discovers the law in common practices which have been deeply ingrained in society.

At its best, it is simplicity in action.

The American legal school of thought called Declarationism believes that the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. constitution are based on Natural Law. However, that initial ideal has now been obscured – if not dissolved – under the heavy weight of amendments by successive administrations under the pay of corporations and antithical ideologies. Equally, one only has to cast an eye over the disease of legalise – American and European – to wonder how it is that anyone understands anything when it comes to civil liberties, family courts and civil actions.

The English legal system of Common Law is similarly rooted in this natural philosophy with its roots in the English Kings’ courts. This older, traditional form of common law is still in operation although, like the U.S. consituition, it has been covered up and camouflaged by modern legislative power which seldom takes into account the old local knowledge and simplicity of the system –  a natural outgrowth of community cohesion.

To a large degree the simplicity of common law is far closer to Natural Law than the legislation and regulations of civil law and the State. It wasn’t perfect by any means. It came into being in a time of brutality, plague and intermittent abejct poverty. But it was the necessisty of survival circumscribed by faith and folklore that our ancestors learned through community interaction and cooperation with a form of social justice that was necessary to preserve the integrity of a hamlet or town, village or commune. The combination of Natural Law and the later emergence of common law integrated early concepts of basic conscience – the platform for morality and ethics. People saw that in order to maintain stability and variability the avoidance of violence; honouring of one’s word; the proper allocation of resources and the awareness of limitation alongside independence offered clear benefits to individuals and the community as a whole.

All this was an implicit and explict understanding of simplicity in action and thereby balance. History and remembered cases of the past played a large part in the decision-making process. As a consequence, contract and property law emerged as a set of guidelines and practices sourced from a set of moral rules and obligations which played an essential part. These were codified into common law as result of centuries of common sense rather than from an impositional book of rules issued by elites divorced from the common man. As we know, civil law has now become an extension of corporatism which benefits the corporate, transnational and banking design and far removed from community, locality and national interests.


“Uniformity in the common law, consisting of broad principles like the “reasonable person” standard, generally permits adjustment for the circumstances. This type of uniform principle is almost synonymous with fairness. Uniform application of a detailed rule, on the other hand, will almost always favor one group over another.”

Philip K. Howard, The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America


Common law is adaptable, consistent and generally fair. It is simple to understand and premised on the most just outcome for all. In that sense, it is not bound by the machinery of the state and its crippling bureaucracy. It can take time to evaluate and interpret its long forgotten rules, but this is because they have been buried under a morass of modern legislation. In practice, difficulties and the vagaries of common law are more easily corrected than the bureaucratic and often corrupt letter of the present.  After all, the normalised self-interest of legislators and regulators frequently diverge from justice as opposed to the interests of common law judges embedded in their locales and communities. Simplicity and common virtue is much more of a factor. But we are only just beginning to look back into our ancestral past to re-claim such a right.

So, why write about Natural and common law? Well, these two are the foundations of a simpler life and the promise not of perfection, but a greater harmony than we have now. Which isn’t saying much. Instead, simplicity has been destroyed through an incremental descent into bureaucratic insanity rooted in too much local, regional regulations and too little at the state and corporate level. This results in ever increasing complexity devoid of creativity, virtue and values.

Which is why Aristotle was so big on simplicity as a pillar of ethical and moral living. And it’s why common law and natural law was at odds with a socio-economic and academic elite who shunned simple wisdom in favour of a learned intellectual pretension and easy ways to fleece the populace. In The Rhetoric & The Poetics of Aristotle we read: “It is this simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences—makes them, as the poets tell us, ‘charm the crowd’s ears more finely.’ Educated men lay down broad general principles; uneducated men argue from common knowledge and draw obvious conclusions.” 

And common knowledge – be it folklore wisdom or the practical experience of apprenticeship – is losing out to the dominance of civil law, welfare state dependence and the overstimulated instincts of mass mind. On top of this, we now have increasingly draconian laws over free speech and personal liberty, not least the rise of the surveillance state. When “obvious conclusions” (simplicity) are not so obvious anymore then you know that it has been supplanted by machine complexity emptied of all meaning…Except that of monetary gain for survival and a means to fill that loss of meaning.

Photo by Michael Gaida | pixabay.com

Bureaucratic Insanity

“Sorry, that’s not our policy.”

“This is in line with government regulations…”

“I’m only doing my job”

“If you refer to our terms and conditions…”

“Please hold the line. Your call is important to us.”

“Please choose one of the following options…”

“That’s what our records show.”

Recognise any of the above? These are the auto-protectors of the bureaucratic machine which act as buffers against moral accountability and necessary criticism.

Lao tzu had something to say about bureaucracy in the Tao te Ching – the antithesis of pathologised complexity:

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become …
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

Such principles of simplicity are not some suprious version of truth but hark back to Natural Law. Its absence in life tells us the use of money, the economy, education, government and just about every facet of our western capitalist system is suffering from an excess of unnecessary complexity. When there is too much complexity  without the capacity to deal with it, a systemic breakdown of societies tends to occur.

A collective Gordian Knot is choking the life out of ordinary people in much the same fashion we meat out institutionalised abuse to animals and the environment. And we have allowed a minority of power-hungry pathocrats to pollute those still waters with tangled weeds of superfluous desires. These have made such huge cracks in the foundations of our psyches that we no longer realise that we are living in a psychopathic dream which has its own designs for long-term adaptability: a globalist vision of “one world” uniformity, confirmity, automation and group-think under the euphemistic memes of technological efficiency and eco-smart empancipation.

Of course, it will be nothing of the kind, but by that time, the only adaptation of our own will be to adjust to social strictures imposed upon us “for our own good.” Meantime, as our standard of living rises, the sources and costs of this progress isn’t going away.

Debt slavery, taxation, waste, greenhouse gases, rent-seeking, inflation and the all time terminal restrictor of bureaucracy are symptoms of rejecting the Natural and Common Law of simplicity. Even now, such a quality seems rather a quaint notion when we look around this rapidly changing world. We are actually becoming more inefficient, ignored and absorbed into a vast field of information and data (the technosphere) in service to its own growth, as an end in itself.  We are subject to its demands at great cost to our own values and virtues, though we seem incapable of seeing it.

We are more connected, yes. But what of the quality of those connections? Are we in fact, more disconnected, de-valued and atomised by artificial intelligence and its algorithmic intermediaries? The absolutism of bureacracy has long since replaced community and common sense. Such hierarchies across education, government, business and social care naturally attract an increasing number of authoritarian followers. This is especially true when society is increasing in material wealth but decreasing in psycho-spiritual awareness.

The vacuum is entropic, thus feeding pathology borne from a loss of meaning and purpose. Bureaucracy melded with technocracy, given its momentum and trajectory by faux social justice, left-liberal, pc authoritarianism and fear-induced religious conservatism is an extremely potent hybrid. It is Orwellian and Huxlyian programming combined to make simple living all but impossible.

Bureaucrats can be found in government, civil, retail, banking, social services and all forms of administration. In fact, anywhere that bureaucracy can potentially thrive. “Service” is actually designed to maintain the machinary of bureaucracy and the status-quo rather than public need. Simplicity, compassion and moral autonomy are shunned in favour of indifference, inflexible, automated rules and small-print policies. Values are meaningless because they cannot be allocated a number on a profit-loss balance sheet or data set. Common sense is absent in favour of pointless complex rules and stipulations which are neither necessary nor helpful other than preventative measures against litigation. Complex jargon and impenetrable terms, conditions and clauses keep the average person as far as possible from the real decision-makers and their accountability.

And when common sense disappears, hierarchical imcompetence replaces it, which is true of all systems which have become pathologised.

Simplicity of exchange is not condusive to the mechanisms which drive the valueless appetite of the technosphere. Efficiency is valuable insofar as it makes the system more inscrutable and unaccountable, whilst making us more depressed, addictive and exhausted.

Bureaucrats service the system. And because they are as distressed as the rest of us, they are often at the sharp end of a vicious and sadistic insanity projected onto those who are least able to handle it. The type of psychological make-up that bureaucratic institutions and departments attract means that strict rules confer a modicum of power on an individual which he wields with impunity and glee.

When life doesn’t make sense and you have neither the will or wit to escape the treadmill such people often choose to exact their suppressed rage on the rest of us. Many enjoy the role some do not. The net result however, is an artificial sincerity and an uncaring demeanour that’s guaranteed to ellicit irritation and rage in response.

It’s a case of the powerless with a little power torturing the powerless with none and revelling in the almost mandatory insanity that defines the rules. As author José Saramago terms it, the worst bureaucrat embodies “half indifference and half malice” which is easily enough to belittle and erode the soul of a nation over time.

Today many of our bureaucratic rules exist to protect shareholders, diversity councils; CEOs, computer data banks and office management infrastructure – not the general public. The more “complex” we become the more infantile and atrophied our abilities to cope with that complexity and inevitable overflow. This is what happens when materialism and technical innovation becomes fetishised and worshipped as the primary giver of meaning; when stress and hopelessness latches onto the most popular ideology of the moment.

Bureaucratic Insanity: The American Bureaucrat’s Decent Into Insanity (2016) by S.J. Kerrigan, is an incisive and chilling portrait of American society cracking under the strain of entirely unnecessary rules and reglulations. It is a tale of “institutional sadism” fear, paranoia, ineptitude and irresponsibility hiding under the catch-all of “zero tolerance” and robotic uniformity.

Some embrace these assigned roles and delight in hive consciousness. For others, it sets them on a path to an early death. It is the roles stamped upon us by Official Culture and the technosphere that piles lie upon lie and causes eventual disease. We accept these inhuman impositions and systems of work because we believe that there is no other choice. When our roles are defined for us from cradle to grave the number of the automaton can seem like the easiest option.

Why struggle against that which is too overwhelming to face? Better to accept servitude and mask our deep dissatisfaction with innumerble distractions.

Rules and limitations are needed. But what have now is a means of control, not of ordered balance.

Referring to the American system, Kerrigan’s writes:

“Our political and judicial systems, once prided for their simplicity, are now bloated well beyond the comprehension of even the most knowledgable lawyers. To understand even a part of how our society functions requires years of schooling and hands-on experience. The practical effect of all this is that much of life has become incomprehensible to us. And if we don’t understand how the world works, how can we hope to find our place in it? […] There is a tendency in the industrialized world, and in the united States in particular, to adhere precisely to the letter of the law over giving precedence to individual autonomy that requires a more nuanced approach to problematic situations. To many Americans, rules have an almost sacred quality; they are not guidelines or suggestions, but dictates that can be reinterpreted only slightly, if at all. Rules, especially written ones, truly do rule life. [1]

And it is the “bureaucratization of the spirit” that succumbs to a crushing homogeneity that suppresses a natural reaction to the repression of creativity and freedom.

There are four common themes the author has recognised apparent in the psychology of bureaucracy and indicative of ponerological infection. Paraphrasing:

  1. Robotic and shallow thought patterns; a tendency toward absolutism – rule enforcers are unwilling to see pertinent details related to the specific situation. Punishments are draconian and out of all proportion to the alleged act.
  2. Unemotional professionalism interrupted by bouts of unseemly self-righteousness – avoidance of any emotion that might offer the light of human decency. Empathy and appeals to contextual understanding are rejected. Putting someone in their place in honour of the Authority takes precedent. And if pathological this becomes enjoyable.
  3. Unquestioning obedience to authority — both to written rules and to a hierarchy – A willingness to escalate otherwise innocuous infractions against the rules. Bureaucrats advance the case up the higher chain of command – be it teacher, social worker, policeman or government official. Satisfaction comes from being cogs in the machine and thus pleasing their departmental authority is a primary driver. Principles are only real if they don’t infringe job security.
  4. Infractions seen as existential threats to the all-important order – the most pernicious and worrying nature of these overreactions occur in educational establishments. Post 9/11 and numerous school shootings along with a rise in the militarisation of law enforcement is creating a climate of instinctual fear and authoritarianism – frequently under the mantle of liberalism and social justice on the one hand and through the rigid absolutism of “zero tolerance” policy on the other. The targets are children’s natural playfulness, age-old traditions and anything which appears to be even slightly “troublesome.”

Rigid absolutism gives a twisted meaning to the meaningless, purpose to the purposeless and energy to a crystallised denial – all of which ultimately ends in spiritual, if not physical death. As Kerrigan describes it: “Since bureaucrats feel that they cannot effectively challenge the myriad of rules dominating their lives, many of them find meaning by faithfully embodying them. Strict interpretation and execution of these rules becomes their identity and a part of their self-esteem.” [2]

And this is the problem. When you habituate and overidentify with the place of work then you are in danger of becoming an active node of its central nervous system. The same principle applies to the rise of totalitarian systems and their spellbinders. It would be impossible without the mass mind tacitly accepting to follow that authority. Which is why societies are socially engineered to make such a transition inevitable.

             Gerd Altmann from Pixabay | Infrakshun

Kerrigan calls such people “robopaths” as distinct from psychopaths. They are the oil that lubricates the emerging totalitarian machine since their thinking and actions are mechanical, devoid of initiative, nuanced feelings and intuition; the rules determine the structure of their lives to the exclusion of all else. Overwhelming fear and repressed rage is redirected toward brutal conformity and the black and white certainty it provides. It is a stance that demands subservience to the authoritarian ideal: to obey. And for that, they deserve our sympathy if nothing else. Think of ants and bees which maintain the overall mindscape. This is drone-like behaviour that’s impossible to dislodge since it is limbic in survival, an industrial strength cement from which edifices of impersonal power-structures are erected. Fear is as hard as any granite but malleable as clay.

Simplicity of mind equates with discernment and discrimination i.e. an ability to decipher objective reality so that creativity is unleashed in line with that which can harbour and expand its influence. Bureaucracy numbs the spirit over time and creates stress and often depression for the workers and those who must abide by its insufferable rules. It is order and structure crystallised into psychic oppression through red tape, regardless of the final product consumed by the mass mind.

Kerrigan states: “As our sense of purpose fades, institutional sadism threatens to become the defining characteristic of our time. Ultimately, it isn’t racism or classism or any other type of “ism” which perpetuates this simmering hostilit, but self-loathing that is the inevitable by-product of a meaningless existence.” [3]

And as we know, the erosion of meaning is the root crisis of our times.

Although the complex reasons why societies collapse is not within the remit of this series, the rise in bureaucratic pathology can be traced back to Western society’s hierarchical mainframe being predisposed to tyranny and ponerisation, something which has been discussed at length in this blog. That doesn’t mean that hierarchies are intrinsically evil – they exist in nature and complex systems generally. Rather, for these structures to function at optimum levels away from the threat of degeneration and co-option, reason must be elevated over feeling and instinct, quality over quantity, self-responsibility over dependancy; individual freedoms over collectives – simplicity over complexity.

Having worked in a variety of office jobs from telemarketing to corporate sales, the charity sector to education I can tell you that 20 years later it is far worse than it ever was.

Whether you are one of those inside the bureaucratic machine or one of the millions on the receiving end of its inefficiencies and/or ideologically-based rules, the more we acquiesce to the wittling away of essential freedoms, the more we invite totalitarianism by stealth. Simplicity will then be seen for what it always was – an entry point into true freedom and spiritual emancipation.

But by then, it will be too late.


Not Known, because not looked for,
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness,
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always —
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)

Little Gidding’, T.S. Eliot (1942)


The Virtues and Voluntaryism of Simplicity

In our contemporary consumerist/technocratic culture goods and possessions are an end in themselves. In Taoist and Buddhist philosophy simplicity concerns the attainment of resources with minimum means and maximum productive effort. It is the quest to balance the input and output of a system with the least expenditure of energy. That energy is then stored for creative use.

It is the exact opposite to our current economic system of consumption, a result of a woeful lack of depth, values and and meta-physical meaning in our education systems.  We do not have any social system at present which elevates human virtue as and end in itself. To do so, we would have to recognise that a harmonious expression of society and culture cannot endure from material acquisition and market-led aims and objectives alone. But this is essentially where we find ourselves.

Virtue is general term for character traits which are recognised as socially productive and desirable. They make success more likely and friendships long-lasting. In other words, to radiate virtue means that life has meaning and purpose because it is tied to an age-old consensus of moral engagement borne from results.  Virtue promotes the protection, conservation and wise management of nature, the animal kingdom and and the human world.

As resources are used unsustainably and built-in obsolescence is accepted (even celebrated) this is essentially the law of entropy. Processes are pre-routed down a narrow track of commercialisation, consolidation, centralisation and thus control (The 4Cs) there is a decreasing capacity for energy to be re-used for other processes. Rather than work simply as the ebb and flow of Natural and Common Law entropic processes literally consume energy for the overarching system itself. And we have become its willing an unwilling drones. Such a system has become normalised and even provided dividends in terms of global health, poverty reduction and sanitation.

But nature tells a different story, acting as a mirror of the psychic health of society which is going down hill fast.

If nature flourishes so do we. If society beomes pathologised then each individual becomes tarnished or effected by this contagion.  We are all, therefore, in this together. And one virtue we must begin to normalise is simplicity.


“voluntary simplicity is not amenable to measurement; it cannot be quantified, as, for example, a certain level of income or a certain number of possessions can be. It is and has always been an attitude of mind, not a prescription of an absolute standard.”

— John Lane, Timless Simplicity (2001)


The traditional Aristotolean virtues extend across every aspect of our urban lives, from housing purchases to transport, food & drink to vactioning. Life becomes a means to exercise greater focus and attention regarding how we use our energy. Traditional virtues of temperance, frugality, prudence and self-control are all bound up in the practice of simplicity, and by extension, pragmatic wisdom.

It’s surely obvious to anyone by now that we not only need to reduce our consumption but reject the very concept of being “consumers”. By that I mean we can attempt to change and provide all manner of material solutions, but unless we alter our perceptions and lifestyles we will all continue to run on the same relentless hedonistic/consumerist treadmill. So reducing our consumption means owning an aim that takes care of it all in one simple package.
We’ll get into this more in the next post but we need some relief from all this bureaucracy so let’s flirt with possibilities:
  • Cook more of our own food and get up to speed on what constitutes a healthy diet.
  • Eat grass-fed meat and organic when the budget allows.
  • Keep an eye out for ethical concerns and good animal husbandry.
  • Keep bees, chickens or goats
  • Make our own tools and household products
  • Turn your hand at pottery, woodwork, arts & crafts.
  • Take control of your finances – buying cheaply and simply doesn’t mean settling for a lower quality – quite the reverse.
  • If we live in rural communities we can buy from local farmers’ markets or farming cooperatives all of which supports farmers and affiliated independent suppliers.
  • If you have a garden, grow your own vegetables. If not, start hydrophonics or window sill veggies. Join the waiting list for your own vegetable allottment or better still join forces to buy your own plot of land.

This is simple living based on a virtues which are applied and tested in daily life. Virtue, morality and simplicity enliven each other. Love of life is the result. But they can only become real when we have the courage and will power to apply it in our own lives. They are vitalised by example otherwise it’s just idealism and theory.

Whenever you follow deeply personal inner urgings which nonetheless reproduce the wisdom of the past, this means you are the real counter-culture revolutionary. You face your own personal revelation and use this energy to construct a mini-culture that is creative in the truest sense because it is borne from inner fire. But don’t forget, as author Mark A. Birch reminds us, simplifying our lives is not such simple process: “The attraction of simplicity is mysterious because it draws us in a completely opposite direction from where the world seems to be going: away from conspicupus display, accumulation, egoism and public visibility — toward a life more silent, humble, transparent, than anything known to the extroverted culture of consumption.” [4]

You don’t have to be in a rural village to do these things. How successful you are depends on how much you are willing to simplify and declutter. (Much more on this in no.23 of 31 Ways Reconnect With Nature later in the series). Living simply and reducing one’s consumption includes whatever enters the mind as well as the body. So voluntarily reducing exposure to TV, radio and film would be a part of that new ethos. Acts of kindness, voluntary work, repairing the guttering, fixing the washer, clearing up your room, your house, flat, studio, garage can all be the symptoms and reflection of prepatory inner work. These focused activities are inherently simple and powerfully therapeutic given the right intention. Through social relationships we find our sense of meaning; our identity, role and purpose in the wider community. When you ignore the games of the power-brokers and social dominators, you redirect your unconscious mind to creative opportunity through autonomy as opposed to the heteronomy of Official Culture and its stressors.


“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility.
Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’”

— Marcus Aurelius


Building our focus and attention on what we need to reduce, and how we need to reduce creates the space which may be filled with the stuff of dreams and long-term visions that endure. Action on material consumption illustrates the process of decrease (Hexagram 41 in The I Ching) as to how to better manage inner resources and wise management of inner ecology. Each should reflect the other. By opening up our lives to discover the simplicity of the sacred space we adopt an aim and process that honours the more Socratic purpose of living in harmony.

We cannot receive that blessing if there is no space within or without.

We cannot welcome simple happiness into our lives if we do not create the inner and outer space to receive it.

Forgetting about seeking happiness comes from simplifying and redirecting our attention; attending to the small stuff and establishing order within our sphere of influence. This is what makes more ambitious aims possible in the future.

Voluntary simplicity naturally traverses a range of philosophers, religious and spiritual traditions, because of course, it would – it’s about living simply with minimum impact on the ecological and psychic environment. From Gandhi to Henry Thoreau and Tolstoy to Epicurus, Confucius and Jesus; Quakerism to the Amish, Luddites to Deep ecologists an infinite stream of beliefs and doctrines understand the wisdom of simplicity as an antidote to chaos. In the 21st Century there is a return to what appears to be culturally invisible but tangible contentment away from retail therapy.

The phrase of “Voluntary simplicity” could have been taken directly from the philosophy of the Tao Te Ching. It was first coined by social philosopher and Gandhian Richard Gregg:

“Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose. Of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might not be relevant to the purpose of another. . . . The degree of simplification is a matter for each individual to settle for himself.” [5]

Taking the philosophical baton from Gregg, Duane Elgin popularised voluntary simplicity in his book of the same name which contributed to the growing resurgence in both off-grid ventures, eco-villages, organic farming and community-based bartering. Simplicity is awakening once again in some unlikely places with permaculture and eco-villages as a primary focus.

Across the globe there are movements and groups adopting principles of simplicity, be it the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Turkey, United States, United Kingdom and Spain which has, after the U.S., the highest number of eco-villages anywhere in the world. Even the disaster that was a monoculture mindset meeting the communities of Ladakh who had been practicing principles of simplicity for more than a thousand years, is now serving as an inspiration for simplicity and perennial wisdom. (See my post on Tibetan Buddhism of the Ladakh: Official Culture Reprise: Moving Away From the Psychopath’s Dream IV)

Whatever label we place on activating simplicity and its virtues – agorism, degrowth, downshifting, off-grid, permaculture – they all have a starting point of decreasing one’s attention back from entropic to co-linear and creative; what functions as a whole rather obessively dissecting the constituent parts and thereby isolating them from synergy.

Simplicity is essence. As such, to adopt a lifestyle that celebrates an eminently self-nourishing state of mind is like waving a red flag toward the instatiable hunger of the technosphere and its bureaucratic psychopathology. This is why C.S. Lewis in the above poem drew our attention to the fact that it costs “less than everything” but may demand payment in advance due to our voluntary rejection of its “consensus.” That’s why simplicity and its virtues requires incremental progress and a moderate structure for change away from that which is alien to soul growth.

In the words of E.M. Schumacher, “small is beautiful” and that includes the seed, its germination and subsequent growth. Remember No. 4 Have an Aim/Objective (1) The AIM > the whole (soul) > the process (personality) > the objectives/goals (applied knowledge) > back to the AIM and an open feedback system of meaning and purpose.

If we want to voluntarily embrace simplicity in the midst of an enforced complexity – we can. That path leads to meaningful relationships with others and greater self-knowledge. But like any garden that’s been overun and neglected it may take some planning and ground preparation before simplicity can flourish.

The seeds however, can be planted right now.

In the next post we’ll look at some of the things we can do to make that a reality.

 


Notes

[1] p.5, S.J. Kerrigan; Bureaucratic Insanity: The American Bureaucrat’s Decent Into Insanity (2016)
[2] Ibid. p.7
[3] Ibid. p.11
[4] Mark A. Burch; Stepping Lightly: Simplicity for People and the Planet (2011)
[5] Richard Gregg; The Value of Voluntary Simplicity Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill, (1936).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.