Saturday, March 26, 2011

The value of simplicity

Some of you know that I once taught algebra as my means of paying the rent and so you can see why the following appeals to me:

I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.

- Henry David Thoreau

Meditation, especially insight meditation, truly does help us with this simplification process.


  1. I dunno tho, if my little brain wasn't attuned to trivia, would I have noticed the blue tit that flew up outside the window and perched there for a moment on the electrical lines earlier today? in other words, a brief moment of gorgeous beauty? I don't know. :( Isn't the strength of our brains also weakness and vice versa? Feel free to argue.

  2. Hmmm. Well, I guess I wouldn't think of noticing a delightful little blue tit as trivial!

    I guess this passage by Thoreau appealed to me because I often have people who come talk to me get really caught up in making their situation too complicated or they get so involved in the complexities of certain predicaments that they can't even take the first step in sorting matters out.

    And remember that Thoreau, of all people, would have appreciated the birds!


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