Why Simplicity is the Answer to Counter Complexity

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

The world is increasingly complicated. This increased complexity is not helped by the fact that people are less aware of simple principles and simple practices. Simplicity is often overlooked, and yet simplicity is exactly the thing that tends to be effortlessly helpful and near endlessly applicable in situations of complexity. Complexity normally has limited applicability, while simplicity normally has unlimited applicability.

Complex principles and practices are as difficult to stand on as clouds and tend to result in clouded situations instead of clarity. Simple principles and practices, on the other hand, provide a great base to develop on, near endlessly. Complexity is often pursued because in the design of the status quo, complex practices and principles offer a quick means to ends, a way to win money.

The results of complex pursuits are complex problems. Simple pursuits do not result in complex problems. It’s not simplicity that blossoms from complexity, only more complexity. Simplicity blossoms from simplicity, as does our potential ability to solve complex problems.

The unsustainable status quo of humanity is illustrated in the allegory of the islander who leaves home. The proverbial ‘go-getter’ islander leaves home aiming to gain enough money to purchase an island home – but when he finally returns, the island has changed due to aggregate complexity. His island is no longer the same. Simplicity would have been remaining on the island or going to a different island to find work and a home there.

Why Do We Prefer Complexity?

Simply put, because complexity is more profitable than simplicity.

All too frequently simplicity is overlooked because the most profitable pursuits in an unsustainable world are complicated. Simplicity is often an intangible quality, whereas complexity yields mostly tangible quantities. This distinction makes complexity a preferable pursuit to win money. Many also find it preferable to stay busy with quantifying things, rather than performing sometimes uncomfortable qualitative inner work.

Sometimes complexity is preferred because complexity profits, and sometimes complexity is preferred because it is a distraction, a way to keep our attention on obtaining stuff rather than paying attention to our own inner stuff, rather than performing the difficult duty of performing the great work; the inner work.

This has resulted in many sensible systems, ideas, truth and fairness, and even the ability to obtain clean water on whole continents, being left behind in favour of complex profitable means with complex and dire results.

Truth and Fairness Suffer Under Complexity

Truth and fairness have been removed and shifted in order to uphold the profitability of various complexities globally. Sometimes we learn about these transgressions of truth and fairness, sometimes we do not, even though we are living through their consequence. The energy oligarchies and related institutions are among the most obviously guilty of gross lying about destructive actions with endless complex consequences.

Truth and fairness are generally overlooked in relation to gaining means towards ends. People will boldly exclaim that they are conducting their business for profit. Hardly any proclaim their pursuit of truth and fairness. We, collectively, presume most all other institutional functions are formed in order to profit, truth and fairness be damned. And it is apparent, clean water be damned. In fact, we have allowed some of the most preposterous greedy pursuits to infiltrate the institutions we trust with our maintenance, healing, and social development worldwide.

How Complexity Subdues Individuality

The majority prefer complexity and artificiality due to bureaucratic training. We end up institutionalized, in one form of survival mode or another, where questioning beyond the status quo is outside our scope. Seeking individuation or self-development is hardly considered. Most prefer not to think much and not to think much differently than the majority. The impulse to not think much and not think much differently are institutionally pushed from Beijing to London. Alternative and critical thinking has been continuously subtly punished, and is increasingly overtly punished. We are institutionalized to the point where we accept systems of individual detriment in order to progress institutional development. This is evidence of how we have been manipulated. This thinking must be removed for our collective good.

“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” ~ Bruce Lee

To not question and not reason goes against our true nature. Asking ‘why’ repeatedly and near obsessively is perhaps distinct in human nature. It is our first impulse when we first are capable of communication. Following complexity and artificiality without question requires us to have been immersed in it to the point that we do not notice what is around us. Institutionalization rather than individuation damages and degrades the psyche to the point we do not observe self nor surroundings.

In this increasingly complex world we are trained to not consider, to not reason, and to not seek truth. We are further repetitively steered to think not as individuals, but as institutions, and perform all sorts of work which builds institutions, and not our own individuation.

Humanity’s Inhumanity Arises from Complexity

There are many ways humanity is steered to be inhumane, but a large portion of it all can be understood as the removal of, or distortion of, simplicity. If we stand on simple principles we are not so easily steered off base. When we know a few simple practices we are not so easily tricked with proverbial carrots on strings. If on the other hand we are immersed in complexity without principled roots and steady development practices, we easily topple to the winds of institutional and artificial influences.

Planetary pollution is the most blatant outcome of a complex world which lacks a majority of reasoned individuals. The artificiality destroying the planet and transforming ecosystems into lifeless zones is due to humanity celebrating complexity. Humanity has collectively decided that the complexity of being wasteful at the cost of our environment is preferable to simplicity of secured and sustained existence. Humanity altered the planet to the point that we are responsible for extinctions of species because of our illogical, unreasonable, unsustainable greed.

We collectively destroy and allow for the destruction of simplicity while enabling complexity. We collectively have obfuscated truth and authenticity for artificiality with dire results. Simple principles and practices are less easily manipulated. From a base of simplicity, we would not choose complexity.  Simplicity enables us to shake off artificiality in part because it provokes curiosity rather than culling it.

The Simplicity of the Tao and the Tenets of Thoth

The knowledge and wisdom found in the teachings related to The Tao and to The Tenets of Thoth are denied importance and ridiculed as antiquated.

Yet, one of the simplest concepts leading to the most profound ideas and observations is The Taiji. The Taiji is what is typically known in The West as The Yin Yang symbol. The Taiji is the symbol of The Tao. The Taiji is made up of four parts. There is Major and Minor, Yin and Yang aspects. There is a set of four, or a duality of polarity displayed; this helps us in considering contrasts and transforming our observations into potential paradigm thought, energy and invention.

The innumerable ideas spawning from and related to these four parts all start with the simple contrasts of Major and Minor, Yin and Yang. The Major parts are the swirls and the Minor parts are the circles within the swirls. Try to utilize the contrasts presented in this format to face a perplexing situation. You may find a solution to problems or a new direction through your use of more balanced patterns.

There is usually an obvious positive and obvious negative, and often an unnoticed subtle positive and subtle negative too, which may offer preferable outcomes in numerous situations. You might consider the active and the passive and also the passive in the active and active in the passive as well.

The Tao of Thoth presents principles and practices based on deep simplicity. It is useful for shifting negative patterns and raising consciousness. Most systems of artificiality are based on complexity and limited applicability, but the simple principles put forth here are applicable toward both individual refinement and our collective betterment. The Tao of Thoth unites East and West through Thoth Energy and offers layered lessons for individuation and inspiration.

The Taiji symbol and Taiji practice represent the principles and practices embodied in what is commonly referred to as The Yin Yang symbol and Tai Chi. The Tenets of Thoth are among the simplest and most vividly potent philosophical approaches to understanding the world and the self. And The Taiji depicts the simplest and most potent practical approaches to understanding the world and developing self.

Both The Tao and The Tenets of Thoth lack ardency and in such promote expansion. The ideas of The Tao and The Seven Tenets of Thoth are simple and their lack of ardency means that the ideas can be applicable to innumerable situations, subjects, and objects. The Tao and Tenets of Thoth are entirely simple and yet near unlimited in their applicability and profundity.

“The possession of knowledge unless accompanied by manifestation and expression in action is like the hording of precious metals, a vain and foolish thing. Knowledge like wealth is intended for use, the law of use is universal and he who violates it suffers by reason of his conflict with natural forces.” ~The Kybalion

This article is an excerpt from The Tao of Thoth. The Tao of Thoth is based on the Taiji of The Seven Tenets of Thoth as illustrated in The Kybalion written by The Three Initiates. The Tao of Thoth is inspired by the relationships of The Tao and The Tenets of Thoth. The Tao provides parallel lessons with The Tenets of Thoth, and each aim towards enhancement and embodiment of lessons pertaining to self-development.

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About the author:

Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humor.

You can connect with Ethan on Facebook, check out his author page on Amazon, or visit his new websites, Geometry Of Energy and Meditation 108, where Ethan offers lessons on individuation, meditation, the conceptualization of energy, and the metaphysical significance of 108.

Ethan’s books include:

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