We are born out of complicated things, but we are born simple.
Everything that cannot be thoroughly understood seems complicated. By ‘understood’ we mean comprehended and accepted by our conscious minds. Why we are born, and where we come from, remains a mystery, even scientists admit that. And those who are said to have been shown the TRUTH, still denominate it as mystery, the mystery of the Holy Spirit, the mystery of the Holy Trinity, be it mystery for the non-initiated solely. Therefore, complicated.
We are born simple, or so it seems. A newborn’s mind is like a blank page which cries for data, and as these accumulate, for meaning. Accumulation of data and meaning can help you successively pass on to a next level of understanding, but these levels are just steps on an infinite scale. The more you understand, the deeper you find yourself in a maze, and the more intent you get on finding a way out. All you do is get out on a next level of the maze, even more intricate. The experience you accumulated before takes you to a next level of understanding, so you have become wiser and more adapt at dealing with this higher rank version of the maze. It is only this newly acquired wisdom that enables your getting out again, onto a superior level maze, in dealing with which you acquire more experience and get still wiser, thus able to find your way out again. It is always a maze, a higher level of it. This sustained pursuit through successive layers of the maze will eventually sharpen your intuition on the idea of pattern, you will get closer and closer to essences.
This is one way to reach wisdom, through trial and error, through experiencing. But then there are other ways. Some may be lucky enough to have an epiphany, some may have revelations, others may get there through mental or physical pain, either self-induced or imposed on them through religious beliefs and practices, through hardships in life, through illness, or dogmas.
No matter the way you take, be it through science, or religion, or daily mundane existence, pattern will be revealed to you. And when this happens, you get simple. This is real wisdom. Wise people are simple, they think essences, and they speak simple words. The more they know, the more humble they are. The more they know, they understand TRUTH is beyond this world. That is why they stop searching here, they become quiet, sage. This is the reason why I am so in love with the French word sage, it tells essence, essence of a whole process of searching, which is our life.
Interestingly, you cannot become simple without being complicated first. Therefore we are born simple, we live complicated, and die simple again.
I wonder if those people who complicate their lives in pursuit of TRUTH are not perchance sinners, guilty of pride, as I do not think we are really meant to find TRUTH while embodied here on earth. Maybe that is why it is said that those who have to pass through want and misfortunes are ‘chosen’. The curious, inquisitive type are not, so their quest may be against the will of heaven. Heaven, or TRUTH, or God is what we cannot comprehend.
Thank God everyone, or almost everyone, gets simple sooner or later. It fascinates me how many scientists also learn this lesson of humbleness, as all research work eventually points to one unique pattern, multiplication, and energy, plus what they call something they do not understand, which gets energy to pulsate.
The case of philosophers, artists, or poets is a brainer for me. Are they ‘sinners’ or not? On the one hand, they should be, as they are emblems of quest. On the other hand though, the more intense their rise through layer upon layer of their art’s maze, the sooner they polish their way to essence, which means nothing but admitting humbleness. What makes a difference with these – let us call them all POETS of existence – is the sublime fact that they share humbleness with the whole world through symbol, the most powerful marker of pattern. The more simple the symbol, the greater the essentializing force, and the greater the POET. One such artist is Constantin Brancusi, for example. And one such writer is Peter Ackroyd, in my opinion. The former’s Bird in Space or Endless Column and the latter’s The Plato Papers come to my mind as tell-tale illustrations of complicated quests resulting in the simple. A pure line, a simple word can hold, with these artists, the whole evolution of mankind from simple, through complicated, to simple again.
Why is simple and why are symbols so powerful? Well, I think they address directly the essence in us, that which is innate, that which simply IS, at the level of the unconscious. We do not have to think in the face of high art, we feel touched by its symbols at a most intimate level. Symbols connect with our SELVES.
The more numerous we are on this planet, the more complicated our lives are, and the more respondent we are to symbols. It seems we have begun to look for them as though for keys to help us find a way out of the maze of our hectic existence. People in the marketing business appear to have sensed that and they have been exploiting it, and so do contemporary artists. People more readily respond nowadays to simple cues, also out of reasons of time constraints. I think there is a relation between quantity – the overpopulation of the planet, and the way we perceive time. The more of us there are, the more we perceive time as contracting. Everything points to the idea that mankind has reached that point in its evolution when they have to go back to their simple roots, to archetypes. Minimalist or simple feels like a welcomed solution. You do not have to resort to a lot of thinking, it is easier, healthier, and more efficient to just BE. Just like primitive people, but after a whole cycle of ontological complication. We want to eat like them – see paleo diet, and we do tapping instead of meditation, visualization, or reiki sessions. Through tapping, or EFT – emotional freedom technique, we resort to the earliest part of our brain, the amygdalae, to solve our problems. I associate tapping with our times. It had to be discovered as a simple, quick, and most efficient answer to our constant need for balance in an imbalanced world.
What about people who live as simple as they are born or die? People who may have had revelations and epiphanies every day of their lives, and who have taken them as naturally as a breath of wind, or a sprout emerging from the earth. I am sure most people are like that, but they are the ones we never hear about, since they live mysteries as if mysteries were life itself. Could we look at these people as the real POETS of existence? Life is a mystery, after all, as is death. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This is food for thought.