Friday, June 04, 2010

Life too complex?

" [...] the best place to start backing away from an overload of complexity is in the daily life of the individual. What sustains today’s social complexity, in the final analysis, is the extent to which individuals turn to complex systems to deal with their needs and wants. To turn away from complex systems on that individual level, in turn, is to undercut the basis for social complexity, and to begin building frameworks for meeting human needs and wants of a much simpler and thus more sustainable kind. It also has the advantage – not a small one – that it’s unnecessary to wait for international treaties, or government action, or anything else to begin having an effect on the situation; it’s possible to begin right here, right now, by identifying the complex systems on which you depend for the fulfillment of your needs and wants, and making changes in your own life to shift that dependency onto smaller or more local systems, or onto yourself, or onto nothing at all – after all, the simplest way to deal with a need or want, when doing so is biologically possible, is to stop needing or wanting it."

- John Michael Greer

How much freedom do we have to simplify our lives? It depends how strong our desire for simplicity is. As I said yesterday, sometimes less really is more. What couldn't you live without?


darren Allen said...

Nice point - simplicity being in "the daily life of the individual" - but for me desire (upon the strength of which you say the introduction of simplicity depends) is the most complicated urge of them all: I can certainly live without it :)

byron smith said...

Thanks Darren and welcome to commenting. Can you say more about the complexity of desire?

I should point out that while I think JMG is onto something important here, I am not quite as pessimistic as he sometimes seems to be about the possibility of national governments contributing something substantial to our current crises.

Anonymous said...

This essay points out that the only satisfactory way to deal with the complexities of life is to live in a comprehensive Sacred Community.

Irith said...

Hmmm, these references to the 'daily life of the individual' to me are very resonant of "God Calling" edited by AJ Russell. Do you know of it? They are daily devotionals, imagine the voice of Christ, this is a sample:

May 23 Little Frets

Your lack of control is not due to the big burdens, but to your permitting the little frets and cares and burdens to accumulate.

If anything vex you deal with that and get that righted with Me before you allow yourself to speak to, or meet anybody, or to undertake any new duty.

Look upon yourself more as performing My errands and coming back quickly to Me to tell Me that message is delivered, that task done.

Then with no feeling of responsibility as to result (your only responsibility was to see the duty done) go out again, rejoicing at still more to do for My Sake.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines;
for our vines have tender grapes. Song of Solomon 2:15

If you go to
it will give you the history of the book and you can subscribe to the daily 'readings'. Ignore the naff style of the website. I'm finding them VERY rewarding at the moment. My life is becoming VERY simple! ;-)