The Complexities of Real Life are on My Mind Today

I am very much aware of the complexity of life today. Yesterday, on All Souls Day I blogged, went at Susnset to the candle and torchlight mass at the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetary in Lafayette. Then I joined a group of friends and familyat the Cathedral Parish Youth Core Team House. There we ate a great gumbo, watched the Saints  win a hard fought game against the Atlanta Falcons while following the World Series  ticker tell us whether the series ended. My day had the texture of fairly rich and complicated experience which is typical of real life.
I also was involved with  the quiz hosted by Lord Norton this weekend on the Lords of the Blog. The quizzes are always engaged with the complexity of  Parliament. However, in this case the complexity of the array of answers was greater than usual and that probably has delayed the posting of his assessment of answers and winners longer than usual.  For that and for other reasons I am aware that life is complicated. Here is a link to the parliament quiz and the answers, by the time you check it there may be a final post by Lord Norton.
I am attaching a Note  from my Facebook page which I believe is pretty relevant to these concepts. Therefore I am quite willing to present it to you as the greater part of today’s blog post.  
 Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 11:07pm | 
I tend to believe that there is a kind of obsession with simplicity in the modern world that is stupid, unhealthy, dangerous and ridiculous. It is certainly true that many of the best things about our modern world come from our ability to make things more efficient, to pare down processes to those elements with the biggest rewards and yields. However, it is equally true that an obsession with simplicity causes many of our greatest problems and may be costing us as a planet and as a human species more than we can possibly calculate. When you consider the really big questions the cost has to include the loss of opportunity.

The real cost of a bad paradigm or cosmology is not just the bad things that happen to those who adhere to the bad cosmology or paradigm. Even when you add in the cost of bad things which happen to those who do not adhere to that paradigm this is seldom the largest part of the cost. The real cost is mostly in the many good things that are prevented from happening.

Humanity being reduced to something distinctly less than human is enormously costly. There is always a large force toward this reduction in large complicated human societies. What makes a civilization worthwhile is its ability to offset this reductive force. In other words, while we pinch and squeeze each other’s lives in many ways there should be at least as many ways in which we foster personal growth, technical advancement,social development and other good outgrowths of our shared lives.

We must never doubt that when there are a lot of people struggling to hang on to something and it is erased by change there has always been a loss. However, often the new thing can offset the value of the thing lost. On the other hand, where rapid and unplanned change sweeps over the world continuously and armies fight to protect that rapid and constant change it is extremely likely that lots of value is constantly being lost. Where nobody keeps track of expenses it does not take long for almost any enterprise or institution to go broke. Human society and the Earth itself are subject to that principle of conservation.

One of the principle foundations of the modern world is a doctrine called Ockham’s Razor. Ockham’s Razor is not as well-known as the famous parts of the Declaration of Independence or even Descartes’ famous dictum “cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am) yet it has done as much as either of these two ideas to make the modern world. William or John or Herby of Ockham said that the simplest explanation for anything tends to be the correct one. That is both true and a powerful truth. However, any coach or athlete in competitive sports can tell you how certainly the simplest explanation can be shown not to always be the best explanation. Trick plays work often but would work more if people did not believe they existed.

In areas of government and policy conspiracy theories are right many times, people lie to census and poll takers, new factors change people’s minds and politicians are inconsistent. In the world of making policy for a species and a planet that keep squeezing into tighter patterns — even if our population shrank from now on –complexity must be understood. Justice and decency often require complex answers and solutions. Survival sometimes demands that we take many course to several ends and not one simple single course.


I wish you all a successful and happy engagement with the complexities of life and the world. Remember, ye brave, ye few, ye proud, ye readers that simplicity is not always best. Simplicity can be wonderful but one must understand how simplicity can and cannot be wonderful to unlock its wonders. It is complicated  that way — simplicity is.    

Thank you for commenting if your comment does not appear in five days contact me by e-mail or Twitter

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s