December 21, 2010

We long for simplicity

The Tricycle Book Club is discussing Lin Jensen's Deep Down Things: The Earth in Celebration and Dismay! Look for daily excerpts from the book on the Tricycle Blog to inspire the conversation, which is happening here.

From Deep Down Things:

"

While life in a modern industrial nation such as ours is increasingly characterized by complexity and multiplicity, we inwardly long for simplicity and singleness. Give me one instead of many. Give me just this moment instead of a host of worrisome hours to fret about.

Complexity is a persistent characteristic of the modern collective mind perpetuated by its own momentum. It’s a habit that adds “more” to “more” and ultimately threatens the sanity and balance of earthly life. The material nature of actual things and events may very well be complex, yet it’s a complexity that’s best approached by taking up one detail at a time. It’s like attending a buffet dinner where the sideboard is set out with more good things to eat than one could ever manage to find space for on a single plate. Perplexed by the sheer multiplicity of alternatives, I’m torn between the obvious limits of appetite and the fear of losing out on something good. It’s a situation where too much is not enough. Realizing that I’m one person, with one plate, and one normal appetite, I could simplify matters by setting aside other alternatives for the moment, and picking out one item that appeals to my immediate appetite and starting with that. The abiding principle of simplicity resides in the realization that every “bite” you or I will ever take is a singular chewing and swallowing not to be weighed against the merits of other possible mouthfuls either actual or hypothetical."

Have something to say? Visit the Tricycle Community Book Club to discuss Deep Down Things!


Image: Torres del Paine, Chile. Photograph courtesy of Russell Hart

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