The need to make everything simple

19 May 2023

The world and our life have become very complex. Most people can’t bear it. As a result, we try to oversimplify things, formulating interpretations, proposals, and solutions that might make sense. On social media, on the internet, as well as the comments on the news by trolls, these come close to being ‘magic’. Commentators show themselves to be absolutely convinced of the certainty of their truth. They have the air of a know-all. They feel that they comprehend the issue they’re dealing with so well that it can be resolved in ten words, nine of which are dismissive, demeaning or sarcastic. Even those who harbor ambitions as politicians formulate or espouse proposals and programs which, if implemented, would have little or nothing to do with the situation which, in theory, they want to reshape.

The same’s true in matters of faith. Veneration of the relics of saints or of icons of the Mother of God  is considered by some to be an expression of great faith and by others to be great superstition. It’s as if nobody goes to our Lady or the saints without their own concerns, problems, sorrows, dreams and certainties; as if the commentator’s in the mind and heart of each and every person. But simplification’s easy, because it functions on the level of impressions and makes commentators project their own, inner state, their own will, onto the people they either accept or reject.

It’s not skepticism nor relativism for people to stand before the world and life with patience and carefulness. To avoid simplifications. To not become ridiculous by stating platitudes, sarcasm and certainties, which they wish later that others will forget. It’s humility. It’s the Socratic maxim: ‘I know one thing: that I know nothing’, in the face of a world full of complexity, and contradictions in the way it’s structured. It’s seeing genuinely fallen people who haven’t surrendered to the love and grace of God (because, in reality, only love is simple), preferring instead to deify their own ego, from whatever direction their motives may come, and to show that they know, that they’re first, that they’re worthy. It’s hard for such people to learn. They don’t do so because they don’t trust, aren’t patient, don’t train. Besides, in order to learn you have to feel the need to.

The oversimplification that fills you with certainties doesn’t allow you to see your shortcomings. It’ll always be the fault of others for not ‘getting’ your message or positions. But you should bear in mind that people’s thoughts are too complex for you to ensnare them with your own proposals and interpretations, which are, in the end, inadequate. No matter how misguided you are, the one thing that’s certain is that it’s not your fault. And you’ll come back with new simplifications, hoping that, this time, you’ll succeed. But even if you manage to do so, briefly, with lots of likes, hearts or votes, you’ll still be taken down later. Some other, more successful oversimplification will beat yours and you’ll be crushed.

So should we not try? Let’s look into things properly. Let’s have a position, and view and proposal that embraces the world as it is. So that we can take a step towards how we want things to be.