Simplicity

“Life is so complicated,” he lamented as he plonked himself down on a dusty old wooden chair, that creaked dangerously under his light frame.  His feet shuffled on the moldy carpet as he tried to remove his muddy boots, weary of the hard labour of the day.

“Debts to pay, people to comprehend…and the latter feels so much harder than the former!  Makes me want to stay working with machines for the rest of my life – at least everything’s straightforward.”  He fingered the edge of his rusty spanner, reminiscing of the days where it was still shiny, yet he knew that after all these years, it still accompanied him like an age-old friend, never letting him down.

“Is it, really?” came the reply, mingled with the smell of pipe smoke and seasoned polished leather, probably from the vintage chair being sat on. “What really makes things so complicated, the way you describe them, my friend?”

The smell of grease on his hands diffused around him as he waved his hands in the midst of conversation, trying to express his point. “It’s the way people can be so unpredictable! One moment left, another right; one instant yes, the next no!  How does one remain constant in a world of changing definitions?  If only it were such as machines, where everything has a direct cause and effect, without having to worry about the implicit.”

“Could it be, my friend, that things are only complicated because somewhere inside each of us, we wish it to be?”  A look of perplexity covered his face, to which the philosopher spoke up again while sipping a cup of fine tea. “Would the beauty of an art piece remain should there have been a logical connection between each stroke, or the gracefulness of a dance if there was a predictable sequence?”

The words seemed to have struck a chord as the room remained silent. “You see, it’s sometimes the complexity of the situation that elicits praise, how making what seems like order out of chaos which causes cheers and how people choose to attempt the technologically impossible that leads to Nobel Prizes. If everything were so ordered, so logical, then would we in turn pine for something a little challenging, a little beauty?”

“You see, my friend, there are always two sides to a coin – without one you would not have the other.  But we can always make things as simple as they really are.”

The crack of glass silenced the room, but did not startle him. Perhaps he expected it, and he remained silent.

“It’s simple isn’t it, my friend?”

And with that, the mirror broke.  The conversation did not end, but merely continued in his own mind.




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