Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joy from ‘Elegant Simplicity’


“Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.”

~Morton C. Blackwell.

Watch the “making-of” any major motion picture and one thing we marvel at is the amount of planning, work and complexity behind the camera.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007) featured one bicycle scene that took at least two days to execute for only thirty seconds of screen time. This is a great illustration for the following discussion, because for the simple result—the entertaining vision we enjoy on the cinematic screen—there was the incredibly arduous process, one that was bound up in a world of complexity, in producing it.

This is a world we don’t ordinarily see.

This outcome, however, is elegant simplicity. It has endured the necessary levels of intricate planning and execution to reach a professional standard, all so we can enjoy a credible image of hilarity that Mr. Bean is famous for.

Where This Works for Us

If you’re still reading, this is good, for there is a great amount we can draw from discussions on elegant simplicity to help us live joyous lives.

The simpler we can make life the better.

Many times this is about learning to be ruthlessly disciplined regarding what we do in life and how we engage with it, so we can enjoy it more—no pain, no gain. There are an amazing amount of (discretionary) ‘things’ that the busy person, for example, can strip out of their lives to make life easier and better for themselves.

Perennial questions to ask include, “What’s the purpose of this activity?” or “Does it help me or others in good or tangible ways?”

Sometimes, however, we cannot ameliorate certain things that appear overly complex. These are frustratingly stilted or complex beyond logic and reason. Some we must just accept, for they’re beyond our changing. Others, though, are in our sights.

Going On ‘Into’ the Complexity – to Redeem Simplicity

What offers us a lot of hope is we can redress many situations in life that are painfully complex and make them simpler, and even more inspirational, through innovation, initially through challenge.

Asking the one-worded question “Why?” is a good start. Blank looks and confused logic can be assisted via resting momentarily in ‘the why’; “Why is this thing so complex?” Does it need to be? Or does it just remain that way for some false, illogical or unchallenged and therefore accepted reason (which is beyond sensible reason)?

Unneeded complexity in our own lives just won’t make sense, especially to others, and it’s perpetuating itself for what (?) reason. We’re living this insanity for some reason, and for some reason we’re allowing it to happen. Why?

The resolve to contend with the issue at hand is needed.

Only when we resolve to do something about it—with the goal of simplifying it—will we actually possibly improve this thing: our life. And whilst we travel this way to elegant simplicity we don’t shirk the hurdles that come against us in our stride—we’re leaping right over them.

Joy is living the purposes of our God-instilled hearts.

We cannot normally get to real joy-in-simplicity until we plunge right through all the complexity to find the refined gold of elegant simplicity left in the end.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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