Thursday, May 19, 2005

Revisiting Simplicity and Complexity

"I wouldn't give a nickel for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." -Einstein

Thinking more about this quote recently has caused me to begin thinking about that point at which we can measure the other side of complexity. Picture it as a triangle where the point of the triangle is the point of complexity, and the left side of the triangle is "the simplicity on this side of complexity" and the right side is "the other side of complexity." What might we do in our own lives to get to "the other side"?

Does it start to get simpler on the other side? Does noticing the peak of complexity allow us a different vantage point from which to determine which simplicity we're in? Does it get more difficult before it gets more simple, like climbing up the side of the triangle in order to come down the other side?

In the current issue of "Worthwhile" magazine, editor Anita Sharpe mentions an old Chinese saying: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed." Another way to say it is: "It's always darkest before the dawn."

So if we can just trust that the path we're on is going to get us to that level of simplicity, we can become more mindful. We can start to enjoy our days instead of filling them with busyness so we can drown out that persistent voice in our heads that keeps telling us there's something more out there.

The voice of status quo seems to be louder on this side of complexity - it wants us to remain in ignorance. After all, ignorance is bliss, isn't it? When we begin to actually listen to the voice that is our true self - and even perhaps the voice of our higher self - we can't go back to status quo.

What is that tipping point that causes us to recognize the path? Does it have to be a tragedy or a crisis to cause us to realign our values with our lives?

I'm curious to hear from people who have begun to listen and are recognizing the complexity triangle. Which side do you find yourself on? How do you know when you've reached the other side? What does simplicity feel like on each side? Can you even tell until you've reach the complexity?


At 4:29 PM, Blogger TheLuckySpot said...

I'm not sure which side I have reached.

but, I have reached another level of consciousness. life will never truely be simple just less complex. the point where I've found least resistance is the point of realizing how much of life is a choice.

when you turn every thing in to a choice and realize that you are making that choice and remember this must be a conscious choice where you know what happends when you decided your final answer and that final answer can never be changed in that moment once you make it. then you make your life into a much simpler yet more complex space.

I've found that when I remember my "Choice Theory" that things in life arn't as hard as my "Mind" makes them.

I'm not sure if that answer your question, but it's what I had to give.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Jodee said...


That's beautiful! The power of choice - and the stepping into that power - is profound. It sounds like you've realized that for yourself, and also recognize the paradox that presents. As you say "simpler, yet more complex."

Ain't life - and really living it - grand?!? :)

Thanks for stopping by!

At 11:28 PM, Blogger j willie said...

fyi &fwiw - that quote is from Oliver Wendell Holmes, not Einstein, and it reads, "I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity."

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Jodee said...

Thank you, Willie! I have since discovered that the source from which I first got the quote altered it ... fortunately I found that out before I used it in my new book and could correctly attribute it as you've pointed out!

Thanks for reading!

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here is the Einstein quote someone confused this one with: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler". Also a beaty

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... :)

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Jodee said...

Yes, that is really simply profound! Thanks for posting it here!

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it is credited to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Junior was a Supreme Court Justice, Senior was a doctor, writer, and poet.


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