Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Simple Solution

At some point in my career, after working on a variety of projects, I came to the conclusion that some people in my company love complexity. In many discussions people seemed wary of simple answers. It seemed that if the answer wasn't complex, then it couldn't be the right answer. Albert Einstein, however, said something to the effect that when we discover what we think is the answer to the mystery of the universe, if it isn't simple, it's probably the wrong answer. I'm probably going to side with Albert Einstein on this one. If he and I are wrong, then I will use his theory of relativity to escape to another time. Seriously, I really do believe that most things in life are simple. For example, thousands of books have been written about the spiritual life. Some are so complex I do not understand them. I do not think the spiritual life is complicated. I think it's simple but difficult. Love and compassion are not complicated. You either practice them or you don't. It's easy to love my granddaughter. It's more challenging to love someone who annoys me to death. I feel great compassion for the truly needy. It's more challenging to feel compassion for the lazy and unmotivated. Pope John XXIII, famous for his wisdom, once said, "Make simple what is complicated and don't complicate what is simple". Simple solutions are not necessarily ignorant ones. Simple solutions don't always come from simple minds. Complex answers are not always a sign of deep intellect. I say all of this with the knowledge and understanding that some things in life truly are complicated and there are appropriate responses to life's challenges that can be complex. However, don't let a desire to impress others with your complicated solutions always override what might just be a simple and common sense solution to a problem. Before you call the TV repair man, make sure it's plugged in. Once I had my car towed because it wouldn't start. It didn't need a complicated engine overhaul. It just needed gas.

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