If one wants to achieve concentration, productivity, and stability in one’s endeavours, then one should consider simplicity and order in daily life. Less distraction in every area results in better efficiency. Heightened focusing is needed especially if one’s undertakings are intellectual1.
However, a transparent life is also required to grow practically and morally, where morality means nothing else but a proper direction of will towards the right and beneficial for all things. The best option is the unity of mind and action that can be called an intellectual life.
Areas of life
We have just a handful of areas that make up our daily lives: education, communication (speech and relationships; information and its acquisition), work, consumption, and health (nutrition, sport, and rest). This division, if still incomplete, can show where we should look at to structure our existence. It often happens that people either careless in these areas and follow the instinct (that is, non-reflected experience) or too arduous; and usually, we have a disorder in some part and a complication in the rest.
Below are possible fitting attitudes to each area and examples of going awry:
In the area of health, we need to maintain a good condition of a body to avoid any possible distress. One may go as far as to hang on health and body. Narcissism and hypochondria are the most common signs of a wrong tendency in the area.
Nutrition is for the sake of energy, but usually, people do it for pleasure. Thus, illnesses may follow if one does not have a diet; not to mention the amount of time one needs for a pleasurable meal.
Recreation helps us to pause and gain energy. However, it is often mistaken with entertainment which is nothing but a noisy audio-visual-physical activity that takes money, time and body power away. On the other hand, one should remember that the ways of recreation (meditation, walking, sleep, etc.) can be so profound indeed that some confuse it with the purpose of life (seek nirvana for example via meditation); but it is only a formal thing that gives way to a thoughtful life.
Work and money should satisfy natural needs, but not to be the purpose of life. Envy, greediness, overworking, stress, etc. may follow if one does not know the limits in these areas.
Communication can help us to gain relevant information, to inspire us on new things. But often people avoid productive discussions and debates because they are afraid to admit their ignorance, and so it happens that we look for those who hold the same opinions or even inferior so that we can uphold our biased beliefs. Frequently people prefer everyday chats to meaningful communication and waste time on non-deserving-more-than-a-minute-attention things leaving time for the former when they are drunk (we mean so-called sublime talk over a bottle of wine). And let’s not forget about useless information people acquire on a daily basis – the news, stories, movies, etc., which have almost no practical value.
Education should benefit a life. Often done out of curiosity one’s knowledge becomes encyclopaedic, that is, a person knows a lot of facts, but is not able to prove or choose (as valid) any of them.
All areas, we should notice, are interconnected, and each element should be attuned to the rest. Depending on one’s goal the attainment may differ.
For an intellectual life, it is the best to have: less excitement (cutting down on most of the entertainment); healthy nutrition; enough recreation; less work (if it is not already connected with thinking), achieved through diminished consumption; and control of communication.
To simplify and structure each area is a difficult task, but with the help of reasoning, it can be done relatively quickly. When distractions are removed, you will see everything for what it is and do what is valuable by itself. The simplicity in every field of life may lead to the experience of the most profound things. However, the struggle will always remain for we are limited creatures; thus be ready to adapt your life to ever-changing outer and inner circumstances.
One reply on “ The Value of Simplicity and Order ”
I enjoyed reading about your vision to strive to live a simple, orderly intellectual life. I read the article several times because it contains a lot of information. It felt passionate, which I liked. I couldn’t find myself in everything, but that was an enriching experience too. The more I allowed the information to sink in, the more I recognized the value it can add to my life to help me become a more balanced person. Thank you for writing and sharing it!
Concentration, productivity and stability are rewards of simplicity and order, and less distraction equals higher efficiency. That’s great and I’d do well to keep that in mind. I like your definition of morality. Mine is similar but lacks the direction of will part and I like it. I appreciate how you’re offering practical information in your bullet points. This is also the area of the article that I think contains a lot of fire. I like it, it reminds me of some of my own frustrations. My favorite part of the article is the very end, “When distractions are removed, you will see everything for what it is and do what is valuable by itself. The simplicity in every field of life may lead to the experience of the most profound things.” That’s beautifully written. It reminds me of what mindfulness does for me.
Great article, keep them coming!