Good and Bad

Yin Yang

As a species, humans love to simplify ideas and concepts. We love to throw ideas into small and few compartmentalized categories to make our lives easier. Ironic that we instinctively prefer our lives complex (with clutter and too much fluff), but we prefer our ideas and concepts to be simplified.

Think about it. We love to throw everything into only two main categories.

  • Our political standings are: Democrat or Republican
  • Changes are either: Good or Bad
  • Genders are either: Male or Female

It’s this oversimplification that is one of our biggest sources of conflict in the world. In the end, this is willful ignorance. We prefer to use the information we already know, from the only the narrow perspective we have ever had, to make judgments. We have labels ready and available in our minds to slap on any concept, so that way we can rest easy, and bask in our “brilliance.” This is lazy.

I am not saying we should go out and read ALL the information out there on new concepts and ideas to make an informed opinion, as most of these concepts don’t directly effect our lives to be worth taking in information we won’t use (That’s just mental clutter. Useless info). I AM saying that we should fight the instinct to label.

Even when it comes to the basic labeling idea of “bad” and “good”. People are so quick to slap “this is bad” on new changes. What makes something “bad”? The fact that it is new? The fact that it forces you to think? The fact that it forces you to abandon a lifestyle or idea that you have been accustomed to? Or, is it bad because it is destructive to what you would consider a greater good (Gods will and such)?

Honestly, unless there are lives at risk, the last question is not even on the table. And the last question is the only valid one; I laugh at the other questions. Lets face it, the majority of the issues and changes we face today are not “Lives are at risk” matters, and with that being the case, only the other questions apply. I.E. If we are labeling something as “bad”, but there are no lives at risk, it’s because it shakes our small little world we have been accustomed to, right down to the core. Booo Hoooo (sarcasm).

Instead, if we have to slap a mental label on new ideas and concepts, lets slap the label “New” on them. Doing so will force us to either let it go (because it’s not important enough to us), or will force us to gather more information so that we may adapt to the change.

In the end the need to have these hard labels just reflect the laziness of people unwilling or unable to adapt to change. It’s just that simple.

Don’t be lazy, be adaptable. Expand your mind, minimize your closet (not the other way around).

Now more than ever in my life I am seeing cultural changes coming down the road. So now more than ever I am seeing the ignorant leaning on their labels, rather than trying to understand and adapt. Changes such as:

  • Our gender revolution: “New”
  • This new phase in woman’s lib: “New” (I would even call it good)
  • ME TOO: “New”
  • Trumps Wall: Now this CAN be labeled “Bad” or “Good”, as lives ARE at risk.

There ya go. Only one out of four issues is even worth stamping a hard label on.

The fact is ….. the risk of human life aside, there is no such thing as “good” and “bad.” It’s all subjective. And no matter what we may like or believe, these cultural changes we are having are inevitable, and just a natural part of our cultural evolution. So the only decision we really have to make is: “Am I adaptable, or am I obsolete?”

Keep a Low Maintenance Life

Washing, cleaning, fixing, organizing, repeat. The elements in our life require a certain amount of maintenance. But how much of the maintenance we do is actually required? It seems to me that there are only three reason why we maintain things:

  1. Functionality
  2. Looks
  3. Status quo

Functionality is a perfectly justified reason to maintain all of our elements. Looks are kinda important too. But how much of the maintenance we do is solely for the purpose of keeping functionality? How much for looks even?

Example: Consider self cleaning (showering/bathing). There are very real hygienic reasons to keep clean, like preventing infection. But must we shower every day to fight off infection? Certainly not. There is looks to consider as well though. Smells too. If we do heavy manual labor during the day, then YES it may be absolutely necessary to shower/bathe every day (maybe twice a day). But if we work desk jobs, than the likelihood we will get dirty or perspire enough to even be noticeable is probably slim. Cleaning every day may not be necessary. Not necessary for functional OR cosmetic reasons.

So why do we do it? Status quo. Social convention. It’s what is expected of us. In the end, it is the norm we have become accustomed to.

I don’t think I need to point out that these are illusions. Mental limitations that are in the end, just mental clutter.

How many of us are over maintaining for mere cosmetic reasons, or even worse ….. social convention?

This is true for ALL the elements in our lives we maintain: Our home, our automobiles, our laundry. So many of us are over maintaining the elements in our lives to keep with the status quo, and it is clutter eating up our most valuable resource ……time.

Maintain our elements for functional purposes, and for a modest amount of cosmetic purposes only. Doing this, we will find that we gain back a considerable amount of our time.

Just as a general rule, I say: “It’s not dirty unless it is noticeably (with at least one of your senses) dirty. The fact that it has been a while since you cleaned something doesn’t make it dirty”

Choose a Mantra

Living a simple intentional life requires lots strong principals on which one needs to stand in a world of excess; in a world of selfishness, and consumerism. This is what I try to teach in my posts. But it occurs to me that when it comes to our day to day lives, we need these principals at our fingertips to be able to handle making the right decision, or be in the right mental state, at a mere moments notice. After all, when the time comes when you need to apply a simple intentional life mentality, you are not going to dig in your brain for one of my long winded essays. That’s just ridiculous.

This is why it is important to take on a small set of life Mantras. At least one or two. Mantras are short phrases that serve to remind and keep us grounded in our values. They help us detach from stressful situations and bring us back to center, back to ourselves. They are often used even as a pre-cursor to meditation. They are a way to always keep our values at your fingertips; ready when we need them. Mantra’s should be memorized, spoken, and repeated often in order to keep us grounded. They should be short; one small phrase each. They should be kinda broad in their scope, as one small mantra that only applies for a very specific circumstance is not exactly a philosophy of life to live by.

I have read many minimalist mantra’s, but these are the ones I find valuable:

– Less is More

– Events happen the way they are supposed to

– I am enough

– Be kind always

– Love thy neighbor, love thy self

– Live in the moment

– Live intentionally

– Don’t apply judgment where love should be

– I can do this

– Never trust a hooker with cold hands (joking). …… hookers with cold hands are just as trustworthy as others (still joking ….. I wouldn’t know).

Pick one or more of these to hold on to in areas we may be lacking. In areas we don’t have the values available to us at a moments notice. Repeat them, and in the beginning, make time for them each day to instill the idea.