Too Much Complexity?

David Trammel's picture

I watch perhaps more Youtube videos than I should. One of them recently was from a well know clinical psychologist, who in the video (which was about a different subject than complexity) made the observation that most of the people who come to him for mental issues, have instead an issue with too much complexity in their lives.

This is not to say people don't have real mental health issues but that problems with too much complexity in your lives can and often do have profound physical and mental affects on you. And that the causality of these secondary problems is not often realized.

Readers of John Michael Greer will have no doubt heard him speak often of simplifying your life. To turn off the TV, turn off the computer, to turn off the cell phone. The benefits of doing this are pretty self evident and yet we don't.

I wonder if this ties into our tendency to put things off? Which we do with spectacular success, don't we?

Now I have the opportunity to declutter and simplify my life this Fall. My exit from work life and early retirement, the chaos of the pandemic, and my relocation to a new residence are all giving me a rather well defined break with my past life, which gives me at least the excuse to get rid of many of the things which I waste time on. And I do waste time on many things. This current society, the "Internet of Infinite Distractions" is good at offering up things to waste your time on in no small part because a whole lot of companies have discovered they can make money off of wasting your time.

And the pressure to always be distracted is huge. You only need to look at so called "influencers" and their sell myself lifestyle for the pressure of making your own life bigger and better to become evident.

I could probably easily waste an hour or two surfing the Internet and find lists of "The 25 Things To Do To Declutter Your Life" and post them here but I think the kind of people who read a forum on Green Wizardry already know most of them. What we all need instead of more wasteful trips into useless effort is to just make the leap and do those things which lessen the complexity in our Lives.

Even if its just one or two of them.

I think that just reading those lists or viewing the You Tube videos keeps some people from actually doing what ever it is that the video or list would have you do. By viewing or reading these things they seem to satisfy something in themselves that says, "I know how to do this...", but they never get around to really doing it.

Declutter is a big one for me. As a natural born pack rat I avoid like the plague those books, lists, videos that tell you just how wonderful declutter is. BS. I find it an exhausting process, over whelming and difficult. Much better to put it off. I have found Greer's exercises in will to be useful and when I can connect to an internal "urge to purge", I can accomplish a lot. However, I can not substitute someone else's "declutter" experience and process for my own. I think it is important to actually do the work and fail, but learn something from it and try again until you can make it work. At least this has worked for me to declutter.

Lately I have been decluttering my kitchen and food stores. As usual with any decluttering experience, it has been difficult and calling upon will repeatedly has been a help, but it is exhausting and I have to put a limit on it, do it in chunks, for it to get done at all.

Yes, I agree. It's a lot easier to read about thrift than to actually spend less.
Similarly, it's so much easier to buy something that claims to be green than to drive less.

It's hard work and I do think that the natural state for humanity is laziness.
That's why when you meet a go-getter, they're so impressive at how much they get done.
They're not kicking back with a cold one, waiting for someone else to get to work.

Great point, and a wonderful topic for thought. I found, early on in my journey, that getting the "bees" in my head out on paper was the most important first step for me - there are so many to-do lists, I-wish-lists, I-should-do lists, etc flying around in there, alongside "don't forget X, Y, Z, etc.". Simply writing that down even in a disorganized fashion helped clarify it, and over time I developed a system for organizing my thoughts as much as my environment. I still have far too much "stuff", but I'm at the point where most of it has a defined and useful purpose and has earned its keep, at least at my current level of priorities and available space. Once I developed the habit of writing things physically down (and then checking my physical to-do lists instead of expecting the computer to prompt me), I was able to massively scale down (to where I even lived on a sailboat for 5 years!).

De-cluttering your mind and personal organizational habits is a necessary step to being able to successfully declutter the rest of your life, in my experience.