Simple Things Have All The Answers

I believe all we need are simple things.

I think simple things have all the answers,

which is why people find them beautiful.”

Shuichi Kotani

Japanese Noodle Master

Food for the hungry.

Protection for the endangered.

Company for the lonely.

In times of need, the simplest gestures become the most meaningful.

No matter how complex a situation may appear, we can only succeed if we are determined to view it from the simplest possible vantage point. “Complications” are synonymous with “problems”.

In an effort to make sense of our volatile reality, the ancient Chinese created the all-encompassing notion of Yin and Yang. Understanding the infinite manifestations of Yin and Yang is a daunting pursuit, but we can master it by taming our desire for a flowery intellectualism.

The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine is considered the authoritative text on eastern medicine. It offers much in the way of philosophy, and it explains the importance of simplicity in the pursuit of intelligence:

“As for yin and yang, if we count ten variations, we can deduce a hundred. If we count a thousand, we can deduce a myriad. If we count a myriad, our deductions are beyond counting. In truth, there is only once essential factor.

If we understand this crucial factor, we can discuss it and draw our conclusions. If we do not understand this crucial factor, our comprehension will be endlessly scattered.”

This excerpt speaks to our ability to comprehend the “myriad of things”: all phenomena that occur in our world. In short, if you would like to understand everything, you must understand one thing: Yin and Yang. The universal principle that explains everything in existence must be kept simple. Simplicity makes this idea useful. Complexity makes it overwhelming.

How do we come to understand this one thing? By simplifying our lives, and committing ourselves to the simple necessities of health and well-being. In the search for pleasure and excitement, we often overcomplicate our lives. We have to be patient, and allow the simple to bring us something better.

Simple necessity inspires limitless innovation:

“We need food”—the guiding and inspiring principle for the development of complex agriculture.

“We are sick”—the simple demand for the miracles of modern medicine.

Simple pleasures put the mind at ease:

Rest after exertion.

Hot tea and dry clothing after the rain.

Shade after being beat down by sunlight.

In our practice of the martial arts, we must allow ourselves time to fully explore the simple. If we rush to perform more complicated maneuvers, or to speak on more complicated ideas, we will deprive ourselves of any real knowledge.

The simple is the essential. It is unquestionably beautiful.