Simpletown Blues

Amidst the Sturm und Drang of our singularly bizarre political season here in the USA, (please… one of these in a lifetime is quite enough…) the pull to the expedient and simple is strong…

I’ve written about simplistic thinking, about easy answers to difficult questions and about the wild appeal of conspiracy theories that, like a pantry stuffed with junk snacks, easily provide empty calories whilst handily giving the nutrients required for intellectual rigor or thoughtful engagement the drive-by treatment.

We’re in the Wild West of open range, untethered, distorted child and adolescent behavior and energies…

And – yes – it’s exhausting.

A bit more context:

The more complex things get – systems, organizations, relationships – the more difficult is it for the mind to get it’s cognitive arms around them. In the state of overwhelm that inevitably comes along when the complexity stakes rise, the mind locks up with the ego, develops tunnel-vision and traipses off on a heroic hunt for The Big Answer.

Most of us have at least some familiarity with idea of The Big Answer – you know, the one that takes care of All The Things once and for all, sweeps the slate clean, decidedly delineates “them” from ‘us” and, best of all, frees us from the burden of responsibility and the nasty business of feeling all the feels that go along with being responsible.

I mean, who doesn’t love The Big Answer…?

The Big Answer is the stuff of snappy political slogans.

It’s the plastic carrot of promise tied to the cardboard stick of entitlement.

It’s the hollow bombast of “I alone…” wannabe-saviors.

It’s the grandiose elevation of the refusal to admit – or reveal – that one might not actually know.

It’s the glaringly clear solution to all of the world’s most difficult problems that, after enough drinks to knock an elephant on its ass, becomes so blessedly obvious…

Followed, of course, by the angry grizzly bear of all hangovers.

The biggest challenge with The Big Answer is that it lives in the same fantasy realm as the Easter Bunny and the Great Pumpkin.

In other words, as attractive as the idea might be, it ain’t real.

Part of the job – the very essence of the work of moving through the world as a Conscious Adult – is to develop an appreciation for complexity, to seek it out and learn to engage with it. Key to doing that is stepping away from the adolescent pull to become the lone hero that saves the day – a seduction that’s ripe with all sorts of Hollywood romance…

Because the Conscious Adult recognizes – and embraces, when it comes down to it – the fact that the real world isn’t a predictable Hollywood production that neatly wraps in two hours…

Adults see that wishing things to be different than they are and pretending to know The Big Answer – even serving it up with mountains of the very best indulgent superlatives – won’t make the world’s complexity or real problems go away.

They know responding to complexity demands looking deeply inside one’s self, well beyond the studied, rational limitations of the cognitive mind – while also looking and reaching out to others for diverse opinions, new ideas, unseen options and unconsidered perspectives…

Because navigating our current chaotic mess is gonna take an entire village – and then some.