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When I was growing up on the north side of Dublin, simplicity meant something other than my current understanding of the word.  If someone described you as 'simple' it meant that they thought you were stupid.  You were then perfectly entitled to sort them out.  That usually meant give them an earful of abuse. Something along the lines of 'hey you, who the f*** do you think you are?  I'll give you simple.....' or words to that effect.  If they were lucky.  More aggressive types might get physical. This could involve a trip to the hospital.

When I was in my early twenties, I secured employment in an office run by Indian people.  Indian people, I was intrigued to note, used the word 'simple' as a compliment.  Now if any of my colleagues wanted to compliment someone, they might say something like 'she is a very simple girl,' in a most approving tone.  Simple in this context meant humble, gentle and obedient.  I didn't get that compliment very often.  Thank God.

Indian people often profess a great love for something called 'simple living and high thinking.'  Now I'm all for simple living.  It usually means getting up early in the morning, praying, having your bath and meals regularly and on time and staying out of the rat race.  The high thoughts will surely follow.  The trouble with simple living is, it sounds way too boring.  Of course it works for older people.  There's nothing like having a regular type of lifestyle in order to maintain health and fitness.  But all this sober humility would make a younger person die of boredom, I would imagine.  I like the idea of living a passionate life, doing things I enjoy and love to do.

Simple food is better for your health than rich food.  A simple life is better for your health and sanity than a crazy, manic high and low existence.

The truth is, what makes life meaningful is love, rather than simplicity.  If you have love in your life, I am perfectly sure that everything else will simply fall into place.

Well, I hope so.  What a perfectly philosophical piece of writing I've just turned out!  I do hope that I haven't bored any reader to sleep. 

This is the weekly post for my blogging group, the Loose Blogging Consortium.  We post weekly (usually simultaneously) on a given topic and visit each other to see the different takes we have on the same topic.  We are, in alphabetical order,  Delirious, Rummuser,  Grannymar, Magpie, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit and Will.  If you have time, please visit my friends too.
This topic 'Simplicity' was suggested by Conrad, who has had to opt out of the group for a short while.


  1. Maria Maria Maria! As You well know I grew up in the northern half of Dublin City not a million miles from where you were born. Never once did I have need to use an 'earful' as you describe. If I or my siblings were inclined to do so, mammy would have left the imprint of her five fingers on our sit-upon! Maybe I was different since I had brothers to insure I was treated with respect.

    What do you mean boring works for older people? I am older than you and in no way is my life boring or would I want it to be. You say you would prefer a passionate life... would you like to expand on what you mean by passionate?

  2. What you've written reminds me of advice from some famous writer - live simply so that your mind and your writing may be vivid.
    A counterpoint to the poseurs whose work falls short.

  3. nice read Maria...and interesting...I wonder why the word simplicity is taken differentley in Dublin and India...and the best part in this writeup is...."The truth is, what makes life meaningful is love, rather than simplicity. If you have love in your life, I am perfectly sure that everything else will simply fall into place".....good one.....i also liked Grannymar's comment.....

    maybe....the word simplicity is relative...Like...
    I am very a zimble person...who drives a zimble landrover...and owns a zimble fortune 500 company...and go for curise zimblly with family at weekends...and zimbley donate millions for charity....

    the second one may say...i am a zimble person, retired as scientist from NASA ...and now lives in a zimble ashram in India...listening zimbly to Bhagavatham every morning sitting by the river side....and zimbly engage in spiritual debates....

    Did I zimbly bored you :) ?

  4. @Blackwatertown - That's an interesting point indeed.

    @Greener Bangalore - No you didn't. It made me laugh.

  5. @Grannymar - Oh, dear! I've not been clear enough, have I? I was using humour to make my initial point, that simple has a different meaning where I came from to where I am now. As I came from an area which had a reputation of being 'rough', I learned to use my sense of humour to deal with it. I remember many a time sitting in company when someone would disparagingly mention 'the dreaded corporation housing estate', not realizing I lived there.

    The Indian meaning of simple living had me flummoxed for a while. It sounds great in theory. Rise early,pray, exercise, keep a strict routine, live close to nature. But how would you have time to spin your own clothes on a charak when you're raising young children? You need all the help you can get then.

    Of course as I age (fifty next year!) I can see how keeping a regulated life and eating a simple diet can help you to stay fit and healthy. So the idea's not complete rubbish after all. Forgive me, but I don't think I said that boring works for older people. What I was trying to say was that the simple life wouldn't have worked for me earlier, when I had to be more flexible.

    That's all I was trying to say. I'll be careful about putting unedited first drafts up in future as posts. I'm sorry if I gave offence.

  6. Yes, the word does have two distinctly different meanings. Simpleton is actually derived from the first use of some one a bit daft. In my family, I am called the Tamil equivalent of Simpleton because of a big blunder that I made!

  7. Thanks for the explanation, Maria. It was The trouble with simple living is, it sounds way too boring. Of course it works for older people. that got me. I am not into high living, but life is anything but boring. I talk to everyone be it on the bus, the street, or at a function. It quickly becomes a conversation and I learn about their lives, loves and histories. I never go home without something to think about.

  8. Great post, Maria! Thanks for sharing the concept of 'simple living and high thinking'. Fascinating!

  9. Awesoem post, Maria! Thanks for sharing about the concept!

  10. This puts me in mind of a saying from Socrates, which I keep posted on my fridge:

    Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

  11. I did not yawn! And like Grannymar I must say that I lead a fairly simple life but it is full of excitement, happenings and events--many of them through cyber space!!

    Great take.

  12. Yes, I agree with the post. Simple to me means good, obedient and honorable as well!

  13. Amazing post! Thanks for explaining about Simplicity in other cultures.

  14. I am a big fan of simplicity, both the Indian version and the Irish version. I think intelligence is overrated. There is more bliss to be gained from the lack of thought than from the excess of it :)


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