“If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough”…
That quote is attributed to either Albert Einstein or Richard Feynman, depending on which quotes website you choose to believe. Which man said it is not relevant. It’s wise.
I had a conversation with someone last week in which he was trying to explain a very simple concept to me. It took 45 seconds of talk and all sorts of detours and backtracking in order for him to get to his point. I distilled it down to 3 short sentences, repeated it back to him and asked, “is that correct?”. He said yes.
Too many words lead to confusion. Confusion leads to conflict. Our culture too often over-talks. We feel a need to prove our knowledge, to be as precise as possible, but it’s counterproductive. Simple is better in every example I can think of. State your case in as few words as possible and then invite your listener to ask questions to clarify. Don’t try to anticipate what they might not understand. Don’t assume they think like you.
It’s not just words. Too much money complicates. If you don’t have a lot of money, what you do with it is simple. If you have a lot, you need to think about tax strategies and investments and all that. I’m not saying that’s bad, I’m just saying it’s more complicated.
Too big of a dwelling complicates; which room is that lost item in?
Too many clothes complicates; what will you wear?
Too many people complicates; we spent millennia living in groups of 150 people. Everybody had a clearly defined and often unique role in the group. A city of 1.5 million people is unsettling in many ways. A country of 150 million people is nearly impossible to properly manage and that stresses everybody out.
I desperately want to simplify my life. It’s all too much.
Who’s your daddy…
I’m not a body language expert but I can tell you something I learned in my short time at Loose Moose Theatre; status can be clearly conveyed by taking on specific physical characteristics.
If you’re trying to convey low status;
– protect your genitals
– slouch/take up as little space as possible
– toes pointed in (AKA pigeon toed)
If you’re trying to convey high status;
– take up as much space as possible
– look like you own the place
It’s all very ingrained in our psyche and we’re usually not thinking about it. We instinctively understand it when we see it.
You can believe whatever you want about Trump’s Russian connections but a picture is worth a thousand words. You can immediately tell who’s high and low status in this picture; The one who looks like your dad giving you a lecture about your shitty grades is high status. The one who looks like he’d rather be anywhere else is low status.
This photograph strongly suggests that Putin owns Trump. Granted, it’s an instant in time…but look at these guys. There’s no doubt about who are the high-status and low-status characters. It’s a textbook example of what I learned at Loose Moose.
I’m weary of living in the city. At a certain age, having all the amenities of city life becomes less important than having peace and quiet.
We’re in a residential neighbourhood, a long block from the nearest busy street. It should be quiet, but every 20 minutes or so – all day and night, every day and night – I hear sirens.
We’re not far from the airport. I can handle the distant noise from planes coming and going, but these fucking sirens are really getting on my nerves. The sole intent of sirens is to get your attention and it’s working. They’re perpetual.
I want to live somewhere quiet, where the only perpetual noise is birds and my fountain pen scratching on paper.
This week’s book selection…
This is my bible. All the answers are here. It’s what I read when I need to get grounded.
Each chapter is an interview with a different comedian or satirical thinker, so you don’t have to read it all at one time or even read it in order. I started with the chapters featuring Carlin, Maron/Gould, Lewis Black, Henry Rollins, Billy Connolly, and Patton Oswalt.
If you seek truth and perspective, I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
If you’d like to buy Satiristas (or anything else), please click here to go to !ndigo.ca and I’ll get a little financial reward for sending you there to spend your money.
I feel good. I knew that I would.
See you next Monday.