“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness.” — Henry David Thoreau
Just like any adolescent, I always treasured a complex life until I got my first job. My job excitement influenced me to buy the most expensive shoes I could afford.
As I received compliments from colleagues, my boss cautioned: “simplicity shows the magnanimity of the soul.”
I later would never forget these words as life threw punches at me. My boss was the richest educationist yet the simplest teacher ever in Uganda. This was the awakening of my simplicity consciousness.
Last night, a friend told me a story of a young American who visited one of the rural village fishing sites in Africa.
He was astonished by the lifestyle of the fishing community. The Africans used sticks and strings tied to a hook to fish.
Most of them used local boats that could barely move deeper into the lake while others remained on the shores of the lake.
They spent the whole day fishing and holding conversations by the lake side. In the evening, they enjoyed the walk back home to prepare their meal.
The young American got inspired to help. He asked his parents for money to set up a fish factory.
He bought motorboats, refrigerators and sophisticated fishing tools worth millions of shillings. He anticipated that he would sell the fish and save the Africans from wasting more time.
Unfortunately, the project failed to take off after completion. The American then consulted the village elders, why the fishing community had turned down the project.
An elder told him: “Welcome to the roots of wisdom.” It’s all about the simplicity of our life style. Your project will make our lifestyle complex. The elder continued: “Your project will make the fish extinct for our grandchildren. We don’t know how to operate the machines you have brought but even if we learnt, the fish would cost us much more than we have always paid.”
The young American responded: “But I will save you a lot of time to do other things and you will have enough fish to eat whenever you need it.”
In response, another elder said: “Look, my son, the time our children spend at the fishing sites is for dating, that’s how they identify partners. Besides, we don’t practice agriculture here. If our children get more time to do nothing, they will use it to do wrong things.” CONTINUE
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