Cultural horror and simplicity do not immediately seem like compatible concepts. How do I reconcile talking about minimalism and simple living with any discussion of injustice, toxic elements in society, and general rudeness, cruelty, and willful ignorance? Is there an approach that honors what I want to say about each, in a way that one supports rather than undermines my stance on the other?
Cultural Horror and Simplicity
The world is complex. Sometimes needlessly so. Other times people oversimplify issues to the point of, well, missing the point. I think that there is a relationship there. In order combat the cultural horrors, we need to view them on the right level. There will be issues where we have to strip away the obfuscating detritus so that we can get down to the core problem. There will also be issues where a lot of the subtlety and nuance have been ignored. Those details, that minutiae, add necessary context, and no true solutions can be found without them.
Simplicity Through the Lens of Cultural Horror
Starting with the horrific things that exist in the world today, what does minimalism look like? What does the culture want to get rid off, and what is it trying to make more space for? I think these are important things to consider, because what we’re left with are the values that lead to these decisions. Everything short of a natural disaster is the result of some choice that someone, somewhere, has made.
It could even be argued that some of those disasters are the result of decisions, like denying climate change. Responses to disasters like hurricanes and wildfires are the result of choices, in terms of preparation and the implementation of relief efforts. Cultural horror is deciding not to provide relief to Puerto Rico, to not approve aid for wildfires to punish California for opposing you sanctuary cities policy, to not pay government workers as a bargaining chip to get what you want. The administration and, by extension, society, cast those things aside as what we don’t want, in order to make space for… what, exactly?
Cultural Horror Through the Lens of Simplicity
When you start with the premise of “simplify”, you’re taking a solutions-oriented look at cultural horror. What’s happening here that we can get rid of, to make space for the results we need and want? Where is the bottleneck, in terms of policy, ideology, and behavioral psychology? Start with the results, work backward through the process, and find out that unnecessary things are causing undesirable results. Get rid of those, and make space for whatever might bring us the results that we desires.
I can tell you right now that it will often be a matter of getting rid of rudeness and hate to make more room for civility and kindness. It will require getting rid of cruelty in order to accommodate more empathy and compassion. There must be an elimination of lies and willful ignorance, so that we can get back to an objective reality where effective decisions can be made based on truth and verifiable facts.