One of the most challenging tasks one can engage in is focused and thorough thinking. Our very human tendency is to take the easy way out of things. In the realm of thinking, the easy way out is often found in 1) trying to find cut-and-dry, black-and-white solutions to every problem or 2) denying the complexities of modern life offering superficial and simplistic solutions to sizeable challenges.
M. Scott Peck once discussed the problem of simplism in his book The Road Less Traveled and Beyond, which tends to reduce the complex challenges of modern life into neat and tidy solutions. Too often, we gravitate towards simplistic solutions to these difficulties and mysteries. Why?
For one, it’s easier. Thinking–serious thinking involving focus, research and reflection–is hard work. Again, we have a bent towards laziness…following the path of least resistance and exerting minimal effort.
The problem with simplistic thinking is that easy answers in neat, tidy packaging eventually get found out for what they are. The result? Cynicism. Disillusionment. Loss of values. Even loss of faith. Having come from a background that has included not a few years as a minister, simplistic solutions to serious problems ultimately destroy in the end. Fundamentalists, note this please.
The solution? Do your homework. Whatever your challenge, put your time and paces in to get to the bottom of a matter. The greater the stakes, the more effort you must exert. At times, life is simple, even black and white. Most of the time it is not. If you know this going in, you’ll fare well and your ship will probably moor safely.
Do your homework. And don’t leave it to anybody else, even the experts. There’s far too much at stake.