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Showing posts from April, 2012

Chekhov's Russia

"Русскому человеку в высшей степени свойственен 
возвышенный образ мыслей,  но скажите, почему в жизни он хватает так невысоко? Почему?"
"The Russian person is extremely gifted at thinking on a sublime level,  but, tell me, why do we aim so low in real life? Why?"
Chekhov penned this words in his work "Three Sisters" in 1900.  Although over a century old, I cannot better express this very thought provoking Russian paradox today.  Russians are some of the deepest, most philosophically minded, intelligent, and compelling people I know.  Yet, stepping off a plane and taking in one's first glimpse of the mother land, one would hardly guess that that could be so.  There is such a disparity here between the world of the mind and the world of the senses.  Obviously this is not a new trend, nor a product of the Soviet era, it has been this way at least the past one hundred years.  How and why this is the case, though, remains somewhat of a mystery, seemingly ingra…

Simple is as simple does.

Simplicity has always been a high value for me, at least so I thought...  Reading up a bit on the recent trend of "simplicity," however, has left me a bit at odds with my former ally.  Perhaps this is because I mistakenly equate simplicity with ease.  Easier almost always seems better to me.  For example, packing light means less awkward, sweaty, explosive fits of rage at the airport:  easier, simpler, better.  Having fewer things means fewer spousal arguments or manipulative tactics about what makes the cut moving to a new apartment:  easier, simpler, better.  Choosing to do one thing a day, rather than seven, means I might have time to make dinner:  easier, simpler, tastier.

Although I recognize that easy does not necessarily always mean simple, it seems nowadays that simple does not necessarily mean simple either.  Simple, it seems, has become a brand, a lifestyle, a luxury.  Simple is planting an extensive garden in your backyard to grow your own produce and herbs organic…