Simple is beautiful

The beauty lies in simplicity. It could be our way of life or ideas and language or expressions or presentations. Everywhere simplicity is a jewel. Today, the world is becoming complex. Look at the interface of our affairs, job market, concepts, strategies, migrations. Many issues are complex. However complex they are, they can be simplified to understand.

I still remember a lecture of Prof. Shreedhar Lohani which I attended during my Kirtipur days at the Central Department of English of Tribhuvan University. I had read English textbooks prepared, compiled and edited by him. I had an assumption that he could be someone different – he would look different, his English would be different from us and he would be a personality that we could not access, meet and talk to. I was wrong.

My assumptions went opposite. He is the simplest professor I have ever met. His English is so simple that a high school pupil can understand and enjoy his ideas. He made complex concepts and ideas of English poetry simple, understandable and picturesque.

Prof. Lohani is not simple-minded but his expression is simple, and his knowledge and understanding is deep and broad. Then I realized and assimilated that simple is the best.

A few days ago, a student of mine expressed her dissatisfaction. She said she could understand English of BBC news on radio, TV and online with least or no difficulty.

But, she complained that she had a difficult  time to understand English used in news bulletins on Nepali radio, on Nepali TV channels,  and news stories and op-ed write-ups in the national newspapers because of uncommon vocabulary, complex structures and unorganized ideas with no proper clue to the meaning. She is not alone; many feel the way she does. Our writing and speech are rather flowery, pompous and obscure.

Sometimes I do not understand what we value – simplicity of ideas or complication of words and structures. Confucius rightly says that life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Indeed, great people are simple. They express their ideas and thoughts in plain language. That’s why, Albert Einstein says - “If you cannot explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” It is very true.  It is our mistake to believe that complex is beautiful and sublime. To put it simply, simplicity is the best virtue.