The Hierarchy of Value

I have an inner curmudgeon. It’s not all I am, in fact I have competing perspectives. I don’t know to what extent my curmudgeonly attitude is appropriate, but I figure in order to help myself resolve this inner conflict I need to represent this voice honestly. Ladies and gentleman:

99% of everything there is to know is unimportant and not worth your precious time. Few problems and opinions are worth thinking about. Most of the drama today is all talk, people talk a lot but do little. Focus on things of actual importance, on things you can actually do something about, which isn’t most things. You see, the essence of value means that things of importance stand out; they are not like most things. Therefore, important things are exclusive, which means you can only have so many of them. Everything can’t be important. You have to choose, important things are fewer in number than unimportant things.

In the final analysis, the important to the unimportant is a ratio of 1 to 99; the important is 1% of everything, the 99% is everything else. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s the way the world works. Nature is a hierarchy, the things that are complex are made up of simpler and fewer things. This keeps happening until you reach the simplest thing. The simplest thing is the thing with less parts, less pieces. The simplest thing would therefore be just one thing, and since it is the foundation, everything else depends on it. Without it, all of that 99% that occupies most people’s attention, and is supposedly so important, would fall apart and collapse like a flat stage prop; all our revels would be ended, dissolve into vapor and leave not a rack behind. So really, what is so important? Only one thing is really important, and everything else doesn’t matter without it.

It is the only thing that really matters, and it is often and easily overlooked. The value of everything else is only a distribution of it, derived from it and borrowed from it. It’s like a seed or egg with all that can possibly happen wrapped up into a little ball that fits in the palm of your hand, but it is also spread out all around you. It’s like breathing, you don’t think about it, but if you aren’t breathing, you won’t be doing anything else for very long. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of nice things when you suddenly can’t breath. If people knew what it was, and I don’t mean squawking like a parrot about God or Justice or what have you, this world would instantly be a better place. No argumentation needed, no hurt feelings or beating people over the head with ideology. But people prefer trying to find right answers by asking wrong questions, by fighting fire with fire till even what they value is set ablaze, and then it’s too late.

This wrong way of thinking, centered around the complex issues of the world without getting to the bottom of it, is wasting energy on issues that are beyond the scope of what we can comprehensively know. It’s complexity upon complexity, without recourse to complete analysis. The analysis is always partial, both incomplete and biased. People cannot fathom the astronomical scale of complexity going on. We would do well to be as aware as we can of our immediate environment than deliberating issues of a global, or even national, or even statewide scale.

Jesus said there are enough concerns for today to handle without thinking of tomorrow; in just the same way, each person has enough to handle in their own present situation that none of us ought to squander ourselves over matters that are beyond the scope of our immediate situation. There’s so much detail left out when you hear about the goings-on elsewhere, we shouldn’t be so ready to believe such a half-baked account of things as the media portrays. That includes the narrative of Trump the oogie-woogie boogie-man who is going to get all of the gays and the illegals and make America a nazi haven, or that Trump is a god-send, or whatever sensational spin there is on politics today. It’s all fluff, it’s all beyond our scope, and as far as that goes we are all ill-informed, mis-informed, and diffusing our awareness on the complex instead of concentrating on the simple and – as I have suggested- more important.

But what about the refugees? The starving children? There is no end to all of this, the way we are hacking at it. Something else equally egregious will take its place, because our solutions are superficial and the real source of our problems is ensconced in our way of thinking. Hack at the root and the branches will whither. Conserve your energy and concentrate it, then you will be more effective. Stop participating in the irrelevant, in what is beyond your jurisdiction. Stop contributing to all the noise, concentrate what little you have on the things that really matter, that you can actually do something about and make a difference. Know your role and shut your mouth. So much of what I see is just ‘blah blah blah’. You might as well just say blah blah blah, it would have the same impact as going on and on about whatever is so supposedly important, but all the same beyond your scope.

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