During a recent conversation with a reader of this blog, I referred to myself as a very simple minded person.
She vehemently objected to my describing myself as such. “I don’t like it when people refer to themselves as simple,” she responded, “because I think that means they are dumb.”
I didn’t think so; simplicity is one of the qualities I admire the most in life. So, to counter her statement and express my personal view of simplicity, I quoted Leonardo Da Vinci:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Her response surprised me initially. Then it amused me. And finally, it inspired me.
She said, “Who is that? And why should I care about what he said? As far as I’m concerned, simple means dumb.”
She stood her ground, refusing to be cowed by my reference to Leonardo da Vinci. She refused to acknowledge his intellectual superiority and ideological authority over her mind. She withstood my subconscious attempt to intimidate her and impose my personal views on her.
That was neat.
“You should have just told me what you thought about it,” she later told me as we joked about it, “you didn’t need someone else’s statement to do that.”
There and then, I got a hard lesson on self-discovery and personal freedom. She basically preached my own sermon back to me: Think your own thoughts, and reach your own conclusions.
And I listened.