Let us say I have to carry water from a stream to my house. Now this is very easy and monotonous and tiresome. However, I can take this burden from me and install a pipeline with a pump set - and then I will have an almost unlimited supply of water to my house at no sweat. Who worries about the extra cost when there is a thing called debt? After some time the pump set breaks down or the electrical supply is stolen - the latter being standard practise in our country.
All I have now done is exchange one simple problem for a more complex one. My life is becoming more and more complicated as I devise the one labour saving device after the other, as my laziness, leisure time and living standard increases. I should have kept it plain and simple.
The analysis of the real problem is done with a method called abstraction. To understand abstraction better, I give you another example.
Our family are going on holiday. I, as the head of the family, tells everyone to get into the car at 6 o'clock sharp tomorrow morning, otherwise I will leave without them. That is my level of abstraction. My son knows that he cannot just get into the car. He will have to carry the suitcases from the house and pack the car. That is his level of abstraction. My wife knows that she cannot just give him the suitcases - she needs to pack them. That is her level of abstraction. Our housekeeper knows my wife cannot just pack the suitcases - she must first iron the clothes - her level of abstraction. When some of the members of the family are not in the car the next morning, I can't just shout at my son for the suitcases and people who are not in the car. I need to go to the lowest level of abstraction to find out what went wrong.
I grew up without telephones and electricity and computers and televisions - and I can tell you it was pure bliss. Why are we escaping on safaris and other adventures these days, just to get away from what? We had picnic at the dam on the farm for a holiday and that was it.
Ok, ok, ok - we need our luxuries. I most of all. But at what cost do they come?
And then I cannot help but go back to our philosophers of old. They devised all sorts of complex explanations and expositions and hypotheses to explain who we are. Why did we want to know that? Back then we all knew exactly who we were. Our names and birthdates and how much money we had in our savings tins, we could recite from memory when you woke us up at night. These days I cannot even remember my bank account or PIN numbers, or how much money I am overdrawn, having bought quite a few things I did not need, just to save me some money I did not have. And now it is : I owe, I owe, I owe, it is off to work I go.
Picnicking at a quiet dam somewhere on a farm would have been much more enjoyable, but I fear I have already tasted dinner at the Ritz, so to speak, and I cannot go back.
I close this part with Occam's razor.
Occam's razor is attributed to the 14th-century English logician, theologian and Franciscan friar Father William of Ockham (d'Okham), although the principle was known earlier. Ptolemy stated "We consider it a good principle to explain the phenomena by the simplest hypothesis possible", while phrases such as "It is vain to do with more what can be done with fewer" and "A plurality is not to be posited without necessity."
When things have become too complicated and involved, let us start again and try and base the same theory on much simpler assumptions. We will have found much simpler lives for ourselves then.