Sometimes, watching TV, I am struck by how often people seem to think that the most powerful words in the world are clichés.
This seems to be the heart of the “beginner’s mind” school of enlightenment, where oversimplification is seen as wisdom.
What else would a culture raised on marketing in 10 second bites value than sound bites?
If you read Bart Eherman or any other Bible scholar, you know how important it is to identify “scrivener’s errors” by looking for differences in copies of ancient text. Sometimes these are just transcription errors, like misspellings or skipped text, but sometimes they seem to be deliberate changes in the text.
When the scholars look at these differences, the rule of thumb is simple: the more complex text is more likely to be right. Over time it’s simplification that creeps in to erase nuance, to mitigate challenging texts.
In other words, simplification is usually the problem, not the essence.
Oprah, well, she’s teaching the most important course ever. It’s not CPR, no. It’s Eckert Tolle explaining the power of now, the essence of oversimplification, the banality of beginner’s mind.
Of course, deconstruction is a key part of growth. If you can’t get past reactionary knee-jerk assumptions, you can’t engage the new.
But new ain’t marketing oversimplified banalities.
New is complex, amazing and challenging.