I’m terrible at hiding my disdain for bureaucracy in all its forms.

Because of bureaucracy, government officials who obfuscate the democratic process flourish over those who try to bring clarity to it. Businesspeople who are able to shake the right hands and manipulate the right paperwork succeed over those who bring real value to their customers and supply line. Defendants who are able to afford the right lawyers can dodge sentencing in perpetuity, while those who commit far less heinous crimes go to jail for life.

Bureaucracy is the result of some damn good ideas gone awry. It’s a buildup of dust on top of a beautiful and practical artifact, to the point where the dust weighs more than its host. It’s ballast that was meant to stabilize a fair and just system, but drowns it instead.

It may be a fool’s errand to try and save the system from bureaucracy, but it’s very possible to save yourself from tangling up your own life in unnecessary hurdles and rules. To establish sound checks and balances, without the too-specific catch-alls that end up weighing down every decision, resulting in legally-supported logical fallacies.

Instead of piling on rule after rule, diet after diet, solution after solution, and philosophy after philosophy, once a month take the time to explore old ideas. Old biases and lessons. The things you picked up from your parents as a child, and from your schoolyard chums as a fifth grader may not mesh with the eureka moments you had as a college student or while traveling the Yangtze. Making sure the core principles you’re acting upon day to day are based on ideas and experiences you still believe in is key in establishing a bureaucracy-free moral compass.

You may not be able to reconcile everything you’ve ever learned or done, but you can cut out the deadwood and eliminate the unnecessary from your philosophical hope chest.