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. 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 which drowns it, instead.

It may be a fool’s errand to try to save the system from bureaucracy, but it’s possible to save yourself from tangling up your own life in unnecessary hurdles and rules. To establish sound checks and balances, without too-specific catch-alls that weigh 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, take the time once a month 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. Make sure the core principles you’re acting upon today are based on ideas and experiences you still believe in. This 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.

Update: April 4, 2017

This is something I still do, though typically during my daily silence/meditation sessions. My mind drifts toward old storylines, old moments in time, and I try to assess what I knew then, how things have changed, and what I thought about the world. It’s amazing how many of those old biases and beliefs stick around, despite your modern self being so much wiser and less gullible than your childhood self. They’re like vestigial organs that evolution hasn’t gotten around to getting rid of because they’re not in the way, even if they are useless or cumbersome, or could be harmful at some point in the future.

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