Simplicity-Complexity Part 1

Day 269 Week 40 Q3  Monday September 26, 2022

Schuman by Howard
Tangle and untangle concept. Courtesy Getty Images

We all crave more simplicity as our lives are very complex but the simplicity not the near side of complexity does not address reality. What we really need is the simplicity on the far side of complexity where we have processed the complexity to remove what is extraneous and are left with a simplicity on the far side of complexity. 

The simplicity on the near side of complexity can also be called reductio absurdum, more easily said baloney! When faced with a complicated problem like for example climate and someone comes along and says, “oh don’t worry about that it is not real”, it may be comforting and simple, but it “just ain’t true”.

You can not wish away problems by saying they do not exist. On the other hand if you want to be sane and stable, you can not afford to be driven crazy by everything bothersome that comes along. This is not denial but managing yourself. 

Yes we do want life to be simple enough to deal with, but no we do not want to do this by totally avoiding responsibility or by blaming everyone else except for ourselves. If we do there is the danger of throwing away free will with the bath water. For those who would rather blame others the take reasonability, what happens when they get blamed later. In World War Two Mussolini thought Hitler had his back, and he did until he then didn’t. Try and remind resent day Italy of where that strategy got them last time. The country just went for the simplicity on the near side of complexity. This will not go well for them, it never does anywhere, anytime.

This is not meant to be primarily a political opinion, for it works in every field. What as much as you want every day because it is simple and you will likely die younger because of it. Just throw the garbage out your window instead of going to the dump, it is not going to go well for you. In every case I can imagine the simplicity on the near side of complexity results in a bad outcome. 

On the other hand there are plenty of simple things that can be said which are true. For example yes you are busy, and yes you have to get a lot done, but if you do not get enough rest, it is not going to go well for you. Do, you need 4 hours or 6 hours or eight hours of sleep? Well, I guess you have to figure it out and out it may not be so simple until after you figure it out but once you do, it then becomes simple. \

How much effort does it take to learn a new skill? Of course it depends. And sometimes it may not be worth it at all. What about the context? Some people will say wait – do not bother me with details. I do not need them. And sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong. 

Context does change but that does not mean it does not matter. Say for example you say you want to play guitar but all of the very famous musicians you know play very expensive instruments and you conclude that you can not even consider learning to play until you afford an instrument that is well beyond your means. That is poor thinking. That is the near side of complexity. What if for example you found you could get hold of a lower level tool and improve it? Well it not work with a violin but it might work with a guitar. You have to look at the details and then things can get very simple.

But, context helps and the time to understand it helps too. Can you be pursuing diminishing returns on your time. Could it take ten times as much effort to deal with ten times as much complexity? Sure do you want to be times as good yourself and maybe 100 times more valuable? 

Better take the time to understand a bit more of the complexity.

To be continued….