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Simple Elegance

Simple to Simple vs Complex to Simple
Posted by: Natalie
May 10th, 2006

This post is a summary, mostly to serve as a reminder, of some of my thinking at this time about complex and simple…

The Short: An Analogy

Today we live in a world that would prefer to eat a table spoon of white sugar over digesting an apple for instance, and in the digestion ending up with sugar…as well as other nutrients: all benefit of having participated in the digestion process…

Worse still, many of us are now substituting the spoon of sugar for a spoon of ’sugar’ (nutrasweet etc) - artificial means of receiving our sugar needs, which doesn’t even off the energy rich potential of simple sugar - chemical filled, it is aso potentially dangerous…

We seem to keep reaching for the spoon of sugar, or ’sugar’ [sugar tm], which leaves us ‘full’ momentarily, yet what does such simple energy do? It quickly leaves us sluggish, de-energised and mal-nourished…

From Analogy to Reality

…We live in an increasingly complex world. Or perhaps we are appreciating and again seeing its complexity?

I should add that in my mind there are at least two types of simple, best illustrated by Einstein’s quote:

"Simplicity this side of complexity is worthless, Simplicty on the other side…priceless"

Curiously, many of our models and ways of seeing focus tightly on the need for simple on this side of complexity - quick fix, magic bullet, 10 steps until you…type models. Fixed and rigid over flexible dancing and dynamic.

The reason I find this curious is because it is like we are all ok to pull the proverbial wool over own eyes. We know that things don’t happen in clean neat little plans and packages…we know that things are interconnected and thus changes in one area have impacts on another area…we know that there is a natural time / digestion process enroute to coming to the great idea…and yet we seem to keep wanting to eat a table spoon of sugar…or worse still, something that isn’t even the simplication of the solution we are seeking in the first place…

I am not arguing against simplicity - I crave it. But I crave the real simple…elegant simple…why are we settling for the false (empty, un-nourishing, de-energising un-healthy) simple?


PS Somehow this quote sticks in my mind: "Alfred Marshall once said that short words are usually bad economics"

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