humans, simplicity is that which is simple to them. Simple matches
one's sensibilities, knowledge, intuition and expectations. If
it didn't, it wouldn't be simple. What may be simple to one human
may not be to another. What may be simple to humans may be simple
only to humans.
Simplicity has long been used by humans to define supposedly
absolute things like cosmic truth, goodness, beauty, logic and
purity. There are a number of problems with this. One is there
is no proof that cosmic truths, for example, are simple. Another
problem is simplicity, and thus what is defined as cosmic truth,
is in the eye of the beholder.
* * * *
Normal, even subconscious thinking involves simplification,
translating complex information into something understandable.
Conceits are simplifications.
Your visual perception involves simplification-- interpreting
a complex scene, grouping and labeling the objects according
to your experience, focusing on what you seem to recognize and
ignoring what you don't. Visual illusions and mirages shown throughout
this book involve simplification. The scene or graphic is translated
by the viewer into something understandable, an understandable
translation that happens to be wrong. This alone proves that
simplicity is not proof of truth, and that truth isn't always
simple. Lies are often simpler than truths.
* * * *
Simplicity, of course, has many practical uses. Scientists
strive for simplicity in theories and testing. A scientific theory
that is needlessly complicated will needlessly confuse students
and seasoned scientists alike. Needlessly muddled theories are
harder to test, study, correct and understand. In our daily life,
good verbal communication requires simplicity, including using
words, phrases and language the listener understands. If a traveler
speaks only English, it does them no good for you to give road
directions in Spanish. Road directions in Spanish may be simple
to a Spanish speaker, but it's complicated to someone who doesn't
know the language.
(c) david rudd cycleback, cycleback.com
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