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Simplicity is hard

David Weinberger has an interesting thought.

Knowing has been primarily a way of seeing the simplicity behind the world's apparent complexity. But now as a culture we're busy complexifying everything we can. E.g., blogs take a simple idea and turn it over and over in their hands, poking at it, trying it this way and that, connecting it to that other thing over there.
Are we complexifying things? Or rather, are we complexifying things more than any of our forebears?

I'm not sure. I tend to see all the turning, poking, trying and connecting that blogs et al. afford as the process of proving an idea, whether that idea is complicated or not.

And extrapolating from a base case of one, I suspect people still want to know things in the traditional sense, to see the simplicity behind the world's apparent complexity.

For me, the advantage of everyone being able to do this together is that the breadth of our combined cultural and educational backgrounds is both a great forge for new ideas, and a powerful, rigorous testing ground.

The disadvantage, though, is that, as you engage in this process you cannot help but be aware of how much more complexity there is in the world than was apparent, and how hard it might be to see any simplicity.

Ho hum.


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Yes, I mostly agree. Actually the complexity is more in the fact that more raw data (information?) is available to us and filtering signal from noise is often a tough process: you get a piece of something and you try "digging in" for that certain amount of satisfactory coverage that allows you to feel "acknowledged" in the traditional way of meaning... but you can't help stumbling in a growing number of references and links and points of view etc. So either your knowledge threshold raises or maybe your curiosity just gets triggered with more and more new "small things"...

Makes you wonder if increasing complexity is a part of our continued evolution or downfall. I am sure there is some law about simplifying complexity but I can't get my head around it.

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