Thought for the weekend: on simplicity.

Pompeii. Summer adventures 2010.
Photo © Steven Gray 2012

I was initially going to open this post with a quote from William of Ockham, the progenator of “Occam’s Razor.”  However, when refreshing myself on the history of Occam’s Razor, I learned that the original quote was hardly as pithy or strongly-worded as its modern incarnation.

Ockham originally wrote “entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”  He said this in reference to the impossibiliy of proving the existence of God through pure reason.

The contemporary interpretation of Occam’s statement is applied much more broadly as the “Law of Parsimony” or “Rule of Simplicity:”

“Other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one.”

We live in a complex society.  And, sadly, it’s easy to reject simple explanations when they might actually be the way to go.  I tend to harp on weight loss and nutrition, but it’s hilarious how people seek out complicated answers when they simply don’t want to make the changes necessary to change their lives.  “Blood type” diets?  Come on!

Relationships have become too complicated.  I don’t want to always be blaming technology for everything, but a lot of the people I talk to on a regular basis allow for Facebook and social networks to influence their assumptions and interactions of and with other people more than actual, spoken conversations.

Let’s not allow our perceptions of life to get in the way of life itself.  Be objective.  Be clear-headed.  Keep feelings and memories partitioned so that we can learn from our experiences instead of rewriting them in our minds.

Perhaps the best modern-day interpretation of Occam’s Razor is the KISS Principle:

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Advertisements