The Simple Life of Humans

Humans often conflate simplicity with understanding. While understanding begets simplicity and knowledge, simplicity in its own sake is often utilized not as a means to teach but one of one’s own psychological comfort and weaponization.

While the world is more complex than usually presented, those who truly understand something can deconstruct obscure concepts into understandable bite-sized bits that even “five year olds” can understand. The point of knowledge is to share and build upon it, and this can only be done when concepts are simplified. After knowledge is digested, we can go on to simplify and add relating concepts onto it to understand more about our world. To sheerly make knowledge more complex than it is may be a means for scholars to obscure their field or edify their egos ostracizing those outside their spheres from contributing the oeuvre of a topic.

Humans tend to believe in simple slogans and be complacent in what they know. This stems from the phenomenon called psychological anchoring, as we revisit the same ideas we know, make decisions based off of it, and share it ad nauseam, as they are ideas we are complacent with. Slogans are an example of simplicity weaponized, as it is difficult to not agree with broad-sweeping positive statements such as “Make America Great Again”- I mean who wants Ameirca to be terrible, or “Do you Support our Troops?”, where of course you do, but you probably don’t support the governments initiatives behind them or the raison d’ etre of their existence in Middle East.

Not everything is meant to be simplified- tomes of artistic work to scientific journals are meant to be complex as they convey exactness in the jargon utilized. For instance, saying that an artist’s chiaroscuro reveals depth may be less lengthy than saying the light and dark shading technique. The way one speaks may also be cultivated due to personal experiences and knowledge. The concepts we associate with and sophistication of our speech may be a personality keynote that shouldn’t be changed.

It would be an oversimplification on its own to argue that language should be simple, and that only those who can difficult concepts into simple terms are the ones who truly understand- sometimes the world is more complex, and humans are just unaware. It is important is perhaps not idolizing simplicity as a virtue in and of itself or to propagate simple messages, but understand and expand upon its context for meaningful conversation.


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