Most of us love simplicity, but ironically, most of us hate doing what it takes to produce it.  A 2-hr movie is powered by HUNDREDS of work hours.  A house is more than just a set of walls; it is a network of structural supports, wiring, and plumbing.  A user-intuitive smartphone is a dazzling array of carefully engineered considerations.  It is only by plunging into the depths of complexity that we can surf its waves, then—through skill and audacity—return once more to the shores of simplicity.


25 thoughts on “Musings

    • Yeah and that is a good place to see it; Leonard’s dialogue is probably the best ever, and even though it reads as smoothly as butter, I’ll bet that it took him many hours of practice to learn where to omit words so the reader could understand what the character was saying AND get the benefit of that snappy, nonstop feel that he puts into his dialogue


  1. I prefer complexity – the complexity of a smile (created by complex regions of the brain, coordinated and transmitted by a million neurones, jumping axons, stimulating motor end plates and causing waves of polarisation along muscle fibres that stimulate actinomyosin bridges to slide along each other to create contractions – just the right number of fibres, swapping and interchanging seamlessly to create the width of a grin). It is sophisticated, complex and brilliant.
    Then there is the complexity of a handshake, a wave, a laugh, a cry, speech – such levels of immense complexity that enable friendship, love and empathy.
    I love complexity. We have to work at that too. Nothing is simple.

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    • I like the converse of that: how such simple elements can make very complex things. Binary code could write Shakespeare out of just cleverly arranged zeroes and ones. Every naturally occurring thing in our universe is composed of one or many of 94 naturally occurring elements of the periodic table. Only four nucleobases (thymine, adenine, guanine, and cytosine) can make an entire genetic code for a single organism (and on top of that, thymine only pairs with adenine, and guanine only pairs with cytosine).

      Even as a knitter, I can take such incredibly simple things, the knit stitch and the purl stitch, and with some careful steps, I can end up making incredibly complex like a sweater or a shawl. Even something with cables knit into it is just usually knit or purl stitches that have had their order rearranged with a cable needle. (Of course, knit lace is an exception, as it uses more than just knits and purls.). Don’t be weirded out by my yarn geekery.

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  2. The key is complexity versus difficulty. Complex things don’t have to be difficult. Difficult is, more often than not, created by the one that tries to avoid complexity. Difficult is sometimes “naturally occurring”, but that is far less common than we lead ourselves to believe. I, unfortunately, am living proof of this far more than I should be. Still my opinion, but one formed on experience and reflection.

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    • I agree. Sometimes people romanticize difficulty at the expense of precision and getting the job done. Things don’t need to be noble quests and giant validations of worth; I say just have fun and do the best job possible

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  3. This is what I wonder about lately as I read, whether fiction or non-fiction. A short story can seem simple, but the final result that we have in our hands doesn’t reveal the hours and hours of first drafts, second drafts, rewrites, indecision, self-doubt, grit and determination that are layered behind the pages in front of us.

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  4. I was fortunate to meet one of the claymation masters who helped create Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run. She worked with a group of kids to make a barely 20 second video using those techniques and it took more than 30 minutes! Made me realise anew how important it is to take time and appreciate craftsmanship.

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      • The master I met told us a funny story about Chicken Run. It appears when people shape clay, they wet their fingers and go at it. ALL of the creators do this. One entire section of clay chickens ended up quarantined, one of the artists ended up with (for real) chicken pox and infected the rest of that group working!!!

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  5. “I will not simplify. I will not simplify; I will be complicated. I will be so complicated; yes, I will be complicated, complicated.” ~ Math Rebellion

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