Truth is an enigma, but there are scatterings of Truth in universal truisms. These truisms are plentiful, none are equal. The further from Truth they go, the more truisms there are, but the less true they are in turn. There, they become a ‘noise’ while fewer and truer the truths become. In that way, the closer to Truth one goes, the simpler the space is as are the truisms found.
Truth tends towards simplicity.
A diamond cannot be uncovered while there’s rough. Gold cannot be picked unless the silt is panned out. Grain does not grow if choked by weeds. A body cannot breath if drowned. About seven things is what a human mind can hold. About 150 persons is what a single individual can keep track of.
To simplify is a cornerstone of existence. We see this exampled in everything from the composition of cellular life to the decomposing of atoms into baser parts to the simplicity of the equations that describe the fundaments of reality.
It is a challenge to think of what, when added, makes things simpler. The act of taking away brings things into focus. Take myself:
I trimmed my professional "expertise" from game design, production, illustration, programming, and mathematics into tools engineering, serving me with above-par pay and sharp skills.
From aiming to please any-and-everyone, relationships of all sorts have become straightforward - my experience knows "why what works with who," making any decision involving others near immediate versus requiring deliberation over months and years.
My time, previously split between an immense variety of activities and active interests, boils down to creation (writing, game design, sketching), being of use to others (tools engineering, exploring problems) and myself (working out, learning), and achieving a sense of order (planning, chore completion).
Even this blog used to be many goals spread over a quarter and two posts, now regulated to four goals in a single month in a single post.
Yet, simplicity’s opposite – complexity – pervades. This, too, appears to be natural. Planets gather moons to add the complexity of tides. The simplest atom hydrogen is incredible unstable, binding itself with other atoms to form more complex molecules. Organisms evolve to add necessary features, even if that’s combining symbiotically with other creatures.
Life itself could be described as a pattern within the universe that attempts to stall its own entropy. That pattern does whatever it can to survive, which through evolution, has brought forward more complex forms.
Humans too generate a ‘gravity’ to add things to their orbit of concern. Another task makes it onto the ‘to-do’ list. Another acquaintance boosts the follower count. Another car needs payment. Another interest of the moment divides attention. Another another another.
Though how often has “another” brought suffering to life? The pain of indecision contrasts with the toil for more, a common masochism a sleepless person who takes on another responsibility shares with the pet that gorges itself into ache and vomiting.
We cannot help adding complexity to our lives. But as another card is added to the house or another plate is brought to spin, our lives become more perilous.
Our wants are simple: Comfortable environment, quality sleep, satiation in emotion and nourishment, a feeling of worth, and energy to pursue the things we intend and find interesting and survive without cars from what we don’t. Our ways and whys are many more than these.
This complexity resembles what it is: a construction. How well it is built is directly linked to the foundation of planning and intention that goes into our lives.
Complexity can serve a purpose. As mentioned, life will become more complex to survive, with a caveat: The nature of the universe abhors doing anything that is not needed at the precise place and time. When complexity arises, it must be judged, especially in ourselves, since humans are awfully good at justifying what exists, regardless of correctness.
Is this object or situation or action as simple as it can be? Does it serve a necessary outcome here and now? How can it do the easiest thing possible?
A medicine is highly complex but any more or less than necessary ruins its purpose. A wall with its many parts crumbles with any more or less than the required stones. A body – a miracle of moving parts – with any more or less than a very small range of temperature, water, or calories destroys itself.
It’s simple: The farther from the simple a thing strays, the more the thing destroys what it is. Such change is a guarantee. Whether the consequence of the change is intended is up to how simple the origin remains.
Managing change is incredibly useful. For a person, if a situation is unacceptable, that person can add to their life in some ways, subtract in others. Once a person finds a place where they are contented, no more gets added, no more gets removed. They have simplified to a level of stable complexity so they may begin to survive. And to survive, to live, that is a Good thing to do.
In that way, to simplify conforms to a universal truth, reduces suffering, better reveals Truth in its many effects, and is one of the few truths that best represents the Truth.
Occam’s Razor – No more, no less. That which is less indivisible is preferred.
Newton’s Rule 1 – It is vain and unnatural to do more than what’s required.
Tao’s Greatest Treasures – “Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being.”
GI Bill of Rights – Four pages with simple language lasts 77 years and still serves tens-of-millions.
Abrahamic Religions – There is only one cause to the universe and it requires respect for being unknowable.
Theory of Evolution – That which exists came from before and changes over time in the most efficient way possible.
Greek Creation Myth – Out of immense complexity comes a simple few things which then gather to themselves immense complexity and suffering thereby.
Prime Numbers – A value so simplified, it cannot be divided any further without ending what it fundamentally is.
Feel-Good Chemicals – The sensation of pleasure is triggered by only four hormones.
Entropy – The ultimate simplification, the universe flattens all complexity into nothingness over time.
Something to live by. Cheers.