We live in a world of opposites, black and white, up and down, in and out, over and under, but with an infinite array of variations between. Grey, the blending of black and white on a continuum of scale, is the perfect example. Things are rarely black or white, but grey.
What about simple vs complex? Is everything a mixture of the two? Something is rarely only simple just as it might be singularly complex. Or more accurately, something simple to you might be complex to me.
There’s a word we hear often which many people use incorrectly: simplistic. Often when people call something or some process ‘simplistic’ what they are generally applying is that they thing the subject is simple — to them. Simplistic is much more insidious. Its origins are strange, having to do with plants, but today, simplistic generally means that you’ve assigned a theory or answer that OVER simplifies the solution; so much so that that your solution is now wrong, or at least incorrect on certain levels.
I think of simplistic as ‘simplifying to the point of error.”
Today, as I thought on this for no other reason than my mind does such things at times, I thought that everyone’s interpretation of the world — everything in the world — contained a degree of simplistic reasoning. To make our way in the world we must assume much. It’s just the way it is. We assume carrots are good to eat and most people’s assumptions about that would be simplistic. When we think we know something we undoubtedly only know some of it, rarely if ever *all* of it. At some point our understanding of a thing will drift into the simplistic realm.
As I contemplated this I imagined the opposite of this. If a thing had so much white in it and so much black then it was grey. If we think of white as simplistic treatment, what would be the black side? I went searching. Nothing came up. So I dreamed up a new word: Complexic.
If simplistic meant simplified to the point of error then complexic might mean complex to the point of perfect understanding.
If the world if full of opposites, simple to complex, and our understandings of the world fall on a continuation between those two, at some point our knowledge or beliefs shift from simplistic to simple to complex to complexic. That is:
- Our understanding is primitive to the point of being wrong.
- Our understanding is simple but not wrongly so.
- Our understanding is thorough, absorbing the complexity of a subject to where we generally understand it quite fully.
- Our understanding is so complete that, for this topic, we’ve reached what we might call a topical nirvana, masters of the subject.
Do you have a complexic understanding of something or some process in the world?