“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~Leonardi da Vinci
Keep It Simple, Sweetie!
Originally I heard it with the second “S” standing for “stupid.” I like Sweetie better.
I like to think of simplicity this way: what is the essence? Of a communication, task, composition — whatever life dishes up; what is the essence of what is to be accomplished, experienced or communicated? Ask yourself this question before elaborating beyond the essential elegance that is simplicity. Then go forward.
“Practice what you preach, O Lisa!” It is Lou, again. Interrupting. “You do like to go on! Isn’t that why you started this whole blog thing? Man, oh man dude! How many times have I had to listen to you tell me this, tell me that — advise me this and then that!”
After internally trying to get over (once again) the vile use of “dude” for everyone, I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe. Outta the mouths of babes, so to speak. Oh, well — I keep telling him I’m not perfect. I keep saying that in here, too. Trial & error, trial and error. It is a practice, after all, Sweet Lou.
Back to the point. Elegance is a key word here. This “simple” is not the same concept of “bare necessity” as in say, Puritanical thought — not at all! This after all a Beauty practice. Harmony plus simplicity equals elegance: The K.I.S.S. equation. A primary True Beauty equation.
In this context also we want to understand simplicity not as the opposite of complexity, but as the essence of a complexity. Think about that for a moment: simplicity is the essence of a complexity. And lets not confuse confusion with complexity. (A confusing sentence in itself. Ah, paradox!) They are not even in the same family! Confusion may be the result of encountering a complexity we have not yet wrestled to the ground, so to speak, but it is not related. Confusion may be our first clue that there is an underlying complexity of which we are not the mistress. That we may, in fact, be missing the essential simplicity that is at the core.
Simply, to practice keeping it simple:
1) Suss out the core of the task or experience at hand. Identify the essence.
2) Relax; allow it to be easy. If there is melodrama, there is a worrier and a complicator afoot.
3) Call on and engage your other Beauty practices: be present/mindful. Are there any unnecessary NISTs complicating the situation? Get the idea?
I hope that the relationship between simplicity, at least starting in simplicity, and True Beauty is clear.
Lou is calling me in to dinner. He’s made a lovely salad for us! And soup! I am surprised and impressed and tell him so. He smiles slyly at me and says, “Oh, but it is just a simple little supper!”
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. ~John Maeda