The "Complexification Compulsion" is Really a THING!

in The LIFESTYLE LOUNGE2 months ago

Personally speaking, I have always subscribed to the idea that "less is more."

That can be applied in so many ways, to so many aspects of life. I believe that a simple and elegant solution to something is by far preferable to one that's complex. If nothing else, fewer "moving parts" to end up going wrong.


Mrs. Denmarkguy is on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization, and she eternally telling me about the "idea bloat" and "creeping elegance" they seem to apply to every single issue they work through.

I'm pretty sure that things do not get better, just because they are a lot more involved and complex.

But the weird thing is, a lot of people seem... well... not satisfied when there is a very simple answer or solution to a problem they've been wrestling with. It's almost as if they feel less important if there's a quick, simple and easily applied solution.

I remember watching my old neighbor (and family) back when I lived in Texas, trying to solve the problem of his riding mower ending up in the creek because part of the bank gave way... and how to get it back out.


I looked at it and suggested we hammer a piece of re-bar into the ground, attach a cable to the mower's towhook and drag it out with a manual come-along, of which I had a couple in my garage. Simple, easy, would have taken a little sweat and maybe 5 minutes.

But that just "wouldn't do." Instead, five adult men stood around and rigged some system that involved copious amounts of lumber, a tractor and a backhoe... and extensive damage to the lawn. The whole process took three hours. I just shook my head and left, after 15 minutes.

The Complexification Compulsion takes some weird — and occasionally unhealthy — twists and turns sometimes. Love is often one of those times.

There's this funny paradox that we hold ostensibly "unconditional" love in very high regard as something we ultimately wish for... and yet, many people don't value unconditional love when faced with it. It is as if love that is freely given somehow is less interesting and holds a lower value than love that requires us to transform into a pretzel, climb over mountain ranges, and then perform untold 100's of challenging tasks in order to earn.

Just look at the formulaic love in fairy tales!


It's all part of that strange human twist that we tend to value something about as much as we have to pay for it, whether financially, emotionally or with "sweat equity." Which sheds light on why lottery winners and people who suddenly inherit a substantial amount of money are far more likely to end up poor again after a few years than people who work their tail off to build their fortunes.

Mrs. Denmarkguy often observes that her clients who pay $150 for a session seem to learn and retain far more than those who get pro bono sessions.

But there's a further paradox hidden in there. In the case of "conditional" love and complex processes, they may be valued more highly and yet they are also more likely to FAIL.

Which might point us at the unfortunate reality that many of us want things (love, experiences, projects) to be A Big Deal but actually A Big Deal isn't in our best interest.

Meanwhile, I remain quite content to be one of those "outliers" who prefer the simple to the complex.

Thanks for reading, and have a simple day!

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Created at 20210106 23:59 PST



Great article! It's a pleasure to see you're still writing.

The Texas shituation made me chuckle and I envisioned a King of the Hill cartoon and maybe you were Kan in this episode.

Nature is a perfect example of simple elegance and efficiency,on the surface that is, but the intrinsic complexity is in reality so brilliantly composed it only appears simple.

Me: BTC is 7k you should definitely buy some if you can.

Them: it's a scam and has no value

Me: BTC is 37K I'd probably wait for a correction to invest.

Them: I sold my car and got a loan to buy half a BTC, see u on the moon!😂

Hah! Well, the suburb-town in Austin where I lived was an awful lot like "Arlen," and it was very much a King of the Hill situation! I think my neighbor with the mower was Hank, and the neighbor from the other side was Boomhauer.

Love the BTC example... just more evidence that most people follow trends rather than chase them...

I see pointless library meetings and bureaucratic bloat passed off as progress. People want to make mountains out of molehills.

Yeah, that's more or less what my wife is dealing with at the moment. She's actually putting on her "Corporate Battle Armor" right now for a meeting where she's going to make a LOT of people unhappy by cutting to the chase...

Maybe it's a case of those who feel powerless to somehow feel more important.

The classic politician's syllogism, "something must be done, and this is something, so this is what must be done," combined with perverse incentives, overcomplcation, and bureaucratic inertia. And people wonder why no progress happens.