Friday, March 12

Simplicity.

I like simple things. Information may be simplified in a crude way, say for children, which makes it easy to understand but also distorts the information somewhat. To correct these distortions, you can start to add in the corrections - the details, as it were. But in the process, you make the whole corpus more complex, and as it becomes more accurate it also loses its accessibility, so that soon it requires an adult mind to comprehend it, then that of a specialist, and so on. But I firmly believe that, like those Zen masters who return to simplicity in their teaching and yet leave out nothing in the way of truth, knowledge of any kind at its very best and most complete returns to a simple, unifying model for those who have the gift to stand back far enough to gain the perspective necessary to but see it. Then they can write simply and accurately.

Like Eastern metaphysics, I think Western intellectual endeavors need to achieve this kind of "level up" simplification. Indeed I'm not sure there is a difference between Eastern and Western intellectual philosophies at all. Any that seem to exist may be semantic and imposed by us as a species, for there exist widely different cultures and modes of expression and understanding on this planet as a result of long geographical separation without easy communication, a form of "island isolationism" which has only recently changed. As East and West continue to merge I think it likely that we'll find we've merely taken different roads to reach Rome.

But back to simplicity, and to books. I like children's books, but they are dissatisfying in some way as well, because most of them conjure the suspicion of something being hidden from you. I also enjoy complex scientific textbooks, full of taxonomy and intricate detail and endless levels of complexity to explore. There's a sense of them being "treasure troves" of mankind's collected information and inferences. But most of all I enjoy a simple book written by a "master" which seems to really sum up the essence of a thing; to leave nothing out, and yet to be utterly clear linguistically and conceptually. These types of books are few and far between, but they are the type I like to fill up my library with, and the type I would like myself one day to write, if it is possible for me to do so.

2 comments:

Hans said...

Have you ever read any books by JRR Tolkien?

Metamatician said...

Hmm...

Archived Posts

Search The Meta-Plane