Simple things tend to be static and singular. Like Legos.
Complex things tend to be dynamic and multidimensional. Like string theory or genetics.
We run into problems when we either complicate the simple or try to simplify the complex.
Our job is to achieve clarity.
Our work should offer others direct access to both the simple and the complex.
Anything else blocks our work’s ability to connect with others.
When it comes to how we complicate the simple, think gossip.
With gossip, we take something simple (i.e. the truth) and we place a façade over it. We complicate it. Which blocks others' access to it.
We do this when we try to make our creative work look and sound certain ways that aren’t true to our subject or ourselves.
When we try to make the complex simple, we place a façade over something truly complex—the façade of simplicity. Which complicates it. And, like complicating the simple, it blocks others' access to it.
We do this when we buy into those misleading “3 easy steps to success” delusions.
To keep the simple simple, we must cut through the façades blocking our ability to see things as they really are.
Which means, at times, we might find ourselves playing a gadfly. Or even a heretic.
And to make the complex accessible, we must pursue genius.
Think about the times you've found yourself in a conversation with an incredibly smart individual. Without over-simplifying the subject, they have a unique ability to explain complex things in ways that make sense, don’t they?
For those of us who are writers, artists and creative types, we deal with the complex: human emotions, culture, history, myth, psychology and a range of other issues and experiences.
For those of us with a more spiritual approach to existence, we deal with the complex: philosophy, theology, translation, tradition and a range of other beliefs and practices.
And for those of us who run businesses and households, we deal with the complex: time, resource allocation, technology, systems and a range of other components.
We are surrounded by clutter.
We are barraged with spin.
Let's not complicate things.
Instead let's pursue clarity.
Let’s keep the simple simple. And, when able, make the complex accessible.
How have you redirected your creative work when you’ve caught it trying to complicate something simple?
And how have you redirected your work after discovering that it over-simplified something truly complex?
I’ve done it! And still catch myself doing it. And, as you might imagine, I’m desperately hoping I didn’t complicate this rather complex subject!
Keitharsis is a blog for creative people. My goal is to help you overcome blocks and burnout that hurt you, your work and your community of supporters.