MINIMALISM & INTELLIGENCE, Minimalism

MINIMALISM & INTELLIGENCE

By Fabio Zaniboni 


The Oxford English Dictionary defines simple as "of very low intelligence.” 

It is fascinating to me how much the meaning and interpretation of symbols (semiotics) say about a culture. I grew up in a cultural divide where my western friends praised and searched for greater complexities as a challenge to their intelligence and my mathematical studies were taking me to undecipherable levels of complexity and my nights spent at reading Eastern Philosophy books were taking me to ethereal and unreachably simple truths.

I truly believe that the definition of simple should rather be “of very high intelligence.” 

The most intelligent people I have ever met were able to make the most apparently complex subjects look simple and within the grasp of the average person. The most skilled artist make their work look easy and simple. We unconsciously recognize the professional, the master and the intelligent because of their ability to convey simplicity in their domain.

This is not just my perspective. It is a view shared by many, including some of the top thinkers and artistic talents the world has known.

“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” ― Albert Einstein

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” ― Isaac Newton

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ― Confucius

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” — Plato

"Simple can be harder than complex, you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple" — Steve Jobs

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” — Frederic Chopin

I am very interested in your take on minimalism and would love to see your comments. 

8 Comment(s)

  1. Another wonderful quote on simplicity: “The ultimate in sophistication is simplicity.” -- art critic Leonard Thiessen This is an interesting quote in that one of the definitions of sophistication is "the process or result of becoming more complex, developed, or subtle." Now, the concepts "complex" and "subtle" are both qualities that might seem to contradict each other, but in reality, are opposites to both "plainness" and "complicated." Within this context, simplicity could be said to be parallel to minimalism... and minimalism, well done, is the ultimate sophistication!

    1. Great quote!

  2. Totally agree. The purpose of each person's life, soul mission, etc...should also be simple: learn/teach spiritually, specifically the lesson of Love oneself and other selfs enough so we can advance to the next level. Bring with us all life experience on our way back to the Creator. Complicated math/confusing formulas/run-on theories will not work well.Things can be complicate in detail level but zoom out in a certain distance, it should be condense and simple enough to be stated in a few paragraphs. if not, then all the "fats" needs to be trimmed and further reduce to the "hearts" of the matter..

    1. :)

  3. awesome article, I relate to everything said, that's are business slogan 'less is more" 20 years ago when I started in the industry the engineer who thought us programming always said always follow KISS when commissioning systems (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    1. Yes - that is another way to put it :)

  4. From the Tao Te Ching, "Behave simply and hold on to purity". I agree with your assessment of simplicity being a more complex than people give it credit for. Minimalism and simplicity are often looked at as "lazy" terms and techniques whereby one applies Occam's razor to design to get a result. In truth, it requires a greater self consciousness and security with the inherent natural being of the entity to allow it to be more simple (and thus, pure). I have found that the more insecure people/designers are, the tendency is to fill the product with "more" to justify its presence and being. I have been a follower of Taoism and Zen philosophy for a long time, and have come to find a marriage of it's acceptance of simple and "now", with the real world's demands. It is not an easy task

  5. Always interested in lighting.

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