Due to the imminent start of the online course “Team Lead” we invite everyone to sign up for an open demo lesson “The first steps of a team lead in a new place.” At the webinar, participants, together with an expert, will discuss:
– How to start a new lead?
– What processes should you pay attention to?
– Where do quick wins hide for fast growth?
And now we offer you the traditional translation of interesting material for reading.
The pursuit of simplicity is solely for generating our approval, not our understanding.
There is nothing that people hate more than not knowing their place in this world. We constantly look at the world around us, desperate to define our value to it. But determining this significance is not easy. Like a hurricane, there is no single root cause in a complex system. The harder you look in the wrong places, the harder it will be to find it.
One of the reasons for this is our desire to find a simple explanation for everything. As a society, we celebrate simplicity. We demand it from our government, colleagues, friends and even family.
Simplicity gives us a cognitive anchor. The apparent clarity it provides gives us confidence that we can survive in this complex world. In many ways, this is not so bad. I’m sure the electrical and plumbing systems will provide me with tea in the morning. I am confident that brushing your teeth will prevent tooth decay without delving into the fact that its main cause is the destruction of enamel. In these cases, you don’t need to understand all the complexity; you just need tools to deal with it. A simple explanation is permissible here, because motivation is a “causal relationship.”
On the other hand, a simple explanation, such as the claim that the coronavirus was made in a laboratory, also provides a cognitive anchor. If something is so easy to understand, how could it be wrong? Especially when the alternative requires an assessment of complex interactions between biological, psychological, social and unknown.
Resisting such simple explanations of a complex problem requires much more of us. It forces us to stop, take a broader view of the situation, estimate the level of complexity and realize the limits of our understanding – it’s scary. Accepting something difficult is an act of humility in accepting the unknown.
“Everything should be done as simply as possible, but not at all simpler.” This is Einstein’s saying misquotedoverlooking the last part, “but not at all simpler”, or as he actually said: “an adequate representation of a single datum of experience.” I think what Einstein is trying to say is that the goal is not simplicity, but understanding.
Simplification work is an exercise in making information accessible. Those who receive this information should be helped to make informed decisions. Oversimplification is probably only in the interests of the person doing it. This is how people turn simplicity into a weapon.
Suppose you want to communicate the agenda and limit discussions to, for example, company policy or strategy. It is probably in your best interest to bypass all subjects that do not fit your goals. This is a double blow to our freedom of thought. Reducing an idea to empty words is deceptively seductive in its ease of understanding and deliberately limits the parameters of discussion.
Chomsky and Herman are probably best known for describing how similar techniques work in propaganda… They argue that by limiting the “parameters of the discussion”, we are actually generating public approval. Which, in my opinion, works for both society and organizations.
For example, you can simplify a complex set of ideas into a catchphrase that is hard to disagree with, such as “Make America great again,” “Hope,” “Change,” “Peace ”Etc. It makes us feel the depth of the discussion somewhere at the level of the children’s pool; when in fact its depth is like the ocean. “Do you support our troops?” Is not the same question as “Do you support the politics of the war they are fighting?” Chomsky says you have to START by saying, “Well, I am NOT supporting the troops,” but by then you have already lost.
It’s a vicious circle. As the barrier to perceived understanding is reduced by removing conflicting information, it reinforces confidence in our newfound knowledge. The pleasure of understanding the concept convinces us of the validity of the simplified explanation. We have taken away the work of developing an informed opinion from people; which only further polarizes rationalization in society.
Simplicity is the ideal vehicle for radicalizing monistic thought.
So what’s wrong with such a life? If a person is happy, feels strong and understands their importance in society, what more could you ask for? The problem lies in the mismatch between the obvious understanding and what actually needs to be understood. When we decide that something needs to be changed, and we try to apply “cause and effect” thinking to a complex problem, we fail. Our negligence is revealed to us only when something goes wrong.
Now you don’t need to fully understand a complex system in order to change it. You start by realizing that its individual components produce a more tangible effect than the sum of its parts. This requires the humility I talked about earlier. It is a shift in thinking in awareness of the limits of our own knowledge. For example, when you study the points of view of those with whom you disagree. This requires us to work on forming our opinion, including admitting that we do not know something. Take at least 5 minutes a day to read one news item and I guarantee you will be surprised by the results.
This does not mean that now we should strive to complicate things in order to prove reality. Like simplicity, complexity can be turned into a weapon, but this time to scare people away from interacting. An ironic situation arises. Desperate to regain control of the problem, we have to tackle these potentially misleading simplistic explanations even more.
Don’t know how the financial-industrial-state complex works? Well, it’s actually simple, it’s the Illuminati who are working on brainwashing and controlling the will of the masses. I hope you catch the irony here. For a recent example, take a look at the looming collapse of the QAnon movement in the United States.
Our goal is to enable people to use complexity to make it easier to understand. It is a privilege to be in a position where people trust your interpretation. Start by considering the individual’s needs and the risks and reversibility of decisions that can be made based on an understanding of those needs. The less reversible it is, the more time you should spend studying them.
Our principles should be based on ensuring the autonomy of peoples. I encourage you to create a platform where people can surrender to humility and find space to develop various ontologies. Anti-simplicity for the sake of simplicity.
Acknowledge our demands with due humility, and since we are caught up in a common darkness, and few of us are thrown into it with a greater purpose (at least in terms of the entire history of mankind), we must practice understanding and mercy. – Isaiah Berlin
If you’re interested in learning more about complexity, how to break it down and how to work with it, I think the following resources will be of interest to you:
Cynefin framework – the starting point for dealing with complexity
On Media p. 1 – Consent to production (podcast)
Learn more about the course “Team Lead”…
Watch the webinar “The first steps of a team lead in a new place.”