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On Simplicity...


The world is a complicated place, which is strange, seeing as how most of the laws of the universe are amazingly simple. The best creative ideas too can often be simple. You know, the ones that, when other people show you, seem obvious. But why, then, didn’t you think of them?

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art, chaos, genius*, ideas, inspiration, knowledge, seeing*, talent, thinking, vision


‘I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.’

Poul William Anderson

‘Less is more.’

Robert Browning

‘1. Out of clutter, find simplicity.
2. From discord, find harmony.
3. In the middle of difficulty lies harmony.’

Albert Einstein (his three rules of work)

‘When the solution is simple, God is answering.’

Albert Einstein

‘Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.’

Albert Einstein

‘It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.’

Albert Einstein

‘Simplicity and order are, if not the principal, then certainly the most important guidelines for human beings in general.’

M. C. Escher

‘The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought.’

Richard P. Feynman

‘Phenomena complex—laws simple….Know what to leave out.’

Richard P. Feynman

‘It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.’

William of Occam

‘Very simple ideas lie within the reach only of complex minds.’

Remy de Gourmont

‘Anything simple always interests me.’

David Hockney

‘For every problem, there is one solution which is simple, neat and wrong.’

H. L. Mencken

‘The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.’

Hans Hoffmann

‘Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.’

Charles Mingus

‘Whatever is most abstract may perhaps be the summit of reality.’

Pablo Picasso

‘Plurality should not be assumed without necessity.’

William of Occam

‘To arrive at abstraction, it is always necessary to begin with a concrete reality.’

Pablo Picasso

Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification.’

Karl Popper

‘You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.’

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

‘This paper of yours is so lightly written that you must have sweated terribly.’

Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

‘An intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.’

E. F. Schumacher

‘Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.’

Henry David Thoreau

‘In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify.’

Henry David Thoreau

Seek simplicity, and distrust it.’

Alfred North Whitehead

‘To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.’

Oscar Wilde

‘I’ll tell you what you need to be a great scientist. You don’t have to be able understand very complicated things. It’s just the opposite. You have to be able to see what looks like the most complicated thing in the world and, in a flash, find the underlying simplicity. That’s what you need: a talent for simplicity.’

Mitchell Wilson

‘Less is only more where more is no good.’

Frank Lloyd Wright



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