Thought du Jour: Complexity and Contradiction

Where there is no complexity and contradiction, there is tyranny.


gaudi - park-guell-hypostyle-room-home-under-the-terrace

The path towards refinement requires the embracing –rather than the denial — of complexity and contradiction.

There’s something compelling about simplicity and consistency – we tend to be more attracted and convinced by that which is easily understood, by those things which have sublime austerity, and by those truths that are uncomplicated. However, when this aesthetic preference becomes a moral imperative, we get ourselves into trouble.

Show me a place of absolute clarity and concordance, and I’ll show you a place of oppression.

The smaller the matter – the more singular the function of the object in question –the more simplicity one can bring to bear, before becoming overbearing.

..and yet, notice that even in the sparest of art forms, when done well there is an inherent tension, a contrast, a twist, a pattern interruption.

How much more so in larger matters, such as systems… and people.


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on January 14, 2013, in Architecture, Art, Learning, Life, Management, photography, Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m so glad I’ve found your site. I’ve been thinking about necessity of contraditions for a while now and this post explores well this idea.

    To cage this flexible and mercurial being called human within an inflexible system is indeed a form of tyranny. No one can demand consistency from us without demanding that we abandon our nature.

    And yet I still love the simple and austere systems of thought like stoicism and physicalism 🙂

    • Very eloquently stated, Lukas, re: “..this flexible and mercurial being…etc.”

      This suggests that on a larger scale the most effective systems are the ones that find a way to incorporate a measure of conflict, without falling apart. A classic example, used mostly in political governance (though notably lacking in organizational governance) is the separation of powers.

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