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Complexity and Simplicity

N. Luhmann once stated that complexity can only be utilised as a sigh now – “Oh, everything is complex!”, if one wishes to distinguish complexity from simplicity. The simple has been lost. In physics, from the smallest to the largest, in education, in ethics, in politics etc., nowhere is simplicity to be found now. But if everything is complex, then the concept loses its meaning. If simplicity no longer simply arises, then the concept of simplification comes to the foreground. Simplifications are created.

Simplification would then be the task, which all systems would have in order to handle complex conditions. Simplifications are created by ignoring most of what is possible and which has an effect on the system (the telephone only reacts to sounds, not to sign language, writing or expression!). Simplifications are also created by not combining everything with everything in the system (“He is the boss and tells us what to do!”). From these trivial examples, you can already recognise that such simplifications have consequences. They don’t consider much, including some important things. This becomes particularly significant, if it (by necessity) causes consequences which were not considered, which the system (or other systems) neither wanted nor benefitted from.

Thus, it is no wonder that the consequences of a simplification-based approach to complexity in the world, as a whole, has a retroactive effect on organisations, teams, individuals and nature. The solution cannot lie in avoiding simplifications. However, it raises the assumption that one requires other simplifications.