We all too often equal complexity with complication:
Complex is when something consists of many different and connected parts.And boy do we complicate things. And boy do I hate it. And boy do we often use it as an excuse for not rocking the boat!
Complicate is to make things more difficult or confusing by making it more complex.
I think the sentence "but it is much more complex than you think!" may be my most disfavoured sentence, a message I hear much too often. Actually I think only once would have been once too much.
It is the first step to complicate things. Worst, it's almost always used as an argument to stop all further discussion. Intellectual laziness I call such.
I once studied chemistry, mathematics and physics because I liked it. No I loved it.
I'm sure there are readers out there that have felt the same when the "aha!" hit them after struggling with a particular concept for hours or days.
Have you ever wondered why?
Not that I want to challenge Greek philosophers or any other fine thinking around this theme - but for me it was the following:
Everything is complex. Every day we meet hard-to-understand issues, complex as they are, above all for natural phenomena.
With 6.022 X 10ˆ23 molecules in 18 grams of water, add a few gazillion more and different molecules into the pot and how could it not be complex?
But then a student got his head around the atoms, then how they react with each other and build molecules and suddenly the complexity was possible to handle. A finite number of atoms, some rather not complex set of rules and much of the stage was set for an understanding of what happened in my beaker.
That is when I got the "aha!" and complexity was no more a threat. Actually I started to love complexity.
Note that I did not reduce the complexity, nor did I simplify - I could now "see" and accept all the parts and their relationships, the whole complex molecular world - a much more gratifying and useful situation than the simplify-all approach of the alchemists!
As with the chemistry I once studied, the only way to handle complexity and diffuse complication is to be radical and go to the roots, find the basic building blocks and their relationships then rebuild an understandable complexity that can be used in every day life.
The sentence should be "it is very complex, so let's roll up the sleeves and see what parts it consists of and how they relate to each other!".
Complexity is nothing to be afraid of, on the contrary it should spur us to go and explore and understand. Beware of the complicators, they're just lazy!
Enterprise Software, running enterprises, a most complex area that increasingly is complicated by many - a most ripe area for radical exploration me thinks. What fun it'll be!