Tag Archives: Einstein

Simple, not simplistic

We need more simple people. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

The best ideas are simple, never simplistic.

E=mc2 is simple. Einstein had other, earlier formulations, but none had the elegance of energy equals mass times the speed of light, squared.

Even a child can recite his simple formula. Few can comprehend its profundity. Einstein provided insight into the nature and relationships of matter, energy, light, and gravity.

If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. It’s simple. And yet there have been countless fad diets, promoting simplistic ideas like “don’t eat x.”

Simplistic ideas often resemble simple ones. Simple ideas summarize complex insights, while simplistic ideas remove them.

The only way to tell a simple idea from a simplistic one is to conduct a forensic audit, listening to the account an idea gives of itself.

The simple idea can not be superseded. It can explain even the simplistic competitor. The reverse is not the case.

Example: any fad diet that works involves eating less calories than you burn.

No one comes up with a simple idea until they have perceived, studied, and comprehended complexity.

Take something complex that you understand, and find a simple way to represent it: a mathematical formula, a picture, a phrase, a neologism.

Use your representation as a means to provide a fuller account.

Be simple, not simplistic, and serve the world.

This new model of the universe requires no math and goes great with Jägermeister


I DON’T RECALL who first said that time is an illusion: it could have been a famous theoretical physicist, or one of my uncles, or that guy in college who’d always want to talk about quantum mechanics after six Jägermeisters. And, yes, it’s true I haven’t kept up with some of my uncles—so theoretically the crazy college guy could have become a physicist and married one of my aunts, in which case all three answers are the correct answer. Read even a little bit of theoretical physics, and you’ll quickly see that weirder things have happened—and they’re happening all the time, all around us.

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