Thursday, June 25, 2009

Simplicity breeds stupidity
Simplicity is always desired. It throws things in your face, makes it clear and succinct and leaves no room for ambiguity. It makes it easy, clear to the layman. As each layman understands, simplicity becomes famous. Einstein’s e=mc^2 was known to all, but not Poisson’s equation.
Simplicity is preceded by ingenuity and breeds stupidity.
Let me explain before you get me wrong. Think of that man, Einstein. He thought and pondered over the impossible till he made it possible. By his own admission, Einstein said, “I just stay with the problem longer.” And the longer he dwelt, the more visible the solution became. But it is only the man who thinks is enlightened, all others who follow, have in a way, stopped thinking for themselves.
Can I, a layman, travel the mind maze, the routes, the obstacles, the failures, the darkness, the spark that finally led to the discovery of e=mc^2? The answer is no. For me, I get the finished product, only the smooth path to the end result. It robs me of my power to think deeper, to ponder on the alleys leading nowhere and learning from them. I am rendered stupid by every discovery, by every invention that is not mine own. No matter how hard I may force myself to think, there is only so much depth I can plumb, only so much knowledge I can deduce, I am robbed of the entire gamut of learning of the inventor. The simple result in front of me renders my mind incapable of thinking.
I am stupid because I did not receive the same insight to explore a possibility that that Newton did, staring at a falling apple. I am stupid because I do not know the 10,000 ways of not making a light bulb that Thomas Edison does, I only know that the bulb glows. I am stupid, because even as I work on a computer, I don’t know what prompted Pascal to think of making the earliest computer. I am stupid, because every invention around me is gifted from men before my time. I only know so much that the inventor shared, I know not his mind. Even while I feel grateful for the blessings of science and technology, I cannot help but curse them for the stupidity that these inventions breed.
Think for a second of the most developed countries in the world. Think of the US of A. Life is so much easier, they say. Often on the press of a button, you almost get what you want, so much mechanization, and so many processed products – that they allow you to stop thinking. The lesser the struggle involved to achieve, the duller the mind becomes. I don’t have to think of the “how”. In India, there is a word called “jugaad” which implies improvising, managing somehow despite lack of resources. This forces us, the people in the developing nation to think. The day life becomes simple, so will our minds become stupid.