The saga continues … here’s another helping of WYSIWYG + WISIWYR (from a prior post, “What You See Is What You Get” plus “What I Saw Is What You’re Reading”).
This time around, it may be helpful to admit that these observation thingies aren’t being published for reasons much more than their entertainment value. I don’t want to come off as being “preachy” or exhibiting a “Better Than Thou” glance down my nose.
I see humor in most cases, albeit a mixture of funny, satirical, weird, sometimes sick, dark, and/or barely perceptible humor. I’ve absolutely no intent to disrespect, dissatisfy, demean, or otherwise throw other “dis’s and dat’s” maliciously in your direction, dear readers. On “this side of the eyeballs,” it simply is what it is.
OBSERVATION #3 – “KISS”
“Words to live by,” according to those “in the know.” Perhaps a romantic interlude to others. Still, to others, just a collection of pseudorandom letters that, collectively, might appear to have meaning.
This week’s article, on the observations of the things that surround us, is more “dimensionally focused” – noting things like sizes, intensities, and complexities instead of names, places, and things.
For those of you whom have yet to figure out our initial enigma, here’s the explanation in a nice and easy quip, “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
Many substitutes for that last word exist, from the kinder and gentler “Silly” (which in and of itself makes the four word maxim sound silly), to the “Un-P.C.” “$#!+#[email protected]” (language that would make a grown college student cry and seek a “safe place”).
Our focus, however, is not on the maxim’s intended recipient’s title. Our focus is on the maxim’s first three words.
— OCCAM’S RAZOR
No, this isn’t about shaving. Nor is it a fancy title for the marketing gimmick thought to have been discovered and developed by King Camp Gillette.
If you’re old enough to remember disposable razor blades, you should be familiar with the gimmick – sell the public an inexpensive yet ingenious device that holds a razor blade at the proper angle for shaving while calling it a “safety razor.” Then, over time, sell expensive disposable razor blades to the lucky shavers, with design features that prevented a competitor’s blade from working properly.
Thus, you create a repetitive market for your product.
When the public starts to “catch on,” and razor blade sales start to falter, introduce a new gimmick on the old blade – like the new and improved “Blue Blades.” (I remember “Gillette Blue Blades” extremely well. I was issued one inexpensive Gillette Safety Razor and two packs of Gillette Blue Blades in Navy boot camp; along with my ditty bag.)
But, then, I digress.
Getting back to the “razor” (in this case, the definition of “razor” is “a principle”) attributed to its namesake, William of Ockham (a 14th Century village located in the county of Surrey, England)…. William of Ockham was a Franciscan Friar and scholastic philosoper and theologian.
His principle, or “razor” (sometimes referred to as the “law of parsimony”), targeted problem solving. In high-brow science-speak, it relates that:
Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily;
Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
In everyday, you-and-me-speak, that can be whittled down to something like: The simplest answer is usually correct.
— “WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?”
In the words of its time (Latin), for those purists who are hanging on every word I pen, choose one or all:
“Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate”
“Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora”
“Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”
It’s all the same – simplicity rules, and complexity sucks. The principle holds true everywhere, even here in Paradise though (as my observations bemoan) it’s seldom practiced here. The above 500 words are a fine example – “not practiced here!”
— WE CONTINUE …
In my observations, there’s an air of importance and authority in complexity, within these islands. The labor of seeking a simple answer to a “Yes/No” question makes my point.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a simple man. I was raised in simple surroundings, and taught to be direct in providing a simple, easily understood response to any “Qs” finding their way to me. Why make life any more complicated than it already is?
Imagine, if you would dear readers, the difficulties in my adjusting to this new environment and to the responses of those inhabiting it. This adjustment, while a labor of love, is a labor as hard as a day in the salt mine. It’s hard.
For example, let’s try, “Is it raining?” Normally, I’m expecting to hear either “Wen (O-o) [Yes]” or “Awan (Hindi) [No].” Simple, no? What I often receive, however, is a combination of amateur weather reports mixed in with all of the known consequences that rain or the lack of rain will bring. The monologue is sure to include a healthy helping of personal opinion, and an occasional “return question” wanting to know why I am asking.
The “Adjustment Meter” usually “pegs out” at this point.
— YET, ANOTHER …
In the world of local commerce, the need for adjustment is yall too obvious. “Excuse me, but do you sell <fill in the blank with your most favorite, difficult to obtain item>?”
In commerce, it’s often a “team effort” with the first responder (after a seemingly obligatory head scratch), will defer to a second. The second to a third (after the ritual-like rake of the pate), and so on until the “keeper of the knowledge” is finally presented. Then, all sit or stand in awe as the multi-paragraph pronouncement is authoritatively uttered.
Post-performance, the simple questioner nods in agreement, pays for this new-found knowledge with words of gratitude, and simply walks away wondering, “Do they sell <blank> or not?”
— OH, IT’S NOT THAT BAD
You’re correct. For those of us who are engaged in the daily routine of adjustment, it’s not bad at all. On occasion, it’s even a bit comical.
Still, for “John or Jane, fresh off the plane,” it’s a clash of cultures at its very worst. If this introduction to adjustment occurs at the airport, following a tiring and trying flight (or set of flights) around the globe, the clash could easily go nuclear.
The term, “Ugly American” (or whatever the nationality may be) might very well be aptly displayed in action then, cementing the “U.A.” character of all foreigners deep in the hearts and memories of all who observe it.
The main observation here is that “It is what it is.” Adjust and accept may be your only allies, but you’ll not find better allies anywhere.
P.S. Try to keep it simple.