Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Leonardo da Vinci didn’t receive a comprehensive structured formal education. He was primarily and principally self-educated. It was the great experience of the complete and very essence of life which made him realise and bring forward “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Simplicity is always easy to understand. It makes doing stand uncomplicated and effortless. Certainty, coherence and intelligibility are embodied in simplicity. Besides it could always be equated with the crystal clarity of water to understand what transparency and purity it holds. Simplicity remains thoroughly unpretentious. With inherent modesty, it never attempts to impress others and largely seems uninterested in assuming the estimation of abilities with any greater importance.

The word ‘ultimate’ has implications for all the elements of the entire human life. They could be anything from purpose, decision, value, evidence, development to consequences, success, end, downfall and actualization; as this word includes both the end of a process and what is basic or fundamental to it. The ultimate refers to the best which could be originally conceived and achieved with the personal actions of the individual. It is a final fact of an element bringing something out and the fundamental premise of consolidation of peace within. It is considered perfection which comes of simplicity, and clearly understood and acknowledged by someone who themselves manifests simplicity.

A sophisticated person can be the one who has, displays and lives out a fair amount of worldly experience and knowledge of fashion and culture. The person can talk and form judgements with a clear line of thought. He or she thinks and understands things through establishing his or her reasons in an impressively complex and educated manner. The sophisticated person is well versed in his or her thoughts, reactions, perception and discernment because of which he or she is conscious of and in a position to interpret complex issues. Sophistication is about the capability of making fine distinctions when something is so precise that its relative analysis becomes a great challenge.

Simplicity is a perfect realization of life. It is the achievement of something on which we work so hard. A person’s essential being that distinguishes him or her from others can make or fail him or her. Bringing simplicity into being is highly difficult since it involves working on and with the self and goes on working throughout life. Perhaps, this kind of realization of simplicity made Steve Jobs put into words, “that’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Simplicity is a real treasure. When it becomes the much loved and highly valued quality for an individual, the person starts a search for this buried treasure within. One has to bury oneself in real hard work and goodness to have this treasure. This is the only way to have it. One has to possess it to enjoy it and other treasures like it. That is why Lao Tzu treasured simplicity which is evident in, “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

Simplicity is about the best. It never compromises and under no circumstances accepts the standards that are lower than what is desirable. Its point of reference always considers the condition of being morally good or correct. This guiding principle looks for the most appropriate type and quality. This develops into the tendency because of which a person likes and looks interested in something. This tendency leads to supporting goodness and righteousness and makes us understand the depth of what Oscar Wilde said, “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

Simplicity is connected with ‘being uncomplicated’ and ‘making things uncomplicated’ and brings them together disallowing nonessential changed and diverse parts to emerge from unproductive objectives involving complications. We apportion many dimensions to a problem and make it unnecessarily large. These dimensions are nothing but different confusing aspects. Simplicity recommends dealing with one aspect at a time. A clear and concise focus always fast-tracks the thoughts and actions necessary to find out solutions to problems; which Muhammad Yunus meticulously described as “things are never as complicated as they seem. It is only our arrogance that prompts us to find unnecessarily complicated answers to simple problems.”

When tendencies, which have an inclination towards material possessions and physical comfort, and which consider them as more important than non-material values, are all around; simplicity feels extremely suffocated. So it can never be materialistic. It leaves the people and the surroundings displaying this inclination. Materialism is extracted from weaknesses, whereas simplicity originates from the strength of great value. Materialism complicates something to its worse, but on the other hand simplicity makes it the opposite of what materialism does. Albert Einstein defined it while placing emphasis on his experience as “possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”

‘A perfect realization of life’, ‘a real treasure’, ‘touching the best’, ‘being uncomplicated’, ‘making things uncomplicated’, ‘non-materialistic entity’ and whatever other attributes we relate to simplicity, they all have one thing in common. It is the application of simplicity to make things happen, feel them rather discerning them superficially, invent the rational mind, continue delivering what is rightfully expected and what is right, and live to get on well. This application shows that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, since it ultimately becomes basic or fundamental nature of all the elements of life, gives them freedom to make fine distinctions and involves them in reasoning the purpose out, making decisions not to wait for something but keep doing it and let others see it, internalizing principles and standards of behaviour, understanding ‘willingness is meaningless without doing’, and valuing authenticity and self-actualization. As the ultimate sophistication, simplicity takes us to the level which Leonardo da Vinci stated firmly that as a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.