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    #1

    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    This is a quotation by Albert Einstein. Could you please explain the meaning of this quotation.

    Thanks in advance


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #2

    Re: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    Do not make things more complicated than they need to be, but on the other hand if they are too simple, they do not make sense.


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    #3

    Re: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    Perfection is reached when there is nothing left to take away. If there is something there that can be removed without effecting the function, then it is an unnecessary complication and should be removed. If you take away too much then you lose information, utility, or clarity. Thus everything has a minimal form.

    Consider the above paragraph for example. Could that have been said in fewer words without changing the meaning? I am always looking for perfect phrasing to convey my meaning, no more, no less, unambiguously, in the fewest words.


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    #4

    Re: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    I am always looking for perfect phrasing to convey my meaning, no more, no less, unambiguously, in the fewest words.

    My view is that language is to be savoured : apple pie is dandy, but add a scoop of ice-cream - la mode -.....

    Clear meaning is one thing, but that extra,well-chosen word, that slight inflection here and there, can bring 'clear meaning' crashing home with cutting effect, or another time, uplift it to bring a smile in response to an otherwise prosaic untterance.

  1. Monticello's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    I am always looking for perfect phrasing to convey my meaning, no more, no less, unambiguously, in the fewest words.

    My view is that language is to be savoured : apple pie is dandy, but add a scoop of ice-cream - la mode -.....

    Clear meaning is one thing, but that extra,well-chosen word, that slight inflection here and there, can bring 'clear meaning' crashing home with cutting effect, or another time, uplift it to bring a smile in response to an otherwise prosaic untterance.
    -following up on David L.'s astute comments:

    Clearly, Einstein's use of the all-encompassing word "[e]verything" should not be taken literally here. Due to its exacting disciplines, unnecessary elaborations and ambiguities within the world of science -- generally speaking -- are to be shunned. Thus, one should probably consider the Einstein quote as limited to the context of things scientific.

    Language, on the other hand, often relies on ambiguities, e.g., as in the case of the double entendre -- the source of quite a lot of humor.

    -from the wiki entry for double entendre:
    Double entendres are popular in modern movies and television works, as a way to conceal adult humor in a work aimed at general audiences. The James Bond films are rife with such humour. For example, in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), when Bond is disturbed by the telephone while in bed with a Danish girl, he explains to Moneypenny that he's busy brushing up on his Danish. Moneypenny's response to Bond is yet another example of double entendre, "You always were a cunning linguist, James . . ."

    Last edited by Monticello; 01-Mar-2009 at 18:53.

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