19 Jul

Not sure if I have written about this before. May be I have. But, one has to vent out their frustrations too in a mind sharing community like this..isnt it? And, chances are that, everyone will have a list of “n” topics in which they get frustrated. So, the manifestation of it in different forms do show up when one keeps it transparent…

Anyway, one of the common terms used in a company is that, some “xyz” is very complicated. I get annoyed whenever I hear that term. There are things that I understand and things that I dont. Not because I dont understand it after reading up on it, but rather the ignorance part of it. I think, just the ignorance aspect of a topic doesnt make any topic complicated. It just means that it may not make any sense when someone talks about it. But, once you understand, you know what it is… Here, the term “difficult” should not be confused with. Something that is difficult to understand could be termed complicated. But then, if something is difficult to understand, then it just shows that one is more ignorant in the topic talked about. For example, a brand new recipe for a chef is something that he can understand though it could be very difficult from a layman’s perspective. When I say this, I do have to mention that some people just ride on terminologies. For example, they will use the term LRU instead of least-recently-used or LIFO instead of last-in-first-out when they talk to someone who is already ignorant of what the other person is talking about, making it seemingly difficult to understand hence move towards branding it as complicated. When you know the real meaning, a lot of it would make obvious sense.

I understand that people strive for publicity and being termed elite and so on. But, if the purpose of the conversation is to just prove that, like an interview or a marketing/sales pitch to another company, it makes perfect sense. But, when it comes to pure transfer of knowledge, it is not about telling people what you know, it is about telling them what they don’t know in a language that they can understand. If that were the case, nothing is as complicated as it may seem. I do agree that, as you add more and more detail to a concept, it does get a little ugly to quantify in a simple statement. But, all concepts are built on basics and everything else is just an if-else condition within that basic theme. Bottom line, good speakers and good listeners can make this world less complicated…:)


Posted by on July 19, 2007 in From AM-KICKING blog


7 responses to “Complicated…

  1. Mad Max

    July 20, 2007 at 12:30 am

    Very nicely framed blog. As usual, my way of thinking is go to the roots. Let us define the word complicated. In simple words “difficult to analyze or understand” probably captures the idea.

    Imagine me talking to an astrophysicist about “cosmic dust” or say “neutron stars in binaries”. While this sounds like jargon, to somebody exposed to astrophysics it is common language. For a layman, a search on google will probably give you some idea on the subject.

    However, to understand what these things really mean, one needs far more understanding on the foundations of astrophysics. Therefore, even if read about this subject, my comprehension level is likely to be low, given my weak training in physics. Such concepts can be complex because everybody is not trained to think on all possible dimensions.

    On the other hand, there are situations where, while jargon might put off people, it may not be complex(for instance in your LIFO example).

    So how do we resolve this problem. First assume that somebody did use jargon. Also assume that it was in the process of a dialogue. My question is if A does not understand what B just said (B uses jargon), then why should A not request B to explain what he just said?

    B says: LIFO is optimal compared to FIFO for our firm.

    A says: Dude, what does LIFO and FIFO mean.

    A very simple mechanism to solve to problem. In fact this is the strategy I always use when confronted with something I do not understand. If B is sincere and knows what he is talking about, an answer should be forthcoming and it will help improve our knowledge. But if B has no clue on what he is talking about but wants to use the jargon just to prove a point, you have put him in a spot (which I dont think is a bad idea).

    The point to note is that an explanation on LIFO is relatively easy for any person exposed to the english language alone and hence it is not complex to understand. Here the use of jargon cannot be linked to complexity.

    But if I’m discussing Fermat’s last theorem to a historian, the chances that even the most succinct explanation leading to the historian thinking that the idea is complex, is very high.

    In the end we are all boundedly rational individuals!

  2. Manohar

    July 20, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    @mindframes: True, hiding ignorance behind the word complicated is frustrating.

  3. Survivor

    July 22, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    One of my friends always used to say,” Nee venuna complicate pannikalam” for everything. Everything has a simpler solution as MadMax pointed out. Again, I think if we read MadMax’s comments talking about Fermat’s theorem, astrophysics etc, it does look complicated…:-)

  4. BrainWaves

    July 24, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    The frustration comes when we think we can understand and the other person thinks otherwise. (kind of insult to our ability)

  5. Mad Max

    July 24, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    @ brainwaves: that was a cool one dude…i agree 100%…

  6. Manohar

    July 24, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    @brainwaves: I’m sure that frustration happens to you a lot…. ho ho ho
    U set urself up for it buddy!

  7. Srikrishnan

    July 26, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    manohar@ For that, I should think what I know is “complex” to understand.


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