Most people want to simplify things down to a basic and perhaps more actionable cause or reason. Is it better to simplify things, or to look for the complexity of the situation, person, or event?
I personally believe that one of the major problems and causes of issues and conflicts is seeing things without details. Simplification has also often been used by tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders to impose fear on the populations, and to blame and scapegoat groups of people.
Decisiveness vs Indecision
Simplification also allows for more decisive action to be taken, or for a decisive opinion to be formed. Seeing the complexity of a situation tends to encourage indecision, and if you can’t decide, you cannot move forward, or make a decision. So, with this in mind, some simplification is perhaps needed in order to take action and make a decision.
Personality & Intelligence
Whether someone is open-minded or close-minded is connected to the amount of details that people look for, or can handle. Those who are high on trait openness naturally have more open and curious minds. It’s the personality trait that connects with creativity, an interest in ideas, and intelligence.
One of the definitions of high intelligence is the ability to see situations, and the world in general in more detail. They naturally see the nuances and complexities of reality. They also tend to have a higher working memory that allows them to keep multiple ideas in their minds simultaneously.
So, hopefully, our politicians and leaders would be highly intelligent people that can see those details, and that complexity. Unfortunately, however, this is often not the case.
Intentional Removal of Details – Ego & Morality
If someone is not lacking the mental capacity to see the details, they may be neglecting them intentionally. Why would they do such a thing? Ego is one reason, rather than admit they are wrong; they may intentionally overlook or remove certain details in order to preserve their-self belief, or to save face.
I believe the desire to be proven right can override a person’s sense of morality. Perhaps their sense of morality was never very high in the first place. In such a case, morality is easily overlooked and it’s not their primary motivator.
Certain desires and needs like achieving social status and popularity are likely to influence and become deciding factors. If nuances and complexity conflict or become inconvenient, or distract from certain drives and needs, they will again likely be overlooked or discarded.
The truth and complexity are often sacrificed by individuals and groups when truth or complexity is inconvenient. After all, humans are very flawed creatures, and generally selfish, even though most would not admit it.
Simplifying issues can sometimes be useful in order to move forward. However, too much simplification seems to be the norm. Plus, it’s also often used for bad intentions, such as making scapegoats of groups of people. Many of the problems in the world throughout history, such as wars and acts of genocide, were only made possible because people either couldn’t see, or ignored the nuances and the complexity of a situation or event.
Understanding how complex things are will help to prevent damaging and impulsive decisions. We also need more truth-seekers in power, and fewer selfish, ego-gratifying maniacs.