Keep It Complex, Cretin!

The best stories get you thinking. And that’s usually because they are not simply black and white. They leave you with something to work out; a dilemma, a problem that gets you pondering.

Sadly a lot of stories in our news media, our film industry and our television world, don’t do audiences the honour of leaving something for people to work out.

Some new research shows from a visual point of view, dumbing things down destroys development. In fact it shows that visually difficult images can actually aid comprehension.

Albert Einstein said everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler; “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Likewise, John F. Kennedy once said “we go to the moon not because it’s easy, but because it’s difficult.”

When I hear people trot out the aphorism, Keep It Simple Stupid, it annoys me. Often it is not honouring of the audience. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should always work hard to achieve clarity in all communication, but there is a difference between clarity, simplicity and dumbing down.

I think it is time to share stories that have complexity and depth, that stimulate reflection and actions. The greatest stories are about journeys between dark and light, failure and success. Characters in great stories are faced with choices and dilemmas, and sorting through complexity. Stories need a KICC more than they need a KISS.

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