Simplicity and Clarity: A way Out of Confusion

By Mario deSantis, February 19, 2000

a world of infinite choices I can see a world of infinite choices where we all can make a difference, instead we are experiencing
a crazy world where law and order is maintained by legislating unconstitutional laws, where
economic growth is calculated through the Gross National Product index, and where governments
willfully misappropriate and mismanage public funds.
Our world is getting very convoluted Today, (February 16) The StarPhoenix reports that two senior constables have been suspended in
connection to a homicide investigation of two Native men discovered frozen to death(1), and that
seventy protesting farmers chained up the doors of the Legislature Building yesterday afternoon(2).
In the meantime, a delegation of business people headed by Janice MacKinnon, Minister of
Economic Development, is taking a trip to Mongolia. Our world is getting very convoluted, full of
ambiguities, and there appears to be no end to this social nightmare in Saskatchewan.
  As I ponder to our social and economic mess, the word simplicity comes to my mind; and
simplicity is what could rescue simplicity is what could rescue us from this social and economic mess. The term simplicity
has been propping up quite frequently lately, but unconsciously I have cherished simplicity
as a natural way to make sense of the world around me. Simplicity is just common sense, that
is the discerning of whatever is important from whatever is irrelevant or equally a way to
distinguish "the forest from the trees" . Simplicity is a natural concept, a way to find order or
  clarity when we are in a state of confusion.
keep it simple and stupid Whenever my son James had to write essays or research papers for his university's classes, I
would tell him, among other things, "put yourself in the readers' shoes and see if whatever you
say makes sense", also I would add "be logical with the continuity of your sentences and put
as many references as you can." I would finish my preaching saying "always remember the
KISS principle, keep it simple and stupid."
  Simplicity is the most natural way to behave, yet our convoluted world has been imposing its
stupid idea of being sophisticated artificialities on the way we behave and do our work. I cannot ever forget the time in the late 70s
when working for the Saskatchewan Health-Care Association (today's Saskatchewan Association
of Health Organizations) I came across computerized input forms containing so many fields which
had to be filled and which were not later processed by the computer system. When I asked why
those fields had to be filled, I was told that the computer system was too sophisticated for me to
understand. So, to be in business meant to be sophisticated and not looking for simplicity. Luckily
enough, I never bought into this stupid idea of being sophisticated and behaving like a puppy dog.
In few words, our world is filled with too many sophisticated leaders who make a mess of our work,
  of our time, and ultimately of our lives.
our natural way to behave Simplicity is a simple term describing our natural way to behave, to make sense of the world
around us, however it has been ignored by our sophisticated leaders, in politics, in business, in
education, in governments. But simplicity has been always with us in our homes with our moms
as they would look after our well being by feeding us, by taking us to bed, by taking us to school
and teaching us the basics for becoming decent human beings(3).
  In my home-office, I have a bulletin board and on it I have a copy of the letter Timothy Shire wrote
Simplicity and clarity on behalf of my son James as part of his enrolment process to attend the Master of Business
Administration program at the University of North Dakota. In this letter, Shire writes "...During
this winter I published several articles by James in my daily online magazine/journal and the
reason I published these articles was because I thought their simplicity and clarity would serve
as excellent examples to high school and post secondary students who need to see models of well
written material that fits well into this evolving world of electronic documents..." Simplicity and
  clarity, that is what is needed in this convoluted world.
the most important competitive advantage for corporations Today, I have a great sense of satisfaction in realizing that simplicity and clarity have been hailed
as the most important competitive advantage for corporations, governments, schools and
universities(4). Today, when racist cops may have killed innocent people, when our governments
mismanage and misappropriate public funds, when our politicians and bureaucrats cover up their
misdeeds with lies over lies, then more than ever we require to make sense of what is happening
around us and go back to the basics of simplicity and clarity.
  General reference: Articles by Mario deSantis published by North Central Internet News


City cops suspended, by Dan Zakreski, The StarPhoenix, February 16, 2000, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Protesters chain door of legislature, by Lisa Schmidt, The StarPhoenix, February 16, 2000, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Wear Clean Underwear: Business Wisdom From Mom, by Rhonda Abrams, Villard, 1999


Simplicity: The New Competitive Advantage, by Bill Jensen, Perseus Books, January 2000