SIMPLIFICATION: an abstraction process abetting the delusion that nature is less complex and chaotic than it is

The imposition of form onto the chaotic complexity of nature is a process of simplification. Nature is always more complex than the supposed simplicity of the conceptual pattern abstracted. Simplification is a template conceptually superimposed upon a situation, in an attempt to render the incomprehensibly complex predictable.

All living things need to be able to simplify the complexity of nature in order to survive, whether it be finding food, a mate, shelter, or avoiding catastrophe. Unless an animal can identify significant aspects of its environment, by simplifying forms out of the chaos, it will be unable to survive. Similarly, all human activities like art, religion, science and mathematics are attempts to confer a structure of simplicity on the enigmatic intricacy of the cosmos.

The perception of physical entities is a process of attributing conceptual form. The shell of a univalve mollusc may have the form of a horn or a turret ascribed to it by biologists... as a supposedly discriminating characteristic... but the description functions rather more as a name than as a structural property. Mathematicians might be tempted to initially describe the shell as a conical pyramid but although that would be a more specific description than one which biologists might use, it barely stands up to the most elementary comparison. Any further attempts to formulate the diverging spiral structure... by using the mathematics of space vectors for example... only serves to accelerate a diverging confrontation with the chaotic complexity of the general shell structure which is riddled with irregularities at all scales. Formal descriptions of a piece of rope... for the purposes of engineering computations say... are constrained to a few very simplified general parameters like length, average circumference and tensile strength. The unsimplified reality is one of individually unique filaments, twisted into spiral strands, which are in turn twisted into further spirals, by a process which induces multitudinous chaotic deviations and debris. The fern is not a fractal any more than the shell is a cone, the sun is a sphere, or the rope is a spiral. Fractal mathematics provides for the simplified consideration of various natural structures... which hitherto had been awkward and intransigent... but to suggest that nature is full of fractals is an extravagant mischief.

The simplifications used by individuals to survive their circumstances are only able to be abstracted from their experience. The accumulated experience of any one individual is so small, that any attempted simplification or generalisation will simply indicate the limits of that individuals experience. Social scientists are inclined to see things in terms of group dynamic simplification patterns. Physical scientists prefer to explore the relevance of subatomic models. Artists see the world in whatever way allows them to develop their talents and portray their visions. Religious adherents submit to bizarre absurdities in the hope that the suggested reality patterns will bring some order and control into their lives. From whatever perspective, simplification is the pragmatic response to an overwhelming complexity.