Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The quest for simplicity.

A new Apple product has been announced recently, a new MacBook Air that is the offspring of the union of a Mac computer and an iPad. In addition to multitouch, the new hardware and software incorporate the video phone software FaceTime, an App Store and other popular features of Apple’s hand-held products. Purists are bemoaning the even further dumbing down of the personal computer, while software companies like Microsoft and Adobe fear the advent of a simple click to purchase system in the App Store will weaken their grip on elaborate licensing and installation disk sales. Consumers like Apple products because they don't have to face the confusing multiple software and hardware choices that must be made to use the Microsoft or Google Android operating systems.

What we are seeing in both the consumer economy and in politics is a flight from complexity. The genius of Apple products is that their options are limited, disciplined, and presented simply.

The Tea Party, as well as religious fundamentalism, also reflect this flight from complexity, by offering a simple set of basic principles to be applied in all political and economic decisions. This seems an understandable response of brains so overwhelmed by overwhelming parallel streams of conflicting media input that they shunt aside the mental effort required discern actual facts.

The saddening aspect of this is that people faced with more input than a normal human brain wants to cope with want to be told what to do, what they think (a point made by Google's chief executive and mentioned in a previous post.) Advertisements during political campaigns that appeal to rational thought and actual facts become increasingly futile, as special interests with sophistical psychological consultants craft adds to manipulate people's most primitive fears, desires, and emotions.

1 comment:

  1. "The genius of Apple products is that their options are limited, disciplined, and presented simply."

    That's exactly why I hate Apple products. Evidently it's OK for lots of people, but personally I'll stick to my much more performant Fedora. :)