Ockham’s Razor

Isolate: To cause a person or place to be or remain alone or apart from others; to identify something and examine or deal with it separately.

Simplicity: The quality or condition of being easy to understand or do; the quality or condition of being plain or natural; a thing that is plain, natural, or easy to understand. Late Middle English. From Old French simplicite or Latin simplicitas, from simplex.

Sophistication: The quality of being sophisticated; development to a high degree of complexity; the quality of being aware or and able to interpret complex issues; the characteristic of having, revealing, or proceeding from a great deal or worldly experience and knowledge of fashion and culture. From medieval Latin sophisticatus, “tampered with”.

Elegance: The quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner; the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple; neatness.

KISS: The acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” is attributed to Kelly Johnson, an engineer at the U.S. weapons company Lockheed. Although there are several other variations, the principle states that systems work best if they are kept simple. Complexity should be avoided. Johnson had given a team of design engineers a set of tools, then challenged them to design a jet aircraft which can be repaired by an average mechanic under war conditions with these tools only.

There is nothing original about KISS, however. To Leonardo da Vinci is attributed “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Mies van der Rohe, widely regarded as one of the masters of modern architecture, stated time and again that “less is more”. Antoine de Saint Exupéry, the French aristocrat, poet, writer (The Little Prince) and pioneering aviator has been quoted: “It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

William of Ockham (1288-1348), an English Franciscan friar and one of the major figures of Medieval thought, wrote that “among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected”.