Principle 65

This entry is part 62 of 98 in the series Principles

The Principle of Economy

Some have used the phrase “Law of Economy” but I haven’t seen the principle behind it described. It is time someone put it into words.

Here it is:

When any form of intelligence manifests a workable idea into physical existence the final, most useful form will have eliminated all excess motion and energy expenditure. In other words, the final creation will operate at maximum efficiency with as much simplicity as possible.

The French Franciscan friar, William of Ockham, in the 14th century did not fully define this principle but observed its effects and described how they manifest as follows:

“Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily” or “Plurality should not be posited without necessity.”

Previous to him Aristotle expressed a similar idea, “Nature operates in the shortest way possible.”

Since Ockham’s time scientists have simplified the idea to read: “when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.” They have even simplified the name, reducing it from “Ockham’s Razor” to “Occam’s Razor.”

Finally human culture has reduced it to, “Keep it simple stupid,” or the simplest of all – KISS.

The Principle of Economy allows us to understand the creative process from the engineering aspect from beginning to end; whereas Occam’s Razor gives us the logical approach to reverse engineer something an intelligence has designed.

In other words, a competent creator uses the Principle of Economy to successfully manifest his idea. Therefore, an intelligent being who wants to understand the creation by studying it is wise to consider that all the ingredients function in the simplest way possible. If he sees with too much complexity he is not likely to understand correctly.

Those using Occam’s Razor are like the scientists who have found an alien spaceship and are trying to figure out how it works.

Those using the Principle of Economy” are like scientists who build a spaceship from scratch with the idea of making it as functional and efficient as possible.

Occam’s Razor and the Principle of Economy imply that simplicity rules in intelligent creation. This does not mean though that all creation was a simple thing to accomplish or understand. A flower, for example, is an extremely complex creation. Even so, all its parts and processes function in the simplest way possible. Without the use of simplicity and great efficiency, the flower could not even manifest.

The flower is so complex that all the scientists in the world have yet failed to reverse engineer one, yet as they look into creation, step by step, great simplicity is revealed within that which is complex.

In Darwin’s day scientists thought that the cells of a flower, or even a human, were merely a simple mass of nebulous protoplasm. They never dreamed about the complexity of DNA, RNA and all the intelligent electrical interplay among the trillions of atoms of which it is composed.

Still, as scientists make discovery after discovery they find great simplicity and efficiency amidst the great complexity of creation.

The use of Occam’s Razor is useful for scientists as they proceed step by step in discovery of this universe, and all that is in it, but it cannot quickly reveal all the layers behind the creative process, except through a long process of time.

However, when discoveries are made we always find that the Principle of Economy was at play in any successful creation.

Why is it that atoms of hydrogen, helium and oxygen have the same components and function in a far away island universe (called a galaxy) as here in earth?

The answer is the Principle of Economy guides intelligence to manifest the same creation in far different locations. Two creators following the Principle of Economy with the same idea will wind up creating the same thing operating on the same principles, even if they work independently of each other.

It is interesting that on the same day that Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone that another man, Elisha Gray, also applied for the same thing. The only reason Bell got the patent is he technically applied a few hours earlier than Gray.

Were the two phones totally different?

No. Because of the Principle of Economy in creation they both operated on the same principles.

A computer is generally considered to be a very complex instrument, but all of its mind-boggling processing begins with the great simplicity of the binary system of just two numbers, zeros and ones.

By putting billions of these zeros and ones together in the most efficient way possible for usefulness they are able to create thousands of complex computer programs, such as Microsoft Word that I am using as I write this.

The same goes for the creation of your body and everything in it. As we descend further and further into microcosmic matter we cannot find anything solid. All we find are wavelengths composed of an up and down corresponding to the zeros and ones in your computer.

The creation of all things begin with the duality of positive and negative. The two polarities multiply and then are intelligently organized. When guided by intelligence they organize according to the Principle of Economy to manifest some grand idea that is to be made flesh, or into a usable or beautiful material form.

That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.  Steve Jobs

Copyright 2015 by J J Dewey

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