This might be fun to try with words on magnets…

Approximately 100 things arranged by complexity
My first attempt at the complexity challenge. Click to view. Toward the left side is fewer parts (including no essential parts/immaterial) to the right is more parts and more dynamism, including sheer number of(non-essential) parts (size), chaotic motion and incidental motion.¬†Going down is less need for specific shapes, less intricacy of parts, fewer connections between different parts, less variety in parts, and in general less essential systematic organization. I added some words, such as “computer” and “advanced robots.” The two “bed”s and connecting line illustrate what could be done with a number of words that actually cover broad concepts (in this case, from a selected spot of ground to a four-poster bed with box-springs and down mattress). The groupings are also illustrative of others that could be made.

2 thoughts on “This might be fun to try with words on magnets…

  1. While I think “complexity” is worth defining, your chart tells me it’s too context-dependent to become orthodox. Each item seems complex or simple depending on what it’s considered related to. I fear one will have to create a specific spectrum of complexity-simplicity for particular instances. Or am I missing some assumed context for your chart?

    1. Well, you should know as well as anyone about the quixotic quest to do something about what’s considered orthodox. You are quite correct that the complexity of something depends on context. The chart actually combines several dimensions or spectra of qualities providing context, like a depiction of a 3D (or higher) object in two dimensions. The Earth could be considered highly complex if you take into account the biosphere, but all that is required for it to qualify as a planet is that it have a certain mass, have a star as the focus of its primary orbit, and one or two other things. The complexity of its biosphere can be disregarded on the scale of the solar system, just as we wouldn’t rate the complexity of a baseball by including the bacteria that may be crawling all over it. Similarly, while stars are the largest unified bodies in the universe (not counting the gravitational constraints on nebulae, etc.), they are essentially chaotic masses of hydrogen, and so do not display systematically organized dynamic complexity. Thanks for chiming in with that insightful observation.

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