On Complexity and Fear of the Unknown

Two New Cognitive Biases?

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Ahh the fractal, best friend of computer desktop background images for nerds for 25+ years and counting. You can’t talk complexity without talking fractals. Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay. Pixabay, Baywatch, with Pixies.

The propensity to view a system (or possibly a thing) which is complex as somehow morally inferior/less desirable than a system (or thing) which is simple even when there is no evidence that suggests this. The word is a combination of complex and negativity. Sort of like a moral/ethical code derived from Occam’s razor.

In homage to H.P. Lovecraft (not the dickhead racist one but the brilliant horror author one). Lovecraftianism is an offshoot of complexitivity and it is the propensity to fear a system or thing that is complex because it is often not understood or less well understood, even in the absence of evidence that the complex system or thing should be feared. Fear of the unknown for no other reason than it is unknown. Or as Lovecraft put it “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Author’s note: I put a question mark at the end of my subtitle because I highly doubt these are newly recognized cognitive biases given the amount of work and research done on the topic. Hopefully if they already exist under some other designation these two names might be appended to their definitions as I happen to think they are pretty cool.

Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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