ITGS Syllabus

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Topic 109

extent and effect of the simplification of reality by Xiao Xiao

Simplification of reality is intended to promote understanding of something complicated. It doesn’t always have to be complicated, but most of the times it is. Hence, it has to be “simplified.” Without simplifying reality or “creating models”, some things would be impossible to understand.

The extent of this issue is quite huge actually. Models are seen everywhere in today’s world. Life is actually quite unimaginable without models. Perhaps, one of the biggest models used and seen in today’s world is a MAP. We see maps all over Tokyo. Maps of subways, maps of JR train lines, maps of a particular area etc. Maps are all over the place and I for one couldn’t live without one. Google Earth has greatly advanced the way we use maps and by using a model or by “simplifying Earth” they have allowed people to look at their homes through satellite view! Extent of map usage is really huge, especially for foreign tourists. I remember when I went to visit London, people were walking around with maps all over the place and they would have been really lost if there hadn’t been maps to “simplify reality.”

We use models everyday in school and they are mainly used to learn. Just like the extent of it, their effect is great too especially for students. For example, understand economics would have been really hard without the PPF (Production Possibility Frontier) model and the circular flow diagram. Both of these models “simplify reality” and explain how an economy takes it’s decisions and how money flows in an economy, respectively. Models are used in other subjects too for instance periodic table in chemistry and geometry! And of course, we can’t forget the maps in geography.

Therefore, simplification of reality is a must since understanding certain things at full scale would be impossible. There is one problem though that details are left out when simplifying reality. However, the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages and hence extent of simplification of reality is huge in today’s world.


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