Our modern lives are undeniably complex. But the underlying nature of that complexity is often misunderstood. We tend to put a heavy focus on the more visible parts of our world. And to be fair, that’s a perfectly understandable viewpoint. We usually do well to focus on what’s directly in front of us. But there’s a whole world beneath the surface of most things in life.
Consider the walls of your home for a moment. They probably seem like an example of bare minimalism. Our walls might have adornments, to be sure. We’ll put pictures and frames on our walls. Couches or bookcases might rest alongside them. But in general, a wall is just a plain flat surface. But really look along the length of a wall and you’ll have a good chance of finding an electrical socket. And this is where we start to really glimpse the hidden complexity of our home.
Of course, the average homeowner wouldn’t want to start following the wiring behind his walls. But if one were to look behind an electrical socket, he’d start to realize just how complex a seemingly simple surface can be. Because those walls are home to an increasingly complex system of wires used to transmit and manage a home’s electricity. People often think about electricity in the same way they would water. A home’s water supply is essentially managed in a fairly simple way. Water simply moves through pipes which are regulated by simple analog style machinery. Basically, one opens or closes the flow of water from a pipe by using knobs. But the water moving through the pipes is essentially the same no matter where one accesses it from.
But electricity is quite distinct in comparison. It’s true that electricity moves along a wire in a similar …