Complexity is unavoidable

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Path at Chopping Bottom Farm, Virginia

Traces of history add to complexity

Complexity and its dimensions are relevant measures for any place: Any place will be more or less foregrounded, have more or less linear trajectories, embody one or more forms of life, and so on. Every place contains the seeds of complexity in the temporal dispersion and the internal differentiations implied in its having any place grammar at all.

An absolutely simple place would be totally foreground and completely linear, offer trajectories composed of stages with no second-level connections or references among them, and embody only one form of life composed of the thinnest possible single-ply roles. It would have no possibility of complexity. There can be no such place, because there is no way to rule out potential complexity. Places are landscapes of possibility that define trajectories of action and motion, so they always contain some discontinuities unified by rules and norms. Discontinuity and possibility imply potential complexity, since possibility and meaning cannot be completely controlled.