It is the ultimate principle of substantive minimalism, where extraneous and peripheral elements should be eradicated unless used, essential, or otherwise central to the narrative. Teasing merely for the sake of itself is denied; a serious venture if always pursued, and open honesty with the audience forever relied upon. Chekhov disdained and avoided the superfluous; his short stories and other works were paradigms of linguistic economy, where words were valued and cherished, without room left for an unused element.
Compare that to modernity; of Franzen and works where volumes are spoken to merely illustrate a simple point contrary to Ockham’s razor. The “gun”, as the metaphor of utility or otherwise, first introduced in the first chapter or Scene I of a play, must by a few chapters hence or a scene or two later, be fired, pointed or struggled over; otherwise, never introduce it in the first place. And of the razor of rational argumentation, the lex parsimoniae of scientific observation, let not human complexity and self-delusions of grandeur in constructing untenable principles of convoluted thought-processes cloud the simplicity of nature’s design; for, in the end, it is in the simple that complexity finds its apex, and of the complex, where simpletons gather.
In the end, economy of words allows for room of thought and invitations of acceptance; it is only in the crowded gallows of condemned men where cries for space echo into the chambers of unheard cries.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in the process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the principle of Chekhov’s gun, or its correlative paradigm of linguistic economy, Ockham’s razor, should always be applied: Keep to the centrality of one’s narrative, and never allow the teasing of an unloaded gun direct the masthead of a sinking ship to tip too perilously towards the unforgiving winds of want and self-importance.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire