The Selfless Rivet
While certainly not the simplest of the fasteners, the rivet is, in my opinion, the most elegant. And the most selfless.
Although usually used to join metal, it can join materials of any type, as long as they share a common drilled hole.
No fastener conveys strength quite like the rivet. Culturally, Rosie the Riveter is as strong, determined, and steadfast an archetype as one can find.
The rivet can be and can look complex to the uninitiated, but nothing is simpler conceptually than squeezing two pieces of metal together with a third, crushed on both sides like a pancake. And that is why the rivet is selfless…it only realizes its purpose when it is deformed in one particular place and in one particular instance.
The selfless rivet only realizes its purpose through its own destruction.