Tuesday, October 3

Ten ‘laws’ to know beyond Murphy’s

marti ferrer

They are not scientific truths, “but they come true enough times to be considered useful,” says journalist and writer Gurwinder Bhogal, who collects them on Twitter

Solange Vazquez

How many times have we cited Murphy’s Law, right? Yes, the one that the toast always falls with the spread towards the ground or, what is the same, that, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, even though there are equal chances that it will go well. The ‘Murphyana’ maxim is the most famous of an extensive catalog of effects, principles, laws and theories – most of the time, signed by the people who formulated them – that should be known. Why? Because it is not about scientific truths, but almost, since they have been validated by experience, by repetition…, by life itself, what the hell, which confirms them at every step!

With pedagogical zeal and great success, the Anglo-Indian journalist and writer Gurwinder Bhogal has dedicated himself to compiling these maxims in Twitter threads. “I thought it would be useful to do it so that people understand a series of phenomena,” he comments to this newspaper. As he points out, “all of these ideas illustrate general patterns of nature, not laws of nature.” How? “I mean that they are not always fulfilled, but they are often enough to be useful,” he clarifies. Here is a small selection from his catalogue, which will bring a touch of wisdom to our existence and to our banal conversations.


Bombastic data… eye!

Twyman’s Law

According to this law, the more remarkable and colorful some data are, the more likely it is that they are wrong. This is due, as Bhogal develops, to the fact that errors and manipulation are much more common in surprising results. In this way, the more the dull the data, the more reliable it is. How good we are going to be the next time the ‘in-law’ brings out an outrageous figure on some hot topic and we tell him that, according to Twyman’s law, his truth seems to have little foundation. It will be an attack on your waterline.


there is always something worse

Relative Deprivation Rule

Surely it has happened to all of us. We rightly complain about something and are told that it would be worse to have an incurable disease or, right now, to live in the Ukraine. It is the rule of relative deprivation according to which people discard a concern because something else is worse. “According to this logic, how can anyone talk about anything other than literally the worst thing in the universe?” asks the Anglo-Indian journalist.


keep the problem

Shirky’s Principle

According to this Shirky principle (by Clay Shirky, professor and social media expert), institutions will always try to preserve the problem for which they present themselves as the solution. The explanation is simple: that is the best way to ensure their survival. It may sound like a global plot, black hands, very paranoid, but, as Bhogal drops, there is the military industry, the pharmaceutical industry, planned obsolescence…


This is how they see us, this is how we act

Proteus effect

The Proteus effect (which takes its name from a Greek god fond of changing shape) argues that, in virtual spaces, people end up becoming like our avatars. Thus, if we use a sexy avatar, we will tend to flirt more, for example. Why? “Our personalities are very much a performance marked by social expectations,” summarizes Bhogal.


between two fires

Fredkin’s paradox

This paradox, named after Edward Fredkin, philosopher and professor of digital physics, highlights that the more similar two options between which you have to choose seem, no matter how much less the decision you are going to make, the more difficult it will be to bet. by a. It follows that we often spend more time on decisions that matter less. Everyone who has had to choose the menu for a wedding knows it. Or the destination of the holidays.


screw up, the most useful

Cunningham’s Law

Cunningham’s Law doesn’t say much about human beings, but it is what it is. more interested in correcting than in helping. So, if we want to know something, it’s better to make a nonsense and let ourselves be insulted, that we’ll get information. Not suitable for the sensitive, but for practical people.


ask your enemy for a favor

Ben Franklin Effect

This effect is very curious and says a lot about how silly and vain we humans are. This principle defends that, if you get someone who dislikes you (yes, that co-worker who looks at you dodgy, for example) to do you a favor, you will start to like him more. And this, how is it explained? In this way: people are designed to match our actions with our identity. If we do something nice for someone we don’t like, we will put ourselves in ‘nice mode’ and see it in a better light. He has taken the name of Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the USA, because, apparently, this politician earned the sympathy and friendship of an adversary –and he parried his blows–, flattering him by asking him to borrow rare books that he collected.


Kill a volunteer?

Fisher’s protocol

Robert Fisher, a Harvard professor and conflict resolution expert, suggested that to prevent nuclear strikes, launch codes should be implanted in a volunteer, so that to launch an offensive, the sitting president would have to personally kill that poor trustee and thus experience the unpleasant implications of his decision. Would he? It is believed that it would cost much more, but right now the world is not in a position to trust too much in the compassion of certain leaders. nuclear power.


Nonsense on the web

Law of idiocy saturation

This law says that the people who post most often on the networks are the ones who think the least. As a result, the proportion of stupidity in the networks is much higher than outside them. Or what is the same: the world is not lost, the level of nonsense of the networks is not representative.


The messenger is the key

Reactive devaluation theory

It is judging the message by the messenger of all life. An example: in 2002, researchers showed the Israelis a peace plan for Palestine. When they were told that it had been designed by their own government, it seemed much fairer to them than when they were informed that it had been made by the Palestinians.


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