Murphy’s Law

“Murphy’s law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” …Well, that’s the more well known version. My mother has her own version that I think you should all hear, ladies and gentlemen. “However much you laugh now, you’ll cry twice as much later.” Unfortunately, she’s usually right. It’s quite scary, actually. A few hours after my blissful unawareness, all hell breaks loose. It’s chaotic.

I used to think it was because she hated seeing me happy, or the sound of my laughter was eternally annoying, and yet, now that I am older, I begin to see sense in the nonsense. They say that bad things happen in clusters. A trifecta of chaos that gives way to an eventual cease fire. The eye of the storm, as it were. They say that time flies when you’re having fun. All these little epigrams never have anything joyous to share. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It leaves me wondering just how fragile everything is if there is a constant pressure to trod carefully.

Maybe, just maybe, chaos is something woven into the way of life. Like maths, and the laws of physics, perhaps chaos is universal. If you analyse it by its very definition, in regards to physics, chaos is “the property of a complex system whose behaviour is so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.” The keyword here being ‘random.’ Take a huge step all the way back to the formation of our solar system, and you will begin to understand what I am talking about. Planets, moons and stars form when gravity gathers enough matter [gas, dust, rocks, ice, etc] to compact into a sizeable sphere. It’s all left to chance. They are then generally caught by the gravitational pull of a nearby celestial body large enough to bully the newly formed planet into orbit, like a moon around a planet, or a planet around the sun. How far the planet ends up orbiting from its host star is total chance. Randomness. This then dictates whether the planet is cold and barren like Pluto, a gas giant like Jupiter, or a rocky body with the potential for harbouring life such as Mercury, Venus, Mars, or our own Earth. Once again, random chaos. Or is it?

I am a firm believer in Algorithmic Probability. Before you go running for the hills, it’s really simple, I swear. It’s “a mathematical method of assigning a prior probability to a given observation.” Basically, a way of measuring past behaviour of randomness and applying it to future randomness. And yet, after my mother’s accidental wisdom, I am left wondering whether there’s a method to the madness… Whether there is some kind of cosmic pattern after all…

It can’t possibly be randomness that chaos always seems to follow joy. There are other laws that I could talk about, such as Sod’s Law; [“When you toss a coin, the more strongly you want heads, the more likely it is to come up tails”—Richard Dawkins] Or, Finagle’s Law; [“Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment.”] But at the end of the day, chaos does not seem as random as we believe, at least to me…

Unless my mother is just clairvoyant.

But that would just be silly.