Friday, 18 April 2008

Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.

This, like ‘Cheese goes with everything’, is a fundamental law of the universe.

First Corollary: This usually occurs at the worst possible moment.
Second Corollary: If it has not gone wrong, it is only because it has a greater capacity to do so at a later date.

Sooner or later, everything goes wrong. It's a question of when, not if. There are a billion examples of this.
We've broken our environment; it'll be decades before we can fix it.
We're running out of oil, in a few years time the only way I'll be able to get back home is if I take a sailing ship across the Channel and then hike across three thousand miles.
After the last five years of economic growth, the whole world is looking at a recession the likes of which we haven't seen since 1930.
George Bush was elected President, twice.
The list never stops (No, I lie. The list does stop. The last thing is that I nearly killed myself the other day. I was wearing my tie and I forgot to stop pulling).

This is an extremely pessimistic view of life. If everything goes wrong, what's the point? The point is that while it is true that somewhere something will break, we shouldn't lose hope. Life would be painfully boring if all of us just sat around and did nothing. But since only some of us are lazy, we say everybody's different and move on. Another basic truth of the universe is that Boredom is the single most painful punishment that has been handed to us. If we have committed serious crimes in our past, then all the time we are made to spend staring into space is God's revenge.

On the other hand, it also questions the usefulness of some of the things we do. It could be argued that if something is going to get over eventually, you'd better start looking for alternatives fast, and once you've found those alternatives, switch to them. Unfortunately, solar panels are prohibitively costly, you need about ten windmills to boil a kettle, and either way, when they break, you'll need a whole new kind of engineer to come and fix them up, and Lord knows how much those'll cost.

This is why we have holidays. The sheer stress of having to fix things all the time is what made God rest on the seventh day.
That is the most obvious proof for Murphy’s Law. The existence of the human race. Just imagine. God’s plan didn’t go wrong, Eve and Adam didn’t eat the Fruit (of the Tree of the Knowledge of- oh, you get the point), and we’d never be here, and no one would be inventing more and more things that go wrong all the time.

Right now, the biggest thing that can go wrong is the American election. Since the war in Afghanistan is already dead, and the war in Iraq is failing, the only place America can go is up. But something can still go wrong. The next American president could be John McCain, who will continue the war in Iraq, ignore the crisis in Afghanistan and generally continue the miserable state of affairs.

History is being made today, more so than in the last ten years. In fifty years, they will look back at this decade and say ‘This is why Bush invaded Iraq.’ They will look back on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and they will be able to analyse the situation in Tibet in relation to it, and it will probably be studied by Modern History graduates.
It’s certainly a very interesting situation. Or it would be if we weren’t living through it. It’s much less dangerous than, say, living through the Second World War. It’s better than having to survive the Great Depression. Living through most things doesn’t really make one an expert on the event, especially if you’re only sixteen. But the election, the Olympics, and the activation of the LHC (the large hadron collider at CERN) all later this year will make this year, if not this decade, a momentous one. Maybe, in the years to come, physicists will say ‘This is exactly why the LHC was always doomed to failure.’

As a final proof of Murphy’s Law, I leave you with this. The original article meant to be in this space went totally wrong.
I sincerely thank the editor for not allowing the original to be shown to the public. And since Murphy’s Law predicts that someone will find it and laugh at it anyway, this is just a minor delaying tactic.

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