Every moment all over the world, well-meaning people refer to more or less hazy concepts, thinking they can master them – even if it means misleading them by saying nonsense. Law of maximum hassle, point Godwin, theory of evolution and Schrödinger’s cat are summoned one after the other in a monumental mess. Let’s put some order.
1. Murphy’s Law
What we understand : When something can go well or badly, it will systematically go wrong. Canonical example: the buttered and jammy toast falls. It will inevitably fall on the side where there is jam so that it will be super boring.
what it really says “If there are at least two ways to do something, and at least one of those ways can lead to disaster, there’s bound to be someone somewhere to take that path. Which means that from the moment an event is possible, sooner or later it will eventually happen. On a large number of sandwiches that fall, there will inevitably be some to fall on the boring side. Basically, it’s a bit of a humorous law invented by Edward Murphy, but it’s ultimately a good illustration for manufacturers who put a lot of security on their objects because they have to anticipate that someone will necessarily go down the road. the most catastrophic by making use of their product.
What people usually refer to as Murphy’s Law is actually the “Law of Maximum Pissing”, which is an extrapolation of Murphy’s Law.
2. Schrödinger’s Cat
What we understand : The cat in the box is both dead and alive. Too weird.
what it really says : When we study objects at the quantum scale, we must consider that they are in superimposed states. Basically, as long as they have not been observed, one must agree that they are in several states at the same time. All this is calculated with probabilities. Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment serves simply to explain how quantum physics works. The cat is locked in a box with a system which, after a given time, has a 1 in 2 chance of having poisoned it. So, at the end of this given time, as long as we do not open the box, we must consider that the cat is both dead and alive. The probabilities are 1/2 for each state. On the other hand, if we open the box, we will no longer be in the probability, we will actually know if the cat is alive or dead. But it’s just a thought experiment, we know very well that, in fact, a cat cannot be both dead and alive at the same time. It is only at the quantum scale that it makes sense.
3. The Godwin Stitch
What we understand : On a forum, there will always be a moron to call another guy a Nazi.
what it really says : “The longer an online discussion lasts, the more the probability of finding a comparison involving the Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1.” But in reality, the longer an online discussion lasts, the more the probability of finding a comparison involving Roger Federer is also close to 1 since the lengthening of the duration of the discussion necessarily makes it more probable that everything will appear. This law is more humorous than anything else.
What we understand : Everything is relative and in space, time passes more slowly.
what it really says : Space and time are one and the same together and when we observe space and time, our perception of them are linked to the speed of our movement in the universe. This perception is altered by the proximity of masses and by their size: space-time bends as large masses approach.
5. The theory of evolution
What we understand : At first we were fish but it was not practical, so the fish developed hands and legs and went to work and that’s how we were born.
what it really says : Organisms do not “adapt” to their environment. Individuals are born, from time to time, and by chance, with small genetic modifications (ex: a longer neck), and if this modification allows them to survive better than their congeners (ex: those who always have small necks and who struggle to feed on the lower branches) then the individuals who survive better will be able to reproduce more easily, and transmit their genes, as well as this small genetic modification. Conversely, some individuals may be born with genetic modifications, always due to chance, but which will not particularly help them to survive, or even handicap them, and in this case they have little chance of transmitting them. Basically, nature tests (unintentionally) little things here and there, and the best ones remain while the less good ones disappear due to lack of reproduction.
6. “I think therefore I am”
What we understand : You have to think to live.
what it really says : Descartes says nothing other than: the only proof I have of existing is that I doubt, or that I think. My conscience is the only clue I have to affirm that I exist.
7. Nitzschean nihilism
What we understand : Nietzsche was a nihilist and hoped that a superman like Pascal Brutal would dominate the world because the law of the strongest should prevail.
what it really says : Quite the opposite, in fact. Nietzsche considers the world as nihilistic: men have abandoned all hope of a better world and are passive in the face of their lives. Nietzsche, by calling to accept the world and to transfigure its own values, does not want the destruction of the world but the destruction of being, of thought, in the name of the world. A divine state to which only the superman can aspire.