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10.04 - Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law - a Definition

  • In any field of endeavour, anything that can go wrong will. Sod’s law adds “at the worst possible moment”
  • Left to themselves, things always go from bad to worse
  • If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the most catastrophic combination of them will occur to create “a perfect storm”
  • Nature always sides with the hidden flaw (idiots are always happy people). Nobody wants to make decisions less than the boss
  • If everything seems to be going well
    • You have obviously overlooked something
    • Someone is holding out on you
    • You just haven’t got the message
  • Every story has two sides (yours and mine) and one hidden side (the Facts)

Synonym – Sods Law, Finagles Law

Antonym – Serendipity (Warning! Only happens by chance, or in fairy tales.)

Example: A notice in a gliding club news letter:-

At the winter meetings the topic of Safety Rules bubbled to the top and you will find included with this newsletter an updated and revised set of rules. The new rulebook is in booklet form so that it should be easy to keep it on hand as a guide and reference.

Safety is always a victim of Gödel’s Theorem of Incompleteness which effectively ensures the inclusion of the Laws of Arkwright Sod and Adolphous Murphy to any system of procedures.

Be warned – Sod’s Law is always lurking in the background, and it is generally set up by Murphy’s Law.

  • Murphy’s Law says - the horse droppings will hit the fan
  • Sod’s Law says - only at the times the fan is spinning
  • Gödel says – “There are no horses around but you forgot about the Elephants, Didn’t you!”
Further Reading