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The word is ... "Law"

Continuing my word is series, this one on "Law." Any productivity/living/law intersections you want to share? Cheers!

  • Law of Attraction: I hesitate to even mention this, as I consider it pseudo-scientific claptrap, but open minds I must have. This came on my radar because a good friend tried it (an experiment!) and found it helpful in improving her attitude. She's tried experiments like "stop using no, not, don't" and keeping an abundance journal. The book she used: Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don't. The trouble I have with it is the magical thinking around "wish for it and it happens" - I could never believe that there's a benevolent force in the universe who we can appeal to. On the other hand, I'm a firm believer in attitude changing perception, and therefore how I act, which can cascade into changes (hopefully positive ones) in my life. Comments? Experiences?

  • Clarke's three laws: As a sci-fi buff, I love Clarke's thinking. This one has to do with scientific change:

    1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
    2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
    3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    Any other favorite eponymously-named laws?

  • Laws of art: I heard these in the interview The Emerging Mind where Professor Ramachandran suggested 10 universal laws of art:

    1. Peak shift
    2. Grouping
    3. Contrast
    4. Isolation
    6. Symmetry
    7. Abhorrence of coincidence/generic viewpoint
    8. Repetition, rhythm and orderliness
    9. Balance
    10. Metaphor
    Do you buy it?

  • Scientific ignorance: From Why the Philosophy of Science Matters:
    A sizable proportion of science graduates entering teacher training couldn't define what is a scientific fact, law or hypothesis.

    Insert your own commentary on scientific education in the U.S., and compare to the similarly dismal state of health here. Related: What Makes Science 'Science'? ("The results show a lack of understanding of what scientific theories and laws are.")

  • Laptop battery: Recently I was pressing to finish a task when my laptop starting running low on battery power. It occurred to me that is a natural Parkinson's Law enforcer.

  • Newton's laws of motion: From Nicholas Bate's Productivity101:
    49. The Celeb's Guide to Productivity (9) Isaac Newton: Newton III: "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Or send more e-mail and you will get more e-mail. Isaac Newton clearly didn't use e-mail. No wonder he articulated gravity, identified laws of motion, clarified light and the spectrum for us and predicted the motion of planetary motion. Amongst a lot of other stuff.

  • Grove's Law: What if this applied to individuals as well?
    "While microchip price/performance doubles every 12-18 months, telecommunications bandwidth doubles every 100 years!"

    (From The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google.)

  • Laws of natural order: From Path of Least Resistance (paraphrasing):
    A big idea here, recognize that structure is a dominant factor and how the laws of natural order relate to that is the essence. The principle is that energy always moves along the path of least resistance, any change you attempt to make in your life will not work, if the path does not lead in that direction. You have to form new structures that will enable you to direct the path of least resistance where you want to go. And that is a big idea on environment, in structuring the environment this is a way to look at that.

  • Time, Quality, and Quantity: Brian Tracy, in Focal Point, describes two types of time spent in your life: work time, measured by results and productivity, and personal time, measured in love and contentment. And the law is, it is the quality of time at work that counts and the quantity of time at home that matters. Wow!

  • Newton, redux: From "Wikipedia surfing" John Dewey and Pragmatism: Three historic levels of organization and presentation, in the order of chronological appearance:

    • Self-Action: Prescientific concepts regarded humans, animals, and things as possessing powers of their own which initiated or caused their actions.
    • Interaction: as described by Newton, where things, living and inorganic, are balanced against thing in a system of interaction, for example, the third law of motion that action and reaction are equal and opposite.
    • Transaction: where modern systems of descriptions and naming are employed to deal with multiple aspects and phases of action without any attribution to ultimate, final, or independent entities, essences, or realities.
    Cool. And I'll bet you $5 at least one of my readers has already thought about this :-)

Reader Comments (4)

I have had similar experiance with Law of Attraction (LoA). It's hard to understand it and break it down into "tangible" concepts. On the other hand my wife is very interested in this topic and some other related areas and has experienced great results.
I think LoA and productivity/self improvement are two sides of the same coin.
It's simply different approach to achive the same result. If you compare both approaches they advocate the samething only in different words.
On one side there is external force, meditation and power of thought on the other desire/will/determination, weekly review and focus.
At the moment these two are some what separate but I think there is no contradiction and conflict. LoA and similar concepts can be great for clarifying what you want from life (50k stuff). Productivity can be used to put this into action.

September 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRafal

The law of attraction is a tautology for those who believe - it works because they believe it will work. Is it scientifically real? I doubt anything will ever prove anything about it, but I would be willing to bet that the majority of people who stick to it will have better lives for believing in it. Kind of like religion, don't you think?

September 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRW

Boy did *that* get me thinking, Rafal.

Let me play with the two sides:

Productivity: Making things happen efficiently, with an important goal being to free up your brain for the big stuff - changes, improvements, insights, etc. Highly action-oriented, with personal responsibility for outcomes. Includes explicit acknowledgment of control (yours and others'). Involves a significant perspective change: how you structure your work, and how you see the world with respect to the flow of information, communications, and commitments.

LoA: Focused soley on a perspective change: How you see your desired and self-talk. (Check out Liza's LoA-related [ experiments in Edison | http://edison.thinktrylearn.com/experiments/profile/2 ].) Responsibility: For your thoughts, you. For action, the "law."

The former seems a nice mix of analysis and purpose. Action leading to your goals, loves, and desires. The latter seems ultimately based on magical thinking - just imagine it and it will appear for you. It's like the lottery - think and you'll win!


September 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

LoA provides belief, which, like religion, imparts a sense of control. If deeply held, this must be comforting. My productivity work shares that - imparting control, though I'd argue it's more real. [After a pause] Strike that. I'm getting all "Matrix-y". As you point out, in the world it's difficult to gauge the impact of our actions on the future. It's one reason I suggested setting up an experiment in [ Edison | http://edison.thinktrylearn.com/experiments/index_all ] - I was serious. It won't be until version 3 that we have support for real trials, and A/B testing without clones (or twins) isn't straightforward, but I'd love to see someone try. There's a lot of selective perception at play - "Look! I found $20 on the street!" Then again, I'm a fan of helpful perspective changes, and this is one for many people.

Good comment, RW. Thanks for reading.

September 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

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