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What Is The Law?

"What is the law? (No spill blood.)
"Who makes the rules? (Someone else.)"
-- D. Elfman, "House of Pain"

The Edge, a site run by John Brockman as a forum for some of the smartest/most interesting/oddest folks around, poses an annual Big Question for them to answer. This year's is "What's Your Law?" (And since the Edge's exploration of this question begins with a quote from Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, I thought I'd start ours with a quote from Oingo Boingo's updated version.)

Over 150 of Edge's luminaries have contributed answers to this question, including WorldChanging favorites such as Bruce Sterling ("Sterling's Law of Ubiquitous Computation: First, your home is a constant, while the Net is a place you go; then the Net becomes a constant while your home is a place you go."), Pamela McCorduck ("McCorduck's Law: A linear projection into the future of any science or technology is like a form of propaganda — often persuasive, almost always wrong."), and Stewart Brand ("Brand's Asymmetry: The past can only be known, not changed. The future can only be changed, not known.").

A few contributors are more interested in being funny than being insightful (a sin of which I'm often guilty), and a few others are more interested in being garrulous than pithy (another sin of mine). Still, as a whole, the list of "laws" is well-worth reading and pondering.

But now, it's your turn: what are your Laws?


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What Is The Law?:

» Laws of Intellectual Usability from KnowProSE
It's funny after having written about Intellectual Usability that I should see something related to The Edge and it's "What's Your Law?" question here: WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: What Is The Law? So, I've come up with a few... [Read More]

Comments (5)

Alton Naur:

How about "Alton's postmodern revision of Dick's Law"? Philip K. Dick stated "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Actually, "Reality is that which, when everyone stops believing in it, doesn't go away."


It's amazing how little diversity there is amongst "some of the world's most complex and sophisticared minds". Ah well.

Maybe this explains it:


An astute observation, Zaid. It does then lead to the question of *who else* Edge.org should have included -- there must be smart, sophisticated thinkers out there who have some depth and experience but who aren't the usual suspects (mostly-male white boomers and their fellow-travelers). Who would you suggest?


Without looking, what was the count of "Do as thou wilt?"

I'm hoping zero but ready to be disappointed.

Gupta's first law: "All exceptional abilities arise as defences"

Gupta's second law: "All potentials imply equal and opposite hidden barriers"

Gupta's third law: "People will kill to maintain their emotional homeostasis."

Cheerful little bugger, aren't I?


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