technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

3 Laws of human behavior

One day while having a conversation about human behaviour with a friend, I learnt that all human behaviour can be broken down to three basic laws that each individual follows and that almost all behaviour can be defined based on those.

  1. We do not want to die
  2. We do not want to be alone
  3. We are curious We seek Pleasure

On the first thought this seems to be bizarre for we like to think that we are not governed by rules or laws and also that we can think of a 100 things that we do which do not fall under these laws on the first look. But with a bit more carefully thinking I realised that it is quite true and I could classify all the human actions as falling in one or more of those laws. You can look at things starting from why we do certain small things in our life to bigger things on the community scale like research, wars people taking up drugs etc.  The only thing that could come close to disproving these laws was altruism but that just leads to a whole other discussion on its social and religious aspect.

In fact 90% of our actions can be explained with just the first 2 laws. Actually the third point was only listed after a lot of discussion and still remains arguable and I still don’t have a solid example to prove it. This of course does not mean that that we are all same as I think the importance one gives to each of these points varies from person to person.

I would love to hear your opinions on the three laws and if you can find some situations that lie outside these laws.

Leave a Reply

10 Responses

  1. Ranjit says:

    This is turning out to be one of those DA-IICT utter bakk sessions when we tried to prove everything by making a ridiculous claim in the beginning. There is a difference between standing up for something when the social-ness around you dictates otherwise. It clearly doesn’t give you any pleasure and its not a part of being social and you could probably get assassinated for it. It’s just a part of your own identity and your consciousness around what you believe is right. He said, “I have a dream” after people had gathered, not before it.

    “Change” in its most general form happens when you break the norms of behavior. And we as a species have changed a lot over centuries. So whatever norm you are trying to create here, breaks down every now and then to let new ideas, new sociality come into picture. And yes, since this is an endless loop of argumentation, I will certainly give up if you still believe in these three laws. You have a right to believe in whatever you want. I am done.

  2. Navin says:

    I would disagree with you there, I think those points are a stretched out version of the first two points which have developed over time and formed complex notions. Being part of those 250,000 people is surely a sociality point with martin luther king showing you a dream where you can further achieve these 3 goals, while jumping in the water to save someone is preservation of another life form which can be argued to be derivable from the first two points of self survivable and sociality eventually leading to preservation of other life forms

  3. Ranjit says:

    You have a way of digging your own grave. Don’t you Navin! I think you find pleasure in it. But, actions are not always driven by pleasure. Sometimes having a conscience makes you do things that you don’t particularly like but you still do them because they are the right thing to do.

    It has nothing to do with self-preservation, sociality or pleasure. Sometimes you stand up for what is right… whether it is jumping into a river to save somebody from drowning or walking up to a mall in Washington to be a part of those 250,000 people who heard Martin Luther Kind say, “I have a dream!”

  4. Navin says:

    I think replacing People are curious by People like to have pleasure is probably more suited.

  5. Ramnath says:

    Curiosity might be a desirable characteristic, but you won’t find it in everyone. Some people are so not curious that they leave you amazed.

    I highly recommend reading “Games People Play” by Eric Berne. It’s a book that explains the theory of transactional analysis, and how most people run their lives based on “scripts” defined in early childhood.

  6. Ranjit says:

    Idiosyncratic person – If there was a painting on a wall and every time you came in, you arranged it in a slightly tilted way then it is an idiosyncrasy. A sense of difference which made no difference.

    Eccentricity – Eccentricity is when you acquire a certain kind of mannerism, a certain style of life which is different… but it emphasizes more of your personality rather than any situation, context or ecology outside. Example: Nirad C. Chaudhari. After Indian independence, he was invited to England. So when he gets into the cab, he turns around and tells the driver what to do. “You can’t take the turn here, you must take the turn here!” Till the driver turned around and said, “When was the last time you came to England?” The driver discovers that Nirad C. Chaudhari had memorized the maps of England but from the time before London was bombed.

    Resistor/Whistle Blower – These are people who are forced to dissent by their very position. A person who refuses to take a bribe despite the fact that everyone around him does.

  7. Navin says:

    Junkies, Druggies all fall under the curious category Maybe also having to do something with social acceptance of not wanting to be alone.

    In this I was mainly focusing on individual behavior… so die and self preservation (as a race are slightly outside the characteristics).

    Self preservation of oneself cannot explain acts such as suicides and or the reason for our explorations…

  8. Ankit says:

    I think there is only one law and that is self preservation and everything else is an extension of that.

  9. Preyas says:

    You forgot reproduction, unless you mean “die” in a genetic sense.

  10. Ambasta says:

    how about junkies, druggies, depressed folks and suicidal maniacs?

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