Fools and rules

I like this citation which I recently found in Arkin's book about Behavior-Based Robotics:

Any fool can make a rule
And every fool will mind it.

Henry D. Thoreau

Of course, I am not against rules in general. They are important for guiding the behavior (not the thoughts) within a community. It is helpful for collaboration in software engineering, but also for living together within a country, to know what to expect, to develop trust and to be efficient.

However, we all know fools who think they can describe complex systems with simple rules and utter them in a tone of conviction that does not allow for any exceptions to the rule. However, there is no rule without exceptions. I distrust oversimplifying rules. While "It depends..." might sound incompetent, it often is the correct answer. There are no simple rules. If there were, life would be boring, experts unnecessary and all consultants were unemployed.
steppenhund - 30. Jun, 14:53

I would be glad for the exceptions to my deduction

Before I started to write a comment I tried to look up a specific formula for the electric current.
When I studied, I got "Ohm's Law" as the question of an oral exam. When I had been learning for the exam I was intrigued by a quite intricate formula that consisted of five terms, some of them actually being differential equations. Only one term was sort of congruent what you will find as the simple version of I = V / R.
Just to give an example, one term consisted of electrons emitted as a result of atomic decay.
Just recently I was discussing some political matters and a Serbian lady told me: "We Serbs need leaders." I tend to agree. It does not apply to the Serbs only. It had applied to Germans, to Austrians, to Italians, it applies now to Turkey, to the USA, and to many other nationalities.
In Austria there has started a discussion whether a written examination should be mandatory for "Matura", the Austrian graduation like the Abitur. We seem to prefer the belief in anything that a leader will tell us, even if he tells us about the great feat of a tax reduction which does not more than put us back in the purchasing position of two years ago.
People do running training for several months in order to be able to participate in a city Marathon.
People want to avoid anything that would put stress on their brain.
The very best thing therefore is the existence or wording of SIMPLE RULES.
The last sentence concerning consultants is meaningless. People want a guaranteed minimal income without having to work. The ones who want to think and could become consultants are a "quantité negligable". Their absence wont be missed.
I once thought that the movie "idiocracy" was heavily over-simplified. But that was ten years ago. In the meanwhile I have realized that the tendency is pointing directly in the future displayed in the movie.
That is not a simple rule, it is just a simple deduction from observations.


AndreaHerrmann - 22. Jul, 16:35

I think that consultants will always be needed. Because when people have a problem, they at frist consult books, find simple formulas there and then try them. When this fails, they realize that the situation or solution might be more complex, and are willing to pay an expert for analyzing the situation and finding the optimal solution.

Well, yes, idiocracy... I see a certain trend, but no trend is without the opposite trend, also. Thanks to the internet, we know more and more, and not only official versions of the truth. In fact, measurements show that the IQs are rising, not falling!

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