Dave’s Laws of Social Dynamics

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Social Dynamics is generally defined as the behavior of groups that result from the interactions of individual group members as well as the study of the relationship between individual interactions and group-level behavior.

I think of social dynamics as that thing that has baffled humans for as long as humans have existed – how do we get along with each other?

Herein, I detail laws governing general human interactions.

Dave’s First Law of Social Dynamics

Assholes Always Advertise

Think about it. When you first meet someone, you can generally tell within the first couple of minutes’ interaction if that person is an asshole. You may consciously try to override your own reaction to them, perhaps telling yourself that it’s wrong to judge someone by nothing more than the first impression they’ve made on you. Pretty much every time your first impression of someone is that they’re an asshole, over time you will almost always discover that they are, in fact, an asshole.

Don’t view this as another way in which assholes are annoying. Instead, view it as a public service they provide — alerting others of their status in advance.

Dave’s Second Law of Social Dynamics

A Mathematical Formula for Calculating the Degree of One Type of Narcissism

Narcissism can be a complex thing, and it can come in many forms. However, I have discovered that there is one type of narcissism (I call it Kardashian-esque) that can actually be measured using a simple mathematical formula.

That formula is:

N = \cfrac{S}{h}


  • N is Narcissism
  • S is the number of selfies taken (the non-posted ones count too)
  • h is the amount of time passed, as measured in hours

Now the number of selfies taken can vary greatly from hour to hour (e.g. Almost no one takes selfies while they’re sleeping.) and can certainly show a greater variance from day to day.

Imagine, for instance, someone who rarely takes selfies going to a conference or an amusement park for a day. On that day they might take several selfies and none the rest of the week. Thus, you can see that only taking a measurement over the course of one particular hour can provide a skewed calculation of the Narcissism rating.

Therefore, I assert that the fairest measurement of Narcissism can be calculated by counting the total number of selfies someone has taken over the course of the previous seven days and divide that by the number of hours in a week (168). Thus the formula becomes

N = \cfrac{(S_1 + S_2 + S_3 + S_4 + S_5 + S_6 + S_7)}{168}

Dave’s Third Law of Social Dynamics

You Can Know Exactly How You Feel About Someone Else or Exactly How They Feel About You, But Never Both at the Same Time

This is, of course, sometimes referred to as the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as It Applies to Relationships. (Well, I sometimes refer to it as that, anyway.)

Heisenberg’s original Uncertainty Principle was first put forward in 1927 by Werner Heisenberg, and states, essentially that the position and the velocity of an object cannot both be measured exactly, at the same time, even in theory. (The emphasis is mine just because that’s the most mind-blowing aspect of the principle.)

If you stop to think about how you would get both of those measurements exactly, at exactly the same time, you can sort of get a general idea why it’s true. To determine the exact position at a particular moment, the object needs to be treated as if it’s not moving. To determine the exact velocity at a particular moment, the object needs to be treated as if it’s in motion. Most of us stop there, satisfied that the general idea makes sense.

Of course, if you know any physicists, you’ll understand exactly what I mean when I say that just wasn’t good enough for the physicists. So to really understand the Uncertainty Principle in depth, you’ll need to become knowledgeable in all kinds of complicated quantum mathematics, and no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you’ll keep diving into Schrödinger’s ideas about how it is impossible to observe an object without somehow changing the state of the object itself. And then it gets even more complicated.

So let’s just choose to be satisfied that the general idea makes sense. Sticking to the realm of “that generally makes sense” in physics is what allows us to successfully play catch without having to resort to complex calculations.

Applying the uncertainty principle to relationships is simpler because it just makes intuitive sense when you think about it. It’s not possible to know exactly how someone feels about you without it causing some sort of change – no matter how slight – in how you feel about them. To reverse is also true – if you know exactly how you feel about someone else, you now have some uncertainty about exactly how they feel about you.

This isn’t to say that if you’re certain of the one you’re unable to have any idea whatsoever about the other, since that’s obviously not true. But, I assert that when you are completely certain of one that – in that moment – you can only know the general feeling of the other, for example: like, dislike, respect, can’t stand to be around, would cancel plans to spend time with, etc.

Dave’s Fourth Law of Social Dynamics

A Mathematical Formula for Calculating the Intelligence of a Mob

First let me differentiate between crowd-sourcing and a mob.

Crowd-sourcing is the process of putting an idea, question, or problem out in the open and soliciting thoughts and ideas from multiple people. The idea here is that it’s very likely that other people know things that you don’t, so often the articulated idea or the answer arrived at through crowd-sourcing is better than one you could have come up with on your own. In my opinion, crowd-sourcing relies upon the intelligence of members of the crowd – but I think it relies more upon their knowledge and experience.

Mobs, on the other hand, are those groups that take to the streets, chant things that make you wonder what they’re actually thinking, flip cars over, and show up with torches and pitchforks when introduced to ideas different than their own.

The Fourth Law deal with mobs. I don’t have enough experience with crowd-sourcing at this time to have observed any laws of social dynamics about it. However, I do assert that the intelligence of any given mob can be calculated by using a simple mathematical formula.

That formula is:

IQ_{mob} = \cfrac{IQ_{highest}}{N_{mob}}


  • IQ_{mob} is the IQ of the mob when one considers it as a single entity.
  • IQ_{highest} is the IQ of the individual member of the mob who has the highest IQ score.
  • N_{mob} is the number of people who are members of the mob.

Yes, I’m aware that this presents a dim view of mob intelligence, but – like all of Dave’s Laws – it’s based on observation of how things work.

Please share your thoughts on these Laws – or your ideas for other areas of social dynamics deserving of their own law – in the comments below.

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