Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Marley's statistical naivety

Marley, on the train; he looked upwards, like you do when you're recalling a specific thought, and began his speech, to his audience, the passengers:

- Let's say you fall in love with one percent of the people you get to know in your lifetime, but that you will most certainly fall in love. I would say that it is a good rough estimate. If you consider that this goes for each one of the people that you know, then you start to see the picture. The chances that any one person that you already know (or will get to know) will fall in love with you in your lifetime is close to one hundred percent, if you know more than one hundred people, excluding any particular variables that could influence your 'lovability' (say, if you are a very analytical person, this may bring down that percentage by quite a few points). On the other hand, the chances that you will happen to fall in love with that specific person (bear in mind, they are in love with you already) are 1 in 100; again, in your lifetime. For any two people that know (or will most definitely know) each other, the chances that they fall in love with each other are one in ten thousand in their lifetimes. This means only one in ten thousand people will have found their soul-mate in their lifetimes, whilst most couples will be subject to what I like to call 'emotional compromise'.

After a brief moment of silence, a young fellow, who was shaking his head all the time in disapproval, replies:

- I can't even begin to explain how wrong you are, and on so many levels, man.

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