Sturgeon’s law puts it’s simply:

Ninety percent of everything is crap.

Derived from various Sturgeon’s quotations.

I have read about Sturgeon’s law while reading the Dennet’s Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking[1]. I was intrigued by it. Dennet explains it bluntly: “90% of everything is crap. That is true, whether you are talking about physics, chemistry, evolutionary psychology, sociology, medicine—you name it—rock music, country, western. 90% of everything is crap.”

Of course, it goes without too much explanation that the numbers here are just very coarse estimations. It can go both ways and depends on lots of things.

There are several implications of Sturgeon’s law. The first thing that strikes me with the law is that there is only 1/10 chance that we will pick at random, for example from a new music genre we want to discover, something interesting and valuable. That is why we rarely do random choices. We investigate, we try things out, we ask people who should know more.

Most importantly we live in a curated world where algorithms try to make this 10% as all there is.

History has a tendency to filter the crap out and leave the best bits for future generations. If you want to listen to classical music and google it then you mostly will find examples of “the best of“, “essentials” and other similar collections. That is great. 90% is still there but you need to try hard to find it. Did you know that the famous, brilliant philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche[3] wrote music? Probably not. Don’t look for it.

So now this blog. This is my introductory post. I think most of the things I will write will be crap. That is OK. I just hope that I will at least squeeze out a solid 10% of good stuff.


Reference:

  1. Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking (W. W. Norton & Company – May 6, 2013) (ISBN 0-393-08206-7)
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Romantic-era_composers
  3. https://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/nietzsche-piano-music