Matt Perryman

Why art is more true than science

By Matt Perryman

The neatest thing about the 80/20 law has nothing to do with the numbers.

What’s 80/20? It’s the Law of the Vital Few, coined by Vilfredo Pareto.

The 80/20 describes a “power law” relationship.

In normie talk, it is the idea that a minority of causes is responsible for the majority of the effects. 20% of your daily actions create 80% of the results.

And that stacks. Out of that top 20%, only the top 20% of THOSE are responsible for 80% of the effects — that works out to 4% causing 64%

The power law guides everything I do. It’s the basis of everything I do as far as physical activity, nutrition, writing, and much more.

How’s that work? Forget about the numbers. The Vital Few runs way deeper than mathematical formulas.

It’s a deep insight into the way reality works.

Our left-brained civilization is so obsessed with math, computers, information, and Big Data that we hardly see the real world behind it all.

The 80/20 law reveals how the ideal formulas and models, the stuff delights engineers and scientists, run into the hard ground of reality.

Reality has no ideals.

Reality is all individual differences.

A few hundred years ago, a group of philosophers, poets, and artists realized a similar truth.

Reason has its place, and so does science, but they are not the entire experience of life. If you act as if they are, you lose on the most important parts — the real, concrete experiences of living.

These characters, called the Romantics, said that art reveals more truth — truth that matters to real people living real lives — than reason and theory.

You’ll find more insights into human nature by reading history, biography, anthropology, literature, poetry, and philosophy than “looking at the data”.

Forget about number crunching. If you want to understand what matters, cultivate your intuition and a playful imagination.

Big Data has its place. But it can’t tell you about real human beings, what concerns them, what interests them, and what matters most to them.

The data can answer questions about problems, but it can’t tell you whether you’ve got the right problem.

Data can’t tell you why.

And that’s important to understand, whether you’re making decisions about how to eat, how to communicate an idea, or how to create a new product for your audience.

Matt Perryman 

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