2008 © Martin Green. Image from
Martin Green. Michael Marshall writes on the New Scientist website on the Five Laws of Human Nature. He actually describes more than five, but here are the ones I’ve seen operating in the Church and in my own life – some for good and some for ill!

1. The Peter Principle: In any organization people reach the level of their own incompetence.
2. Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for it’s completion
3. Law of Triviality: The amount of time an organization spends discussing an issue is inversely proportional to its importance (mainly because “nobody dares to expound on important issues in case they are wrong, but everyone is happy to opine at length about the trivial”)
4. Sayre’s Law: In any dispute, the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue.
5. Student Syndrome: If it weren’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done
6. Pareto Principle: Do the most important 20 per cent of a job in order to get 80 per cent of the reward

  • Charles Lowery

    22 years of trial law compel me to conclude that human nature is mostly short-term self-interest. The general welfare and honesty do not count. Note how people treat credit, drugs, sex, food and the policies they vote for. All without regard for the long term.