-- with the by-line, "Give Up Now". Last night, I was thinking about the popular ideal (or once popular idea, it seems to have gone the way of the dodo of late) that each person has but one true love, and the amazing probability mechanics inherant thereto.
The most basic equasion is thus: The world has a population of 6.3 billion people. Therefore, you've got a: one in 6.3 billion
..chance of meeting your true love.
This figure assumes the most arrogant assumption possible: That your true love exists. Y'know, we could really screw with the arithmetic and include the possibility of life on other planets, or interspecies love. I hear some people go for that kind of thing.
Might as well give up now, eh? Nah, let's be optimistic. Let's throw a few probability curveballs:
For the sake of argument, we'll assume you're looking for someone of the opposite gender. Heck, considering roughly half the population is of either gender, we can safely say that you can pursue people of your own gender and have the same odds. If you're bisexual, you can skip the rest of today's lesson and quit looking entirely.
Our odds are now: one in 3.15 billion
Obviously, this figure omits hermaphrodites and people born with ambiguous genitalia. Sting, for example. It also doesn't take into account the celibate, the sexually inert, the post-menopausal, etc.
We'll assume you're looking for someone within your own age group, or within an age group you see preferrable. In the roughest maths ever, lets divide the population by eight to come up with eight 10-year age blocks, thus:
Our odds are now: one in 394 million
This barbarically assumes everyone lives precisely 80 years, and drops off the twig on their 81st birthday. It also assumes no one dies prior to that. It also assumes you're not a pedophile, in which case you're probably not looking for your true love anyway, which makes the argument moot. And disgusting.
Location, and chances of meeting.
Say you meet 20 new people every day. I'll define "meet" as "make eye contact with, and be able to recognise at a later time". This could be walking down the street, in a supermarket, etc. Leaving aside the issue of forgetting who you've met, and forgetting about the existance or non-existance of love at first sight, we're left with the following mess of mathematics:
20 people per day, for
365 days, for
80 years, or
Divided into our previous total, gives us a necessary:
674 LIFETIMES required to lay our eyes on all of the potential candidates.
Obviously, as touched on in the next paragraph, you're not likely to meet your true love if she lives in Siberia and you're in Sydney. Additionally, there's the NASA-equivalent math involved in calculating your chances of meeting if they too are looking for you at the same time, and the possibility that they're not looking at all. Maybe they're a hermit.
Which brings me to another issue: What are you doing right now? Go ahead, triple the figure we just came up with. Sitting at a computer will not find you love. Despite what the banner ads tell you.
Furthermore, this equasion doesn't take into account the fact you'd need to cross continents and literally visit every corner of the planet (all the while still accomplishing your 'glimpse 20 people every day' goal) in order to even stand a chance. This is mostly because all of this is statistical crap and I couldn't be buggered researching the populations for all of the continents and applying the required math. It's too late at night.
The whole thing gets even more complicated once you take into account that in order for the whole ordeal to be worthwhile, not only do you need to find your one true love, but they need to find theirs -- in you. At which point the odds go from infinitesimal to astronomically infinitesimal, and you should concede that you've got no hope and go home and wank or something.
Anyhow, happy loving.