The basic concept is that for any given person, no two romantic partners fulfil the same kind of needs.
Let us take all the possible ways in which a romantic partner (since we are talking about multiple partners for the same person, usuallly happening at different points of time in the person’s life, I don’t want to use the term “long-term gene propagating partner”) can help you out. The kind of needs that she can fulfil. Make a list of them, and represent them as a vector.
And to this, add a vector of binaries. Let us call it the “need vector”. You might have guessed that an element of this vector is 1 if the partner fulfils this particular need and 0 otherwise. So for each of your romantic partners (spanning across space and time), construct such a vector. Yeah of course some of these needs are more important than others so you might think you might want to give weights, but that is not the purpose of this exercise.
The Pauli Exclusion Principle in quantum mechanics states that no two electrons can have the same four quantum numbers. Similarly the P Polie Exclusion Principle in romantic relationships states that no two of your romantic partners have the same need vector. That the needs vector of any two of your romantic partners have a hamming distance of at least 1.
This principle has certain important consequences. Given that any two of your romantic partners are separated by a Hamming distance of at least 1 and using the Neha Natalya-xkcd argument, the number of romantic partners you can possibly have in your lifetime is bounded from above by 2^n, where n is the length of your need vector. So contrary to intuition, this shows that promiscuous people actually have a larger set of needs from romantic partners than committed people.
Ever since the concept of NED was invented/discovered two years back, it has been painted as a bad thing. I have occasionally described it as a frankenstein – which, after being invented/discovered by me, has come out to consume me. There is a friend who refers to it as “the unspeakable” as she thinks even uttering the word “NED” will send her into NED. NED has been seen as an undesirable state, which everyone wants to get out of as quickly as possible. It is seen as encouraging sloth, and inefficiency, and has only grudgingly been accepted by people as an inescapable fact.
I’ll keep this short and provide only one example, but my point is that NED can also be occasionally a good thing. It is that “balancing force”, which prevents you from being over-aggressive. It is that force that helps cool down your blood, and makes sure you don’t act hastily. It is paramount in making you think twice, and maybe thrice before doing certain things. It makes sure that you are never over-efficient at work, and that will help in keeping your boss’s expectations low enough for you to meet them.
I had thought about one or two examples to quote here, but NED means there has been a long time since I started writing this post, and now. And now that I think about it, I don’t particularly want to mention those two examples. Let me generalize. Certain stuff happened. Some people said some things, which I didn’t like. And I felt like hitting back. Hitting back at a high level. That hit-back would’ve led to an escalation of the situation. And might have been harmful to me. But in the heat of the moment, my cost-benefit analysis would’ve shown this action to be producing positive results.
NED happened. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I didn’t do what I had planned to do, rather. Implementation was a bit of a pain so I put it off. And by the time I thought again about it, my analysis of the situation had changed, and it seemed like I would be better off not doing what I had planned to do. Things are all good now. All thanks to NED. If not for NED, I don’t know what I might have done, and I would’ve been in an inferior position right now compared to where I am now.
Two days back, I got a mail saying “sorry if this sounds silly, but what the hell is NED.” I suppose this is a good time to do a check-back. To revise our concepts. So I would encourage you to visit the about page of this blog, and read what NED is all about. And assimilate. And internalize. And recognize the fact that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.