What is a fork? The attractiveness of inequalities

Equations are boring

Adolfo Ramírez Corona
3 min readFeb 17, 2022

Photo by Rafael Pequeno on Unsplash


“This is that” is the more basic statement we can do. It’s an equation.

Naming and defining are forms of equations.

A baby handles the old spoon and thinks, “This is a spoon”. No surprise there. Or not surprise about the spoon at least. Awe about the capacity to recognize the object, but not about the object per se. Like thinking, “Oh!, I know what this is, it’s a spoon!”

Equations are boring. They just confirm what we know.


The surprise arises with inequalities. “This isn’t that”, is the form of an inequality, and throws an implicit question or sequitur, “So, what is it?”.

A baby handles a fork for the first time and thinks, “This is not a spoon”. Obviously, the baby can’t say, “This is a fork”, or directly, “This is nothing”. The baby takes an old knowledge to contrast a new object. It looks like a spoon in some ways, but like something different in other ones.

Here, the surprise is toward the object. In the other side of the inequality, there is an unknown, a mystery… the new object proposes a challenge, an attraction, curiosity. “This is interesting!”

Because if we don’t have a previous knowledge to compare a new object, the interest, and the possibilities of learning don’t exist.

Open a scientific paper about a completely unknown topic for you. If there is nothing on it that you already knew to understand part of the text, there is no way you can go through it.

You need at least to previously know something on that paper to understand what you know.

Questions are inequalities. Hypothesis are inequalities.

Inequalities in narrative

The unknown part of the inequality is the story to tell.

Once we know the characters, place, and situation, we want to know what happens next, the unknown.

Inequalities in marketing

Clickbait is build in inequalities. Take some obvious knowledge from your audience. Create an…

Adolfo Ramírez Corona

Author, psychotherapist, coach—Human behavior, UX, media & audiences—Father, husband, meditator—Courses & coaching: antifragilewriting.com—More adolforismos.com