After a great deal of observation and reflection, I offer these laws as a step towards a mathematical theory of handbags. I would be grateful for any further empirical evidence supporting or refuting them:
1st Law: Axiom of Infinity
“However many handbags a woman has, she can always have another. Therefore, the number of handbags must be infinite.”
This is similar to standard mathematical proofs of infinite collections, such as Euclid’s proof that there is no largest prime number: if you think you’ve come to the end, it is always possible to find another one.
2nd Law: Restriction of the Axiom of Choice
“A man cannot choose a handbag for a woman. No matter how closely a handbag apparently fits any stated requirements, it will be wrong.”
The original Axiom of Choice is a controversial one in set theory, when for certain results it is necessary to state whether the Axiom of Choice has been assumed or not. However, this simpler version in Handbag Theory is easier to understand. I have to say there are times that I have been close to disproving it, though …
3rd Law: Law of Gravity
“Whatever you want from your handbag is always at the bottom of the handbag, even if it is the last thing you put in the handbag or the lightest thing in the handbag.”
This is fairly straightforward. I suspect the ultimate cause is that the bottom of a handbag functions as a Strange Attractor, whose strength is directly proportional to the desire of the user for the object in question.
4th Law: Negation of the Pigeon-hole Principle
“If a handbag has ‘n’ pockets, it will take ‘m’ searches to find something in one of the pockets, and it is possible that m > n.”
The mathematical pigeon-hole principle is that if there are ‘n’ pigeon-holes and ‘m’ objects placed in them, with m > n, then at least one pigeon-hole will have more than one object in it. As a corollary, if you search the pigeon-holes for something, the number of searches cannot be greater than the number of pigeon-holes. This appears not always to be the case when the pigeon-holes are pockets in a handbag.