Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Paranoid, moi?

In response to my last post, Francis wrote:

I don't see how 'post-modern idealism' can 'drive' anything other than humans. It is written about and espoused by humans. Just like modernism and theism. If it is discrete from people, how do you intend to counter it?

I may be idealistic but I find your position pessimistic from your own perspective because you don't seem to have a way to change it because you don't regard humans as the agents of the post-modern relativism you dislike. And I still don't think you have answered my point: why would people like Gordon Brown and Tony Blair want to persecute Christians? Perhpas it is not post-modern relativism you need to fear but paranoia! Lol

Here is my reply

The problem comes when a system of governance and economics has been developed that relies entirely on mathematical rules. Such a system can never be seen to be truly human.

Since the start of the Cold War there has been much interest in Game Theory (did you see A Beautiful Mind? ) developed by John Nash and John Von Neumann. Game theory is essentially a set of tactics designed to maximise your chances of getting what you want. It assumes you have a competitor and that both you and your competitor are playing to win. Usually it fixes the pay-offs and if one guy wins the other looses. I do think that most politics is run along Game Theory lines. Probably the most effective “game” anyone in power can play is called Deadlock, using this strategy you simply refuse to budge an inch and stick to your aims (despite any evidence that what you want may not be really valuable in any real sense). The Deadlock strategy also denies your opponent any chance of winning and ensures that the worst case scenario for yourself is that your status quo is maintained.

This “game” effectively prevents humans behaving like humans. There is no need for dialogue, no compromise, no listening to another’s point of view, no need to gather evidence, no need to be objective. Yet so much political decision making is governed by this brutal cold logic, from going to war in Iraq to public private finance initiatives.

Whilst governments and economists are enthralled with Game Theory, we are living in a post-human society. Human life and goodness do not count, only being in a position of power and getting what you want does. Incidentally, I would argue that to be a follower of Christ is to be a loser in this world, as the goals of the Christian life are not to be found in this world. It isn’t an active persecution on this level, just a realisation that in a post-human society our values simply do not count. We need to realise that in order to be true to our faith, we will eventually give up everything else.

Prove to me that Game Theory and mathematical rules are not central to the running of the state, and I may develop a less pessimistic view about the system of government we live under.


Francis said...

OK. The peace process in Northern Ireland could not be happening unless people were prepared to compromise: the exact opposite of the world you describe Game Theory.

Many European democracies have 'hung' parliaments where negotiation and compromise are the norm.

The way you describe Game Theory is a modernist approach, not a post-modernist approach.

In any case, even if humans did decided to adopt the tactics of Game Theory then humans could decide to drop them, too.

I so far as governments/leaders are driven by self-interest and power, nothing new.

Rita said...


No worries, I'm used to it!


Have you ever studied under a Zen master? Your style of questioning is very similar theirs.

Francis said...

Joe, either you are extremely perceptive or a certain somebody has been giving away my secrets!!

Either..or....Oh , dear the old dualiosm illusion again!

Francis said...

The word verificaiton for my last post was: state.

There IS a conspiracy!!!