Sunday, 13 November 2011

Unexistence: Game Theory and the Dynamics of Nuclear Warfare: How to classify and survive a Relationship

‘If you are so meant for me and I'm meant for you why does this have to be so hard on both of us?’ ~a question never asked of me.

Well to understand the reasons why relationships typically don’t work one must understand that Humans, particularly those in relationships tend to play games more often, than trying to make the relationship work.  In order to understand that, we need to understand Game Theory.

In short Game Theory is a mathematical model in which a person’s success is calculated based on the decisions made by others.  This is what makes it ideal for applications such as Nuclear Warfare and Relationship Management.  That is the good news.

Now for the bad. Most games as applied in Game Theory are Zero Sum Games.  So what exactly is this  Zero Sum Game?  A  Zero Sum Game implies that in any given dynamic one person’s gains exactly net the losses of the other person.  Which in turn implies inherent competitiveness, and that does not work in a Relationship.  The seeds of the destruction of a Relationship lie in this competitiveness, since ideally a Relationship is synergistic and complimentary towards common goals rather than competitiveness.

There are several Games we play in the dreaded realm of relationships.  Primarily there are four types of games that can be played out. Let’s quickly look at these.

The first Game scenario is I am OK you’re not Ok.  This is a power play, and one where you are looking for dominance. Typical messages communicated are the Composites. ‘Can you be an adult?’  Quite simply this is a zero sum game, designed to put you in power.

The second Game scenario is  I am not OK you’re OK.  Playing the victim in general or trying to be completely altruistic and failing at Mind Reading.  Which in turn leads to feeling victimized since you can’t do anything right unsurprisingly. Especially since you’re not clairvoyant. What on earth did you expect?  Another Zero Sum Game.

The third Game is potentially the most destructive scenario. I’m not Ok and You’re not OK or in Cold War parlance Mutually Assured Destruction. Personally amongst divorced couples that I have done no scientific study on whatsoever, I believe this is the reason.  Each side will constantly erode each other to the point destruction. I could cite examples, but surmises to say each side aims to balance their losses by ensuring that the other side loses as much. It is a variant of the Zero Sum Game.

Finally we have the fourth Game. I’m OK and You’re OK.  This game does not really fit Game Theory and is the reason why it can make the relationship to work.  Each side accepts the strengths and weaknesses of the other and actively works towards filling the gaps and working towards common goals. It’s the most difficult of the models, and breaks the Zero Sum Game model to smithereens. It is the only way to ensure that a relationship works. One has to weather the storms as a team, being the anchor and source of strength for each other through whatever life can throw at you. Total commitment.

Unfortunately as humans very few of us of have the will, determination and courage to adopt it.

To answer the question never posed to me, as humans we would rather play a Zero Sum Game rather than commit completely and irrevocably to Love.  Unexist and be at peace.

[Disclaimer: I am not a mathematician or a tactician. I have no idea about Nuclear Weapons though do know the ultimate WMD for a relationship are words spoken in anger.]
[Note: The Question is actually from a song called Stay by Jay Sean, and I can't claim to have heard it]


  1. Good to know that there is a way that works, no one said that life and relationships should be easy...

  2. True. Relationships are a lot of work and almost impossible to make them work. Personally I am out of the game and Game Theory. Unexistence is about observation, not participation.
    Hope you find the happiness you deserve.

  3. What shit. Life is simple & keep it that way...

  4. Your eloquence is illuminating. You can live in blissful ignorance if you so choose. It is a free world.

  5. is simple for the dim of mind! The rest of us can enjoy this post as entertainment at one level and insight we we choose to find it....

  6. I think mind reading games is fun! :)

  7. Good for you. Mind sharing your skills?

  8. Happiness is the end we all seek,throughout our lives.Unfortunately the solution lies within us while we continue to search outside.

  9. Happiness does not lie within. Contentment and being in limbo does. Happiness I believe is largely based on the thingie called relationships. Read the post on happiness.

  10. great! another one of your gems