25 Jan 2005

Games People Play

Posted by Oblivion in General | 5:50am

"...people's approaches to co-operation with their fellows are, indeed, evolutionarily stable. Of course, it is a long stretch from showing equal success in a laboratory game to showing it in the mating game that determines evolutionary outcomes. But it is good to know that in this context at least, nice guys do not come last. They do just as well as the nasty guys and, indeed, as the wary majority."

Nice guys refers to those who choose to co-operate, nasty guys, to those who choose not to. There is a third group - free-riders. They decide to co-operate or not to, depending on the situation on hand. In case of an intensely competitive situation, where the two subjects involved have equally powerful strategies, I doubt if categorising them as nice and nasty depending solely on the tendency of implementing the strategy and ignoring the consequences is sensible.

Game theory strongly relies on assumptions. It applies perfectly to situations where the subjects involved are equally clever or dumb, for, the evaluation of how competitive and unbeatable a strategy is depends on the acknowledgment of the strategy by the opponents. When an opponent repudiates, the strategy seems out of place and the significance dissolves. Which is why, one cannot approach kids or sane individuals with a strategy. They do not have a stand; all strategy fails against them. And because they do not acknowledge the strategy in the first place, the result would be of no bearing - no matter what the result.

For everything else, of course, there is game theory! And it works absolutely fine.

As long as man is against man
And as long as minds can plan
So long shall people play games
Futile duels for fame and names

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16 Jan 2005

The Big Idea

Posted by Oblivion in General | 12:16am

It's easy to leave behind knowledge for the future generations, but it's not easy to leave behind mystery. In fact, it is possible for every person to pass on his insights, experiences and there are always takers for that in this world. Every one wants to embrace an ism, to hold on to that one big idea, to adopt one school of thought or another, so all knowledge has chance for survival for at least some generations, if not for eternity. But, to create something that will trouble the most intellectual brains for generations hence demands a great amount of genius. And to do that deliberately needs a genius who can grace the planet only once in a millennium.

That da Vinci is a genius is as much a fact as that Googling is a synonym for searching. Although no conclusive evidence exists as yet, da Vinci is believed to be the man behind the mystery of the shroud. That it has been so intimately associated with religious sentiment hampered any meticulous research. Nonetheless, the analysis, however little of that was possible,  thus far suggests no other man could have done it except him. Only a person with in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, crucifiction process, unmatched perfection in painting and good contacts with the church and the affluent could have 'created' the shroud with such impeccable foresight! It's akin to planning a perfect murder leaving absolutely no clues behind.

I'd certainly be delighted to know if he really is the man behind the shroud. And it'd be a matter of curiosity to know if he indeed knew that his work of art would become a symbol of faith for millions and perplex religious sceptics and scientific people alike, for centuries thence. Surely, if he was aware of this, it would merit becoming the subject for a mindblowing thriller. Even otherwise, if the mystery were just an accidental consequence, it would still remain among the greatest works of art, and possibly the only one with an element of mystery that would not likely be solved. Ever.

If today I am given a chance to envision any such thing that would leave mankind in mystery for centuries together, what will I choose? .....

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7 Jan 2005

Relative Reality

Posted by Oblivion in General | 4:49am

Do we know what reality is? Or, do we merely live in a world of relative realities? Of course, everything is not dependent on our perception - everything, in fact, exists regardless of whether we perceive or not. So, logically, there is indeed reality - the world/universe just as is. But, are our minds capable enough to perceive reality? If we observe even casually, everyone believes he is perceiving reality. He believes the world is exactly as the way he is comprehending. Being a fundamentalist or a philosopher is simply a matter of perspective, and perspective is dependent on a lot of factors. Ergo, neither's judgment can be considered infallible. Given this situation, is it possible for one to perceive reality at all?

I suppose it is. It is possible to perceive reality when the perceiver disappears - not out of effort, but out of volition. A simple realisation that any effort on the part of the perceiver/observer subjects the reality to distortion effects the dissolving of the perceiver. In such a state, there is only perception; the duality of perceiver and the perceived is no more. The individual just becomes a channel through which reality lives and flows. He becomes the reality itself.

Unless one comes upon such a state, it appears to me that we merely live in a world of relative realities, no matter how objective our thinking is.

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6 Jan 2005

Sans-graphic Memory

Posted by Oblivion in General | 4:55am

How would life have been if our memory were not photographic? Human memory, for the most part, relies on stored 'images'. The encoding process is strongly linked with the 'association' corresponding to a particular image. There's almost no storing of sense-data. So, when someone 'remembers' an experience, he is simply fetching the appropriate imagery and, more importantly, the 'associations' for the same. While the imagery helps one 'see' the experience, the associations decide the corresponding emotion generated as a result.

However, not all memory is photographic (it appears to me); nonetheless, the memory that we frequently use is. The entire repository of emotion depends, for its effective fucntioning, on only photographic memory. For example, our recollection of basic historical data or theorems in mathematics hardly engenders any recognisable emotion. On the other hand, one can say with a fair amount of confidence that envy cannot be triggered if the mind does not 'recall or construct images' relating to an issue. Same applies to other emotions as well. One feels hatred not directly for the person or an issue, but for the 'mental construction' of the subject in question. Emotion depends not on the subject directly, but on the 'association'.

Looking at it, the edifice of emotion would completely crumble if human memory were not photographic. That also implies the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next would have been impossible, or at most, absolutely difficult.

Hypothetical but interesting!

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4 Jan 2005


Posted by Oblivion in General | 9:03pm

Life is a random event with an uncertain result.

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2 Jan 2005

Certainty, the Ditcher

Posted by Oblivion in General | 1:02pm

2005 is here. What the heck! Time seems to be running faster than ever before (yes, it is a psychological illusion, that is why I wrote 'seems'). How does it feel looking back? Nothing great. It came, it went; that's how it is, after all. When viewed in a wider perspective, of course.

Any insights? Not a new one, but life seems to prove this again and again - certainty is a great ditcher. Everytime I loved her, she eloped. Even when she is there, it's only for a brief moment. Uncertainty, on the other hand, is a most faithful beloved. She is always there with one, whether he likes it or not. She loves unconditionally. She is the epitome of true, unconditional love.

The lesson? - Let certainty go; open the doors and welcome uncertainty, and life will be great, and contentment will be yours! Absolutely.

Anyways, welcome 2005!

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