On game theory, a lot has been written since the 40s. And although today Vincent hasn’t mentioned his editorial work together with Pelle Hansen in Game Theory: 5 Questions (2008) let’s just plug his effort here by way of making reference to one of the newest books in the field. Without too much ado, let’s then summarize the very gist of the 5 minute talk by agreeing with Vincent that Obama won his election because: (1) he is familiar with game theory – they teach it at Harvard – and (2), because he emphasizes cooperation in a game in which ideally everyone wins rather than have a situation when one party wins at the expense of the other. So, according to Vincent, Obama won because he devised strategies that mostly, and at least seemingly, allow for win/win situations.

This is all very good, but what I would have liked to hear is in fact not so much about the math in game theory that allows for rational moves, as Vincent suggested, but the human touch that allows for following mind strategies. Particularly patience. If you ask me, Obama won because he was good at waiting – for the others to make a wrong move, make fools of themselves, or simply go for maximizing the potential wins that obviously can only serve one group of people and not all of them. This latter situation, had it occured more blatantly, would have enabled Obama quite nicely to even make an indexical gesture, such as the rising of his finger and enunciate to the people: ‘see, the other candidate only thinks of himself.’ Bad!

So, game theory. It’s very simple really. The one with the best waiting ability wins. Of course, the reason why waiting in a game is so fascinating is because it’s based on watching closely what is going on. You cognize, not only rationally, but also, and mainly emotionally. Only so are you capable of figuring out whether the opponent is above, below, or on a par with you, intelligence-wise. Emotionally, moreover, we are also free to go the exegetical way, rather than merely the mathematical way. We go with the Bible – and the Baptists quoting it. There must be a reason why we read these words in James 1:4, and why a trillion Americans (dead and alive) are still buying the message: “But let patience (endurance) have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (Perhaps only style. Which is important in any game. Fashion-wise, here’s a piece of advice: Vincent, my dear, lose the sweatshirt. The color can stay.)


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