The Artful Dodger

As mentioned before, knowledge encompasses more than just facts, ideas, and thoughts. Thus, even if the free expression of facts, ideas, and thoughts are censored or suppressed, the artfulness, experience, skill, and talent which are encompassed by knowledge can never be suppressed or taken away from people, given that these characteristics or qualities are the true sources of knowledge and information. After all, it is experience which generates knowledge and information more than anything else, and thus experience is the true source of knowledge and information.

In turn, it is hard to swallow and digest the sheer hypocrisy of Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim al-Thani, or for instance the sheer hypocrisy of the Palestinian Prime Minister which was demonstrated by their hobnobbing with King Charles in Buckingham Palace today. Hobnobbing with an institution that was the impetus for the “Palestinian Cause” as well as the problems and issues of the broader Middle East cannot logically and rationally coincide with the supposed advocacy of these two leaders for these particular causes and issues. Moreover, the hobnobbing of these two Arab leaders with King Charles demonstrates that the abuse, extraction, and exploitation which were once characteristics and hallmark features of the ‘Global North’ are now the basic characteristics and hallmark features of certain governments and leaders of the ‘Global South.’ 

I have written about ‘Game Theory’ on numerous occasions. In a nutshell, what we call ‘Game Theory’ is essentially the study or understanding of the art or perhaps even the science of decision-making and strategy. And at the heart of ‘Game Theory’ is the concept or idea known as ‘Nash Equilibrium.’

What ‘Nash Equilibrium’ essentially amounts to is the idea that when we take what everyone is doing as an aggregate or total sum, all of it leads to what is known as “equilibrium” or a “resting place” and a relative state of ‘peace.’ Why ‘equilibrium’ results from the total aggregate or total sum of everyone’s actions and activities is because individual actions and activities are a “best response” to the actions and activities of others. Thus, each person is operating based on a set of beliefs about the actions and character of others, and taken altogether, is the ‘best response’ of each person to the actions of others based on a set of either informed beliefs or incorrect beliefs which nonetheless leads to ‘equilibrium.’

In addition to ‘Nash Equilibrium,’ the most important concept or idea which is at the heart of ‘Game Theory’ is the famous ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma.’ In essence, the ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ is the choice or tradeoff which confronts virtually everyone at a critical point in time, namely, the choice or tradeoff between cooperation or defection from others. If one side chooses to exploit the other side and then defect, then the side which exploits and then defects is the side that gains and the other side is at a loss. However, if both sides are thinking along the same lines and seek to exploit and defect, then both are at a loss, whereas cooperation would mean both sides would benefit, even though the benefits derived by each side from cooperation would be less than if one side were exploiting, defecting, and then getting away with it. 

And as William Poundstone noted, the concept or idea of “Prisoner’s Dilemma” – the author and founder of which was the 20th century Hungarian-American economist John von Neumann – was borne out of the ever-growing evidence that our social reality which is now global in scope is shaped by a very specific social phenomenon, namely, that “technical” or technological progress is “outstripping” ethical and moral progress. Thus, the question of whether the “common good” can be fostered out of a global social reality whereby technical or technological progress is outstripping ethical and moral progress is one of the important moral and philosophical questions, if not the most important moral and philosophical question of our day and age. 

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