Culture

The only winning move is not to play

I have never seen the movie War Games. At least I don’t recall ever watching it. I suppose its entirely possible I caught it at midnight years ago and slept through it. If so, does that count as having watched it? These days I now keep a running list of movies I catch each year. I do love that Evernote app. But I digress. I haven’t, as far as I know seen the movie War Games. But I am familiar with several quotes from it. Just this past week I saw some individuals on Facebook quoting the movie. And it got me thinking.

Specifically, as part of game theory, some noted “The only winning move is not to play.” Indeed that very well may be in some instances. I was thinking more along the lines how it completely frustrates some people when you refuse to engage in dysfunctional, non-fruitful discussions and eventual offputting mindgames. It could be argued that by not engaging, knowing full well the consequences, you are engaging in mindgames. It can be a winning hand.

On the other hand, sometimes you do just have to engage with the full intent to crush and defeat the other. It all depends on what the game is. Sometimes you just have to make it seem like you are not going to play. But then you sweep in with a boss move.

Maybe this is all silly and I really need to stop watching all sorts of movies at midnight and turn Facebook off.

7 replies »

  1. I had to ask IMDB what War Games was, is it the 2011 thing about people going to play war in the countryside? Never seen it, sounds like something I might sleep through too. Or I’m looking at completely the wrong thing and don’t have a clue what you’re talking about! An interesting trail of thought from the quote though… I do think it depends on the situation, sometimes it’s best to not play and step away, sometimes you need to “sweep in with a boss move” to finish it. x

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  2. Matthew Broderick, IIRC? It literally depends on a deus ex machina at the end – but well done. Enjoyed watching it, way back when. I don’t know whether it is still watchable, as tech has changed so much, but the points made are still valid: mutually assured destruction is a terrible way to go.

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  3. In physics, there is a concept known as entropy. It says that the entire universe is moving from a state of order to disorder. When the disorder is complete there will no longer be any way to extract energy to do further work. It leads to the Heat Death of the Universe. It is often summed up this way:

    You can’t win.

    You can’t even break even

    You can’t refuse to play.

    But don’t worry. The heat death of the universe is still many trillions of years away.

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