## Friday, November 20, 2015

### The value of victory

Is winning a game always worthwhile? Consider this solitary game: I guess a number, and if my number is different from the number of particles in the universe, then my score equals the number of particles in the universe. I can play this over and over, winning each time. If it's good for me to win at a game, I continue to rack up benefits. So for reasons of self-interest, I should play this game all the time. I could even set myself up as playing it by default: I announce that each time I breathe, the length of my inspiration in milliseconds counts as my guess. I will be racking up benefits every day, every night. But that's silly.

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

From Vince Lombardi:

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

“When we place our dependence in God, we are unencumbered, and we have no worry. In fact, we may even be reckless, insofar as our part in the production is concerned. This confidence, this sureness of action, is both contagious and an aid to the perfect action. The rest is in the hands of God – and this is the same God, gentlemen, who has won all His battles up to now.”

“I derived my strength from daily Mass and Communion.”

http://www.vincelombardi.com/quotes.html

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

Now with regards to your post - "I can play this over and over, winning each time. If it's good for me to win at a game, I continue to rack up benefits. So for reasons of self-interest, I should play this game all the time. I could even set myself up as playing it by default." This is the reason I deleted all of the solitaire games and Majong off of my computer.

The benefit of losing this game is that you would know the exact number of particles in the universe which would be a very useful piece of information.

Dagmara Lizlovs said...

Consider the following logic statement:

IF A =(I guess a number, and if my number is different from the number of particles in the universe, then my score equals the number of particles in the universe. I can play this over and over, winning each time. If it's good for me to win at a game, I continue to rack up benefits.) THEN "Winning" EQ (Trophy for just participating)

IF A is TRUE THEN (We are fooling ourselves big time) AND (Vince Lombardi is rolling in his grave)

IF A is FALSE THEN (There is still hope for us)

IF A is FALSE GO TO "Get off you backside"

Writing subroutines is not my forte, been out of school too long to remember all the logic symbols, but the above sums it up. :-)

William said...

Bernard Suits claimed that a proper game should include unnecessary obstacles. Breathing and claiming victory lacks such obstacles.

Alexander R Pruss said...

Well, they're very easy obstacles. :-) Just don't express the number of particles in the universe.

Maybe, though, the lesson to learn is that the value of victory is proportional to the difficulty of the obstacles? If so, then in my games, the value is very small.

Richard Davis said...

There's an opportunity cost. The mental effort you spend playing the game could be better spent on something else more valuable.

But maybe you could make the game worthwhile by finding a way to win the game infinitely many times while only expending finite mental energy to do so? I think we still run up against opportunity cost. Spend that same finite mental energy on something else which generates infinitely many instances of greater value. E.g., say the prayer "Lord, please bless me forever" rather than announcing "From now on, I am playing this game once per millisecond."

So maybe winning a game is always valuable, but in this case less valuable than other things you could do instead.

But rationality aside: Thank you for giving me a new hobby in life.