And something about a homecoming queen, wasn't it?
One 2-star Amazon review of Daydream Believers (there are, as of yet, no 1-stars) complains that Kaplan "disappears deep into a dull history of RAND." As if we already knew that story all too well. The surprising fact is, there has never been a full-scale history of the RAND Corporation despite its central role in the Cold War arms race and all that went with that curious time, out of which we have yet to emerge. However, this exceedingly odd historiographic "oversight" is about to be remedied with next month's release of Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire. I ordered it on my birthday last November. I can't wait. The jacket copy apparently states...
In the Kennedy era, RAND analysts became McNamara’s Whiz Kids and their theories of rational warfare steered our conduct in Vietnam. Those same theories drove our invasion of Iraq forty-five years later, championed by RAND affiliated actors such as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Zalmay Khalilzad. But RAND’s greatest contribution might be its least known: rational choice theory, a model explaining all human behavior through self-interest.I know, I know. You're saying "rational choice theory? give me a break." Too 'eavy fer yer head, innit? But wait. Did you see A Beautiful Mind in which Russell Crowe plays Nobel Laureate John Nash? You did, I know you did (it won four Oscars, so the probabilities are with me here). Remember the fantasy scene with the chicks in the bar? Nash says...
If we all go for the blonde and block each other, not a single one of us is going to get her. So then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because no one likes to be second choice. But what if none of us goes for the blonde? We won't get in each other's way and we won't insult the other girls. It's the only way to win. It's the only way we all get laid.Right, well that was about "rational choice theory." Here's Nash as quoted by Philp Mirowski (also look for him in the video below) in Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science (p. 336)...
A solution here means a determination of the amount of satisfaction each individual should expect to get from the situation.That's originally from page one of Nash's 1996 Essays on Game Theory. Game theory -- hold that thought; it links everything in this (only seemingly scattered) post. And remember: Nash was mad. Not "driven to madness" by the implacable pressure of events, as the movie trailer romantically suggests. No. Barking at the moon mad, bonkers, cracked, insane. Dementia praecox, psychosis, schizophrenia. On his own Nobel Prize page he writes...
...after my return to the dream-like delusional hypotheses in the later 60's I became a person of delusionally influenced thinking but of relatively moderate behavior and thus tended to avoid hospitalization and the direct attention of psychiatrists. Thus further time passed. Then gradually I began to intellectually reject some of the delusionally influenced lines of thinking which had been characteristic of my orientation.A couple paragraphs later he refers to "the gap period of about 25 years of partially deluded thinking providing a sort of vacation..." This is not to take anything away from what I must accept (I'm unqualified to judge) as Nash's mathematical brilliance. And less from his honesty with regard to his madness -- an honesty in no way shared by RAND and the Pentagon.
"I realise what I said at some times may have over-emphasised rationality," an elderly John Nash tells Curtis in an extraordinary interview, after emerging from years of battling schizophrenia. "Human beings are much more complicated than the human being as a businessman." In fact, the documentary notes sardonically, experiments show that only two kinds of people behave like perfect little economists in every arena of life: economists themselves, and psychopaths.Hey, hey, we're the monkeys!
from "The Trap" - John Nash's Game: "Fuck You, Buddy"
the unlikely story of how America slipped the surly bonds of earth & came to
believe in signs & portents that would make the middle ages blush
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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)
Tuesday, April 8