Re: virus: The Prisoner's Dilemma

David McFadzean (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 17:57:29 -0700

-----Original Message-----
From: Deron Stewart <>
Date: Thursday, February 18, 1999 10:22 AM

>I think what you are saying here is that the truly rational person with
>vision will choose to do what's best from a "big picture" point of view,
>regardless of what is narrowly "rational" in a given situation. Is that a
>fair restatement?

Yes, but with the caveat that a bigger picture isn't necessarily better. At some point (global? galactic? universal?) you start encountering diminishing returns. I'm not sure what the "right" scope is, and I must confess I haven't given it much thought.

>If so then I agree completely. (This feels sooooo close to being a
>breakthrough that I hope I don't drop the ball here...).
>I want to posit a hypothetical situation in which every "rational" choice
>is inferior to some "irrational" choice. (i.e. ignorant and whimsical
>people are getting higher "payouts" than learned and logical people in this
>situation. And what's worse is that the more the learned people think about
>the problem the worse they do!)

This is automatically true given what I said above. If you pick your scope and some silly large level (e.g. galactic), then every "rational" choice will be inferior to some "irrational" (human-scale) choice.

>Eventually. After a very long time. A few of the learned people figure out
>that there is no "rational" solution to this particular problem and with
>the benefit of this larger perspective thay adopt a "non-rational" reaction
>to this situation which improves their payout.

How is non-rational different than irrational in this context? Apologies if this is a tangent, I don't think I understand what you are implying.