Wednesday, June 1, 2016

How a Cosmos That Doesn't Play Games Birthed a Strategy of Playing Games

"The answer to the question in this book's title is both paradoxical and horrible. . . . In the end the only thing that matters is the grim logic of the game of death."

Something provisionally set apart
By the gift of a boundary, within which
More or less arbitrary rules apply
That distinguish the behaviors of things
Within the boundary from things outside
Where those inside rules no longer apply:
This defines the arena of a game.
Death can occur as result of a game
Or death can occur within a game, but
Death is not a game. That much should be clear.

The naming of things is a game. This poem
Is either a game or a single move
In a long game the poet did not start
And will not live long enough to finish.
Necessities are immune to rulers
Whose rules work within those necessities.
A game is wiggle room made metaphor
To play within necessity's limits.
It's possible, for instance, games became
Possible because there was wiggle room

Necessarily built into the world,
And in a universe with wiggle room
Perhaps a strategy exploiting it
Would inevitably be discovered.
I am more interested in the clues
Games provide us, by being possible,
That possibilities are limited
But nonetheless legitimate. Our rules
Are toys in a cosmos that permits play
And play must therefore be necessity.

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