Physics Rules

When trying to understand terrorism or even simple domestic violence its helpful to remember that a basic problem with the world we live in is the supremacy of physics to all forms of human endeavor and creativity. I don’t mean that people working on string theory are better than everyone else. In fact, I’m not even talking about any kind of modern physics. Pure Newtonian mechanics rules.
The simple fact is no matter how beautiful, wonderful, smart, funny, sexy, rich, well-dressed, wise, spritual, or well-read you are – someone can still walk up behind you and bash your head in with a baseball bat and you will be dead. And all that really protects you is that there are other people (police, jailors etc) who have bigger clubs (guns etc) and enforce something called a Law. But the law has no power without the guns behind it. Because even if almost everyone agrees to play by the rules some people will always be tempted by the power inherent in physical violence. The temptation to take this path is hard to resist since even when wielded clumsily, raw physical force can acheive dramatic results.
In his book, The Evolution of Cooperation, Mr. Axelrod tries to make us feel better about how someday we will all get along. I fear his prisoner’s dilemma analysis is far to simple. The point system only works if the power of the defector is limited. Rather than simply getting the 5 points of the temptation payoff. If one player uses physics to break the rules of the game, (say by breaking the other players skull) he gets all the points forever. Maybe no one else will choose to play with him. No matter, he will simply take thier things by force.
As a person of some faith. I do have hope that before the sun engulfs the earth, things will get better. As humans we will approach a level of greater goodness albeit most likely on a twisted path. If we don’t believe this we might as well drink the Kool-Aid now, because after all what would the point be. If we ever make it past our collective fear and lust for power and get to a happier place then I bet we will realize that the truth we needed has been hiding in our midst for a long time but was obscured by religion. And wouldnt that just be funny.






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