Zero-Sum Games

On the topic of zero-sum adversarial contest and conflict, it may be questionable the extent to which participants are aware of their shared, vested interest and unwritten ideological investments in the conditions which perpetuate and favour the open-ended continuation of the game over any potential final resolution or notional end-state. Any player possessing sufficient insight into the contest to allow for decisive moves against their opponent need not be consciously aware that their own symbolic value and contextually-derived significance can only be what it is by virtue of a continuing dissonance and generative friction on that broad spectrum from subtle difference to intransigent conflict. This is of course also the symmetry of a Mutually Assured Destruction and indirectly indicates the sense in which a Cold War (like an insurgency) is not won, but is rather “not lost”. The conditions for achieving victory (a.k.a “success”) in complex, large-scale political, strategic or economic engagements are typically problematic and defined in these enigmatic terms; while the various translations, perceptions and interpretations of victory or defeat are binary as rendered in the simplest characterisation of historical or material circumstances, no such trivial simplicity exists in a real and complex world such as that in which we participate.

Is final and complete victory or control ever possible where underlying (i.e. unconscious) psychological forces seek perpetuation of social or political dissonance as a method through which a persistent narrative of reflexive self-definition is cultivated and validated or justified ? This is not purely a matter of conflict or social and cultural dissonance: the probable broader derivation and consequence is of a world in which an implicit psychological incompleteness not only generates perpetually inadequate political, economic and social policies; the deeper revelation is of a world in which the incomplete logic of such perpetually inadequate and incomplete policies form a foundational, axiomatic requirement and unacknowledged expectation for the continued existence and political intelligibility of that world and it’s associated world-views.

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