Tuesday, August 27, 2013

LIFE IS A ZERO-SUM GAME

by Mr. Mean-Spirited



Human life itself is a zero-sum game: whenever anybody else succeeds, you will be certain to fail. When there is an accomplishment, someone else must fall short. Although the concept of “zero sum” comes from the academic discipline of game theory, the notion is actually the best model of what really goes on in the real world: whenever someone wins, somebody else has to lose. On this earth, the success of one person is always offset by the defeat of another individual. Good luck for one participant will invariably mean pain for another. Whenever your neighbor gains, you will somehow always end up with less.

From basic political analysis, it is obvious that when one pressure group receives some benefit, the competing population ends up suffering. There is never any neutral act in society; if you don’t get anything, you have been victimized. If it does not benefit you, it weakens you. If it is not to your advantage, then it injures you.

The liberals would have you believe that they can design a government where everyone is as winner; the do-gooders would like to convince you that they have a plan where everyone can go home with a trophy. But things are never like that in this existence. Instead, in the real world, to have a victory, you must first have enough defeated. In genuine life, every winner turns you into a loser. Every success requires that there are plenty of failures. Each champion turns the rest of the population into also-rans. Every well-paid boss requires that he has enough poor workers to take his orders. For every player that wins at bingo, you must first have a room full of suckers with empty wallets. For every child that grows up to become president, you must first have enough taxpayers to rule over. For every son of God, you first need a bunch of people to on their knees to sing hymns.

Whenever someone else strikes rich, it is that much more likely you will remain poor. Whenever some immigrant gets a better life, your own standard of living will be proportionally worse. Whenever a stranger improves his life, your own existence will be all the more impoverished. Whenever you are competing for a job that you need so desperately, just remember that there is someone else who will always be more qualified than you. Whenever a friend comes into some money, you will have all the more difficulty making rent that same month. Whenever someone else finds a coin on the street, you will feel a hole in your pocket. Whenever somebody else gets another dollar, you will have four quarters less. Whenever someone, somewhere laughs, you will quickly come to realize that your own zipper is open. Whenever someone else is happy, you will end up feeling sad. There is nothing more annoying than someone else’s laughter—because their delight is always at your expense.

Surely there is nothing more damaging to the human spirit than the happiness of someone else. If you aren’t feeling any energetic enthusiasm these days, that is because someone has drained the psychic energy out of you. The only reason people ever come around you is to take something from you—and sometimes what they take is your exhilaration. Just as another human being can “sap your energy,” so another person can tap your enchantment just by looking at you. Your closest friend is always your greatest risk.

Every time that you see a couple together, there is one less soul-mate for you; every occasion that you see yet another pair of lovers with their arms around each other, your own life will be all the more empty. Every instance that a potential sexual partner gets married, that will mean one less encounter for you; every time that someone puts on a wedding band becomes one less opportunity for you. Every joyous relationship translates into just another romantic occasion that you have missed. Every night that some acquaintance does a bit of fucking, that only makes it all the more likely you will go to bed alone. That happier other people are with their lives, the more certain that the rest of your existence will be miserable.

If you ever want to get anything, you need to do one thing first—and that is to keep others from getting any. If you have a desire to win the lottery, you first need to sabotage the chances of other players. Happiness is not generated by making others happy any more than money is created by giving currency to beggars. The only way that you might find joy is to steal and seize that jubilation from someone else. In this world, there is not enough bliss to go around. Every triumph comes at the expense of someone else.

There are only so many slices of pizza: the more of the pie that is consumed by your neighbors, the less that will remain for you. In a metaphysical sense, there is only so much ecstasy on this planet—the greater the happiness of other people, the less that will remain for you. Only by hoarding your emotions can you preserve whatever passion might still remain. Only by making others feel distressed can you keep your own delight. If “misery loves company,” it is simply because the company of others has made you miserable. You must fight back—and make the other person uncomfortable first. If want anything out of life, you had better start by ruining your neighbor's chances.

Somebody in this life is always going to get hurt. Nothing you can do to change that. The basic pattern of life means that someone will always be harmed no matter what. The best that you can do is to make sure that the other guy always takes the hit—and not you.

There is only so much good fortune to go around in life. Someone else's joy always takes away from you. There is nothing as psychologically damaging to your own personality as someone else's good fortune. If another person gets lucky, you can be certain that there is misery headed toward you. A stranger’s good luck is going to make you grind your teeth and clench your fists. Other people’s happiness is a threat.

Someone else can only succeed at your expense. Someone else has already taken everything from you.

2 comments:

  1. My, someone hasn't gotten to the section of their textbook on cooperative equilibria, have they?

    I submit the counter-proposals re Pizza and metaphysical ecstacy put forth by Malvina Reynolds and the Beatles: "Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more" OR that "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

    As proof of this thesis, I submit the author's own rationalizations http://mister-mean-spirited.blogspot.com/2012/10/damn-it-you-should-be-depressed.html

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