February 2, 2017

The Strategy of No Strategy

  • The Demonic Image
  • The Demonic Image

    Traditional rationalist and actor-center approaches are the way I was taught to think about conflict (military strategy, game theory, competitive strategy in business, micro-sociological expression games, cybernetic control loops, etc). All of these have their purpose. But all of them lead to the imagining of the Manichean demon as the strategic subject. The demon is an abstract, oppositional intelligence that exists only to cleverly strategize, trick, bluff, and cheat. This is an occult entity rather than one described by the tools of science, engineering, and philosophy. The demon also leads to a kind of radical solipsism.

    1. Everything – from communication to identity to language to reality itself – is a strategic game of some sort that refers only to itself.
    2. Roko's Basilisk, superintelligence, and other idle parlor games become the only way to talk about entities that exist within these games.
    3. Hermetic worlds comprised of layers and layers of different games and symbols are the only way to talk about strategy, and strategic analysis becomes indistinguishable from the sorts of bizarre and hermetic closed worlds seen in the occult and conspiratorial.
    4. As depicted in satires of the occult like the Illuminatus! trilogy or Foucault's Pendulum, these grand conspirartorial frameworks eventually collapse under the weight of their own grandiose contradictions and become understandable either as merely collections of different, acontextual tropes (the cliche of the secret Illuminati conspiracy with those of space aliiens) or inherently unstable and self-contradictory texts whose very instability sometimes become ground for farce.

    d non-sequentially linked (cumulative strategy).

    A related note is that the basic assumptions of game theory and cybernetics are ultimately postmodern: everything, from communication to identity to language, is a game. So approaches like competitive strategy embed somewhat of an contradiction in that

    Tags: concept