The one about The Paper that Will Never Be

I don’t accept that shit people teach their kids that everybody is born equal and that it is up to each of us to decide our destiny.

I’m not racist.

I just believe in Game Theory.

I just believe, that if you consider evolution as this one large Game, where each species is a player, I suspect that Nature would choose a more optimal mixed Equilibrium as opposed to a pure equilibrium.

Put in a more gentle fashion—so as to not make you feel uncomfortable because of my vast knowledge of Mathematical Terms—it’s plausible that there’s this inherent probability distribution, that decides, at birth, whether a man is going to grow up to be an intellectual, or go hunting.

Look, suppose nature could enforce that so-and-so fraction of the species be doing hunting, and that so-and-so fraction be doing the intellectual task of decision making for the herd, then things would be all good, and the species would survive better. If nature made everybody equal, then there’ll be either nobody to do the hunting, or nobody to do the intellectual stuff, and your ancestors would’ve died long before. So, it is in Nature’s best interests to be unfair.

It is also plausible, that with some probability things go so badly wrong that you are neither in the hunting zone, nor in the intellectual zone, and you’re one of those showcase pieces whom the intellects study and use as prime examples of how-not-to-be-born, and whom the hunters laugh at and thus give themselves a self-esteem-boost and thus enable them to do better hunting for the day. So it is plausible, that it is in Nature’s best interest to have the probabilities go badly wrong once in a while, and perhaps, that’s what happened with you.

So who am I to argue with Nature? Let’s face it, I’m dumb.

From a Game Theoretic perspective, this is what that professor at Penn was literally calling “Nature moves first” deciding your abilities, and now, at the second round of the Game, it’s your move, and your move will be to maximize whatever it is that you consider to be your personal goals and personal happiness, given your abilities.

So why am I in research?

You know, Nature gave me lots of signs early on. In UKG, my teacher told my Mom that I was just fit to be a showcase piece.

In my case the probabilities went so badly wrong, that I still have that intellectual interest in all things Mathematical (although, that could still be described as the kind of intellectual interest a 13 year old kid would have in Discovery Channel), and yet, am quite unable to pursue research as a proper career. In other words, I like watching cricket on TV, from a comfortable sofa, and making sophisticated remarks about how elegantly Sachin played that last stroke.

Nature gave me more signs. My grades. Even if I’m not bad, I’m not provably not-bad. This does complicate the process of being trusted to be placed higher up the batting order.

(Don’t bother being sympathetic and encouraging and all—I’m in the process of making a decision here, don’t confuse me yet.)

This is the point where I’m going to have a sudden burst of optimism and say, I’m going to beat Nature.

But only once, just to make a point. Just to satisfy my ego, and just to prove that I’m Awesome. It’s like retiring hurt just when you’re at 95 runs, you’ve done awesome, and you can tell people—“one more over, and I would’ve got another century.”—without the question of getting out. Inside your mind, you’re just telling yourself you don’t want to face that extra over.

I just want one single research Paper, just one fairly interesting Publication. Just to make a point.

And then I will laugh at the intellectuals nerds. And Quit.

It doesn’t really matter at this point if the publication finally does get me funding for next year, and it does not really matter if it does give me the enthusiasm to continue for a PhD. I’m just trying to make a point.

Ironically, if I could actually make this point, I should’ve made it long ago, in which case this post would never have come up.


8 Responses to The one about The Paper that Will Never Be

  1. pratish says:

    Cool. You sound like Gordon Gekko in ‘Wall Street’ when he asserts ‘Greed is good’, except that you’re talking about how Nature being unfair is natural and ‘correct’.

  2. mkb says:

    Arnie and Cricket ! ? Well,that’s like saying Arnie and football.

  3. not you says:

    let it be, let it bee
    let it be, let it be…

    • Arnie says:

      Hmm. I guess you’re suggesting that you shouldn’t think of Nature of having “motives”? Well, actually I didn’t. Since evolution has progressed enough for millions of years to have reached some kind of steady state, it is kinda equivalent to thinking of Nature (or each species) trying to optimize the goal of survival.

    • Shreevatsa says:

      Without going into whether evolution has reached a steady state (we’re not perfect, after all), consider Nature v/s Nurture: why do you think “ability” is decided at birth?

      [Whatever you believe, don’t say so to others: when you have some free time, carefully read this, this. :-)]

    • anshul says:

      Talking of evolution, it is not a game played by species but a game played by genes… This is probably the biggest misconception about evolution that our education system fails to address.

  4. Valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your post

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