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MikeRosoft
topic
01:38:32 PM Jun 22nd 2013
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  • This is effectively the end result of the Prisoner's Dilemma in real life. The Prisoner's Dilemma is a game theory construct used to illustrate situations where "rational" actions lead to tragic consequence. The set-up is as follows. Two crooks have been busted and the DA has them red-handed on charges that would guarantee a six month sentence. He would like to bust them on a more severe charge. The DA offers the crooks the following deal and the crooks are not allowed to communicate. If a crook talks, the DA will drop the charges against the one that talks and the other will go to jail for five years. However, if both talk, there will be some leniency and both crooks go to jail for three years. Now, as one of the crooks, your payoff looks like this: if you talk and your partner doesn't, you go free. If you talk and so does your partner, your sentence will be lightened by two years compared to being silent. Other concerns, such as being labeled a "snitch," are ignored. The rational action is to talk. This traps both prisoners in the worst overall situation, where they will serve a combined six years in prison. The world is, generally, not populated by people attempting to rob, murder or otherwise betray one another at the slightest opportunity to get ahead, even though that's what the logic of a Social Darwinist would demand.
    • It's more a case of life not being a single shot game. While it's true that in a single game, you're always better off playing the "Betray" (Defect) option, when there's a chance to respond to what the other player, being "Nice" pays off - in contests the winning strategy is to play "Co-operate" initially and then respond with whatever the other player did last time. This strategy, called Tit-for-Tat, won Prisoner's Dilemma tournament after tournament. Variants such as "Forgiving T-f-T" (occasionally allows a Defect to go unanswered, heading off a spiral of revenge) or variants which test the waters with an occasional Defect, just to see if their opponent is a chump, and then forgive a retaliatory Defection from an opponent who isn't a chump, have been equally successful.
      • Additionally, cooperation looks a lot more favorable if players can exert some degree of control over who to play the game with. Reputation as a "cooperator" becomes valuable. Societies frequently do create incentives to choose cooperate "against our own interest." To return to the original story, imagine the crooks are in the Mafia and snitches end up in shallow graves. The "Nice" option sounds a lot better.
    • Finally, Prisoner's Dilemma has absolutely nothing to do with "Good" and "Evil" as they are understood in the context of this trope. Prisoner's Dilemma is about the tragic consequence when rational behavior on the part of individuals leads to tragic, irrational outcomes. Remember, the original story is about two criminals trying to get off after they have committed a crime.
Belfagor
topic
03:05:45 PM Jun 7th 2012
Good / Evil trope. Real Life examples should be deleted.
Peteman
topic
06:21:05 AM Jun 15th 2011
Would Stupid Good be the inversion?
tatterdemalian
topic
07:41:28 AM Feb 9th 2011
edited by tatterdemalian
My personal experience and reading of history points to a similar, but different, explanation being true in Real Life... Losers Can't Understand Winners. For example, Adolf Hitler's success in conquering mainland Europe came about due to his understanding of the implications of Britain's appeasement policy, and documentation shows his end came just as suddenly as his refusal to even try to understand the true nature of the forces that finally rallied against him. The more memorable Hollywood products follow this basic principle as it requires less suspension of disbelief, allowing more to be allocated for the Rule of Cool/Funny. This combines with the overwhelming majority having good being triumphant over evil in the end as a foregone conclusion, resulting in the validity of the Evil Cannot Understand Good trope as far as TV Tropes is concerned.
41.196.119.152
topic
11:55:51 AM Nov 29th 2010
I know that discussion is half dead but... I think the bible verse "And the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not" belongs here. In the original text the word "comprehend" is used to mean both "contain" and "understand" in the same sense as the word "grok" is used today, meaning you know the true name of something or its nature completely that you become one with it, that you can simulate it. Saying that darkness could not comprehend light means it could not become one with light, they can't coexist, it can't contain it. There is a similar idea in 1984 where Winston reasons that since O'Brien's mind contains his and they disagree it must be Winston who is insane. O'Brien's mind could simulate Winston's but not the opposite. I think there is a sort of truthful poetry to it so I thought I'd make the case.
41.196.176.98
01:27:43 PM Dec 29th 2010
Also, the "ambiguity" is present in the original Greek as well as in the English and Arabic translations and possibly others. In the Arabic translation the word is "adrak" which translates to both "and the darkness did not understand it" and "and the darkness could not follow."

I will restore the quote. Unless someone objects ?
SomeGuy
04:07:39 PM Dec 29th 2010
edited by SomeGuy
By all means. I already deleted the Sleeping Beauty quote, as it doesn't really demonstrate the trope- most characters that fall under this aren't near-omniscient like Maleficent is.
4912465808
07:42:19 PM Mar 4th 2011
Exchanged by neoYTPism for the "less abstract and more to the point" quote from Sleeping Beauty. I won't revert this but I don't like it. Too many articles have easy anime/cartoon quotes and too few have a quote with any depth. TV Tropes isn't supposed to be for the lowest common denominator, is it ?
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