Контент 18+ (обсценная лексика, жаргонизмы) Outrageous! Not only have I switched places with Eric in those content ratings, I have also started writing in the journalistic style. Trying to stay in tune with the times. Or maybe it's time for me to visit a... shrink, as Eric calls them?
I've started watching the new Star Trek series, and the phrase “We all choose our pain” has sunken deep into my mind. So, this hostile alien race asked each of their captives to choose who was going to get tortured: the captive himself or his bunkie, thus “choosing pain.” It vividly reminded me of the so-called “prisoners' dilemma.” Below the spoiler (which you won't be able to unsee), there's its scientific description (and it's a slightly different one because the person who has narced out his pal is provided actual benefits),
Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They hope to get both sentenced to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to: betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The offer is:
If A and B each betray the other, each of them serves 2 years in prison
If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)
If A and B both remain silent, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison (on the lesser charge)
It is implied that the prisoners will have no opportunity to reward or punish their partner other than the prison sentences they get, and that their decision will not affect their reputation in the future. Because betraying a partner offers a greater reward than cooperating with them, all purely rational self-interested prisoners would betray the other, and so the only possible outcome for two purely rational prisoners is for them to betray each other.
but I'm going to explain it in street terms. A guy got caught. Let's call him Elias. He's told, “Come on, man, shop your partners out, you'll get a discounted punishment.” And so Elias takes his time and thinks it over. But Elias is an upright man. He keeps holding his tongue. A bit later, Mike got caught, too. And he was offered the same kind of a deal. And Mike spilled his guts, narced Elias out. But Mike's already convicted, so he's gonna enjoy his time behind the bars in any case. And now it's a group conviction... Let's do the math: Mike has narced Elias out. Separately, either of them would get 5 years; due to the case being a group conviction, either is going to get 7 years. Thanks to his willingness to cooperate, Mike was discounted 2 years from his sentence. What did Mike gain? He just stitched Elias up, that's all.
But the truth is that it's a peculiarity of human psychology that a naked monkey always tries to cover up for himself. Even if it does not bring him any benefit.
For instance, in a US city with a million-plus population, an under-cover cop obtained a list of residents that had been pulled a fast one on by fraudsters. A total of 160,000 (!) people. None of them had notified the police because for some it was easier to lose their money than to admit having been deceived. Others simply chalked it up to tough luck.
It's our faith in miracles (an income of 30% per annum!) that gives them the opportunity to trick us.
The naked monkey enjoys freeloading, profiteering, receiving small services for no more than a thank you. But it's not that simple. Devil lives in favors. And later it's so hard for us to admit that this person – who we trusted for six months, who fulfilled his obligations regularly – has deceived us. That's why the first step of a fraudster is getting into victim's confidence.
It's funny that when we speak of fraudsters we never think that a relative of ours may turn out to be one of them. For example, the question “Who do you love more, mommy or daddy?” is actually a fraud based on cognitive dissonance.
If the person knows the answer, it's high time for them to book an appointment with a shrink. To look inside oneself. The answer “neither” offends both parents. By the way, there's a good film on this subject... Mr. Nobody. It tells the story of a person whose future was torn to shreds after he faced such a choice... And it all starts with small things, such as the words, “I've done everything for you, and now you...”
In fact, it's a fraud even when someone who has loved ones commits suicide. In such a way, the person consciously makes the survivors suffer. Ah, we've failed to help. Ah, we've failed to come on time, to meet and talk with him/her. Ebbs of conscience for the rest of their lives... Children are hit the hardest. It strikes off all the good things the parent has done for them, winding up a spring... A terminal fraud.
We all choose our pain. Instead of looking into ourselves, we analyze others. Instead of solving conflicts, we escalate them to the boiling point... not realizing we're punishing ourselves in the first place.