Game theory (with origins in the 1930s) was initially developed to analyze competitive decisions in which one individual does better at another's expense--"zero sum" games--and this term has become a part of everyday vocabulary; here we find it in a poem by Christopher Okigbo (1932-1967), a Nigerian poet.
Where then are the roots, where the solution
To life’s equation?
The roots are nowhere
There are no roots here
Probe if you may
From now until doomsday
We have to think of ourselves as forever
Soaring and sinking like dead leaves blown by a gust
Floating choicelessly to the place where
Old desires and new born hopes like bubbles burst
Into nothing – blown to the place of fear
To the cross in the void;
Or else forever playing a zero-sum game
With fate as mate, and forever
Slaying and mating as one by one
Our tombstones rise in the void.
Christopher Okigbo died while fighting for the independence of Biafra. This selection from the work of Okigbo was found in the new black magazine as Part III of "On the New Year" and it is offered here as a remembrance of the bold life he lived and the challenges he met and overcame. In my July 18 posting you will find additional poetry related to game theory.