Lessons from games

I recently exchanged thoughts about World War II with a pacifist - someone who believes the deaths from the atomic bombs could have been avoided through negotiation. (Typical of people with nebulous idealism, he also said that everyone with a different opinion is a monster, and should never have public office.)

At this point, I realized an important lesson I learned in player vs. player games.

Someone who has won and lost many matches against other players knows that, in war, every hesitation is an advantage to the opponent, means more losses for your side, and a smaller chance of victory. You can afford to be infinitely patient only if you are infinitely strong. When the stakes are high and your advantage marginal, you must act decisively. Hesitation is commitment to failure, and is very hard to recover from. The penalty is death.

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