The Contrast is drawn from Prisoner’s Dilemma, William Poundstone’s book about the history of game theory. Game theory was created by John von Neumann as a means of making rational decisions in situations of conflict. The dilemma is a point where game theory breaks down and traditional logic fails us.
Poundstone provides us with instructions in his anecdote about Bertrand Russell’s concept of brinksmanship. Russell, an important logician and mathematician, as well as a philosopher of politics and ethics, finds an analogy for nuclear escalation in Rebel Without a Cause: the game of chicken, or brinksmanship.
The instruction for the contrast slot is the use of cultural archetypes, or myths. The anecdote illustrates how myths inform both creative narrative and practical policy formation. The series of Mythematics posts deal with Pruitt-Igoe and cultural myth.