Ghorbani on S. Roszak

by Suspended Reason

Quoted from M. Ghorbani, Homo Opportunus: Strategic interactionism in the 21st century

She collected coordination equilibria like one might collect flowers or pin butterflies. She sought out increasingly esoteric arrangements from small villages and distant corners, discovered new synergies of action and behavior in ancient accounting scrolls and medieval battle descriptions. In diagrams and theory and plain description and concrete examples she attempted to record and characterize each stable fit between peoples, amassing a considerable collection, and when she had done that she went about tinkering with individual variables, experimenting by swapping out parts. She bred hybrids and cross-pollinated solutions; she ran simulations in a variety of contexts, tuning knobs and messing with parameters, narrowing the field until one arrangement was left standing.

For her labor, she was vested with a strong sense of personal satisfaction, and with the right to name her discoveries. Through these names, she would sometimes pay homage to those whose debt she herself felt in. There was the Butlerian equilibrium and the French standoff, the altocumulus arrangement and Artaudian algebra, the Rawlsian lottery and a Borgesian system of common-knowledge memory. Her work, not yet recognized as either a legitimate collecting practice, or as science proper, received little else in the way of compensation or support; it was at that time the opinion of the more philosophically minded that her efforts amounted to little more than amateur game theory, and of the game-theoretic that they amounted to (little more than) amateur philosophy.