7 Week Study Program for
"The Bond"

By Lynne McTaggart


WEEK SEVEN
Talk for Speakers
Study Group Material



Week Seven Message for Speakers

Change ‘I Win-You Lose’ and Change the World

Preparation: Chapter 8 of The Bond

SUMMARY:
This final sermon sums up the new paradigm shift from life as a zero-sum game (‘I win-you lose’ ‘What’s in it for me?’) to the new paradigm (‘I Win AND and WHEN the Rest of Our Community Wins’). This can be illustrated by the story of economist John Nash as portrayed in the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ in which John Nash realizes that the Adam Smith model of ‘Every Man for Himself’ is wrong. The best response for anyone is to ‘do what’s best for himself – and best for the group.’ The Nash model can spark ideas about how congregations and communities can connect for community and even trans-country goals.

FULL TEXT:

This final sermon sums up the new paradigm shift from life as a zero-sum game (‘I win-you lose’, ‘What’s in it for me?’) to the new paradigm (‘I Win AND WHEN the Rest of Our Community Wins’). This can be illustrated by describing the iconic scene in the movie A Beautiful Mind, when the mathematician John Nash realizes that the Adam Smith model of ‘Every Man for Himself’ is wrong.

In the movie, Nash, played by Russell Crowe, is sitting with some fellow graduate students in a bar in Princeton, circa 1948, when a striking blonde walks in with her brunette friends. All five of the boys are attracted to her, but immediately thrown into a quandary. Which of the six of them is going to get lucky and end up with her? One of Nash’s friends quotes Adam Smith: “In competition, individual ambition serves the common good.” From that perspective, one of the men notes, the best strategy is essentially every man for himself.

“Adam Smith needs revision,” Nash suddenly exclaims. “If we all go for the blonde and block each other, not a single one of us is going to get her. So then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because no one likes to be second choice. But what if none of us goes for the blonde? We won't get in each other's way and we won't insult the other girls. It's the only way to win.

“Adam Smith said, the best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself. Incomplete. Incomplete!” Nash declares. “The best result is for everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself . . . and the group.”

The scene is meant to describe one of the most important moments in 20th-century economics. Although given a good deal of poetic license, the point of ‘the Nash Equilibrium’ however, is that the choices that you make should depend on what everyone else does. You choose the best possible position for yourself based on what everyone else is doing, and by choosing what is best for yourself – and best for the group you reach an ‘equilibrium’ where no one can improve his position, given the choices everyone else has made.

The Nash model is the perfect illustration of the new ‘Bond Paradigm’: We do best for society by looking out for ourselves AND the rest of our community. This sermon may encourage congregations and communities to use these principles when overcoming an ‘us vs. them’ mindset and connecting for community and even trans-country goals.

THE OLD PARADIGM
• Life is a zero-sum game (I win-you lose)
•What’s in it for me
• I must win, dominate or be first
• I look after my own, period
• Us vs. Them
• We do best for society by looking out for Number 1

THE 6 PRINCIPLES OF THE BOND
• I win and we all win
• How can I serve?
• I choose to connect, whatever it takes
• I look after my own and the group
• Us + them
• We do best for society by looking out for ourselves AND the rest of our community




 

Week Seven Lesson for Study Groups

From Local to Global

Reading guide: Chapters 8, 11 and 12 of The Bond.

In our final week we examine ways to move from the old zero-sum paradigm (I win, you lose’) to the six principles of The Bond (‘I win and we all win’) globally. We also explore the power of designing superordinate goals to connect with and evolve with other groups around the world. This lesson also focuses on the ‘Nash Equilibrium’ (‘What’s Best for Me – and the Group’) to design goals that promote unity with others from different cultures or belief systems.

This can be illustrated by the story of the mathematician John Nash as portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Mind (detailed in chapter 8 of The Bond) in which Nash realizes that the Adam Smith model of ‘Every Man for Himself’ is wrong. The best result is comes, he says, when everyone in the group does what’s best for himself . . . and the group.



Lesson Goal: To explore how moving from a paradigm of exclusion (I win-you lose, ‘Us vs. Them’) to inclusion (‘I Win and We All Win,’ ‘Us + them’) offers a powerful tool for connection and to bring these ideas out to the wider community.

THE OLD PARADIGM
• Life is a zero-sum game (I win-you lose)
• What’s in it for me
• I must win, dominate or be first
• I look after my own, period
• Us vs. Them
• We do best for society by looking out for Number 1

THE 6 PRINCIPLES OF THE BOND
• I win and we all win
• How can I serve?
• I choose to connect, whatever it takes
• I look after my own and the group
• Us + them
• We do best for society by looking out for ourselves AND the rest of our community

• Discuss the bar scene from the film A Beautiful Mind, detailed in chapter 9 of The Bond, when Nash realizes that your best action anyone can take is not only what’s best for himself but also best for the group.
Challenge: What are some ways to take this idea and apply it to your neighborhood, workplace or community?

• What do the lessons of the Nash Equilibrium and other examples of game theory teach us about our current paradigm (I win-you lose)?
Challenge: Discuss one area that is currently ‘every man for himself,’ and design it now as ‘every man for himself . . . and the group.’ How would it work then?

• Engage in a bit of blue-skying. What would it look like to have businesses that work together, and not in competition?
Challenge: Discuss ways to incorporate these ideas into your own workplace or a community organization.