7 Week Study Program for
Preparation: Chapter 8 of The Bond
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 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 6 PRINCIPLES OF THE BOND
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.
THE OLD PARADIGM
THE 6 PRINCIPLES OF THE BOND
• What do the lessons of the Nash Equilibrium and other examples of game theory teach us about our current paradigm (I win-you lose)?
• Engage in a bit of blue-skying. What would it look like to have businesses that work together, and not in competition?