Harold Pinter’s ancestors came to England from eastern Europe, possibly descendants of the Portuguese Pinto family. He was born in East London in 1930 and was very talented as a child. He was a gifted runner, a promising cricket player and a curious student who admired English and Russian literature.
In 1948 he joined the theater academy of London and played in hundreds of plays. At that period he also directed and played in radio and television programs. However he was best known for his play writing, producing witty dialogues, absurd plots and unique style, in plays such as The Birthday Party, The Room and Betrayal – plays that left the audience speechless. In 2005 his outstanding talent was recognized and he was awarded the literature Nobel Prize, joining the Jewish literary hall of fame.
What would you do if you were in Abraham’s place? God has just ordered you to bind and kill your only son. You’re facing quite a tough dilemma, right? If you disobey, you defy God, but if you do obey, you will live a lifetime of guilt. OY.
If Prof. Aumann, an expert in strategies and decisions making, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 2005, was there advising Abraham, he would probably say to him “go for it”, because it is likely that if you are willing to take the challenge, you won’t actually have to take it after all. Paradoxically, it was Abraham’s determination to kill Isaac that saved Isaac.
The paradox is also demonstrated in the “Blackmailer Experiment”: Two men are placed into a room with a suitcase containing $100,000 of cash. The owner of the suitcase offers them the following: “I’ll give you all the money in the suitcase, but only on the condition that you negotiate and reach an agreement on its division.”
The rational person to his friends: “you take half the amount, I’ll take the other half, and each of us will go away with $50,000.” To his surprise, he refuses and demands to take 90,000$. Finally he realizes that the only way for him to leave the room with any money is to surrender to the blackmail.
The blackmailer paradox is just but one principle of the game theory, a field in mathematics dealing with rational behavior of many factors and interests.
Prof. Israel Aumann was born in Germany in 1938. His family escaped Nazi Germany at the last moment. He is a religious man, who believes that the game theory can help us settle almost any conflict: matchmaking, environment, and even the Israeli-Palestinian war. What an optimist bright man!