Strategic blindness

Strategic blindness

Wed Nov 17 2021 essay
In some cases, it's smart to blind yourself strategically. Consider the following cases.

In psychology, a common coping strategy recommended to anxious people is to envision the worst case scenario about something they feel nervous about, and try to acclimate themselves to it. For example, someone nervous about a piano recital might imagine themselves messing up onstage repeatedly until the thought no longer scares them. Here, someone imagines a scenario that disturbs them until it no longer disturbs them - until they're blind to their own fear.

In ethics, Rawls proposed the idea of the "veil of justice", where decision makers imagine they did not know their own position in society before making a decision. Here, someone blinds themselves to their own position for the sake of impartiality.

In game theory, there are mixed strategic games where the Nash equilibrium for all parties is to choose randomly. Here, the only way to blind one's opponent is to blind oneself too.

Psychology, ethics, and game theory are diverse fields that all point towards blindness being situationally useful. All fields relate to human action, so maybe it's possible to generalize this on that level.

I'm reminded of the [[Nietzsche]]an theme of self awareness/consciousness being a sickness that he riffs upon occasionally in [[The Gay Science]].