Quantum Inspired Meta Strategy On Decision Making

Si vis optimum exitum, circumspice ante confligendum:

When in doubt, at first contact with an unknown, and some decision have to be taken, metastrategies offer advice. “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” is an example of a metastrategy in the art of deciding.

I will present a new metastrategy, which I have long used. It is inspired by Quantum Physics, how an electron comes out of the chlorophyll molecule. It does not always work: once the metastrategy failed spectacularly in the Alps, as I went up the wrong valley, the other side of which was blocked by impassable cliffs… but generally it works). For the background, see Note [1].

When one is confronted to a cliff, going up or down, and one has to find a way… one must observe the situation, first of all. And observe it carefully, because, after all, the end of everything is close at hand, should one decide poorly. The result of careful observation, from one point of view, is, typically, that a way seems to present itself. Call it W1. One then pushes things a bit further to confirm W1 seems to work, and one can evaluate the risk associated with W1, call it R1.

At that point, the most natural strategy seems to be to engage on W1: one has seen a way, so one engages in it. This is exactly what I would do if time was of the essence because some deterioration of conditions is expected within a short time (storm, nightfall, charging or lurking wild beast(s), etc…)

But, if I have time, going down W1, taking evaluated risk R1, the first apparent path which presents itself, is not what I do.

Instead, I look further, by moving and changing points of view and try to find another way some distance away, W2. If W2 looks promising, I then engage in W2. Doing so, I am forced to evaluate the risk associated to W2, R2. If I find that R2 is much greater than R1, I go back to W1 and its R1. But, if R2 turns out to be comparable to R1, I proceed along W2.

This non-intuitive strategy has several advantages:

First, as I go down (or up!) W2, I have W1 as a back-up. If I had gone down W1 to start with, I would not have a back-up, so no choice in case the going gets too tough. 

Second, a broader picture of the cliff has been discovered than if I had gone down (or up!) W1 alone… The second choice method boosts knowledge, relative to seizing the first path which offers itself, from the first point of view.. 

This method, by the way, is reminiscent of the integration along all possible paths of Quantum Physics. And it is probably how I derived the method! As the omniscient aspect of Quantum Physics is never far from my mind (this is one of the main riddles that the subquantal physics known as SQPR explains)

This method is worth an adage, Horace style: If you want the best outcome, look around before engaging

Si vous voulez le meilleur résultat, regardez autour de vous avant de vous engager

As Horace could have put it, had he thought of it: Si vis optimum exitum, circumspice ante confligendum

A weaker variant: Si vis optima solutio, circumspice ante confligendum

The consequences for biggest picture policies are considerable.

Patrice Ayme

When passing through such terrain from above (which I did, August 2022), one needs innovative decision making. Besides gravity, slippery ground, rockfall, storms, lions, bears, rattlers and various stinging insects, many of them lethal, have to be considered… Pinecrest cliffs, north of Yosemite Nat. Park, California.

Note [1], background: I am a mountain climber, and mountain climbing can require multi-day approaches. So doing, I ended, long ago, as a mountain runner, long before the sport was officially born. Thus I partly evolved into a sort of “ranger” (to revive the original meaning of the term)…. This sort of vacation is total, brutal, and excellent for those who live too much in the clouds (as Aristophanes, Socrates’ critic, had it in “The Birds” when he made fun of the “thinkery“). I cross mountain ranges off the beaten path, and cross country mountain exploration vacate the mind from anything else but the raw reality of nature. That and swimming through turbulent seas torn by swift currents.

Solo adventures in an unknown space: I have immersed in nature that way on the major continents: Africa, Eurasia and the Americas. Self-observing, I noticed that I use a peculiar strategy when in doubt about where to go, especially when crossing cliff bands. That strategy can, and should be, generalized for other decision making. It is basically a strategy to mitigate decision making itlself and make it more knowledgeable. The method can be extended all over. I do not know if someone thought of it before (Descartes himself had his “method”… I present one that he may not have thought of…)

Better decision making is central to humanity’s survival… And should be practiced in politics. After all, the greatest advantage of democracy is better thinking, the fruit of debate. But debate itself is full of mental decisions. Decision making showing up in judgments are the atoms of debate. Better decision making leads to better thinking.

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