The Dungeons & Dragons Theory of Civilization

…or the Bumbling Through History Theory. The Zman has a compelling look at how we can end up far, far from where we started, with no good idea how we got there-

My bet is most everyone reading this is familiar with graph paper. That’s the paper with the little boxes on it. Now, imagine yourself in a world  like that graph paper. You are in a room that has four walls and each wall has either a door, a window, or nothing at all. The plain walls range from impenetrable to fairly easy to bust through…

Presented with such a puzzle. you could go exploring, looking for the route out of the maze. If I decided to make the game more fun for me and added some dangers in rooms, for example, then you would be a lot more cautious about seeing the other rooms….

Even without me adding life threatening dangers to the puzzle, your way out of the maze would be trial and error with lots of backtracking. If in your first room you have two doors and those connecting rooms each have two doors, there are four possible outcomes. If those rooms have two doors then you have (12) possible outcomes. It’s not hard to see how the number of possible outcomes can multiply quickly.

Now, imagine instead of a simple grid, the maze is like the gaming paper from the 70’s version of Dungeons and Dragons. That’s the hexagonal stuff. Instead of have(ing) four choices you now have six. That means your first choice has thirty possible outcomes. Multiply this out of a few moves and you see how quickly this puzzle becomes (sic). Even after a few moves, you would struggle to retrace your steps without some sort of map.

RTWT, of course, I’m only quoting…

So it’s easy to see how those with the best of intentions can sometimes reach a point where maybe War is the least of an array of bad options, and there is really no way to backtrack for a “do-over”.

Or you could have a mendacious incompetent such as President Three-putt and quickly find yourself in ‘way over your head with no way out. I think we’ve gotten there.

The next few years should be interesting, in the Chinese sense.