Game Theory

Quiet is like a zero-sum game.
The more I win, the more you lose
And I don’t know who you are
But I know you’re not a loser,
You oughtn’t be,
So it’s my job to fix the game.

Quiet is like a continuous function on a compact set
Where I know some minimum exists.
If it’s better to give than receive;
Then it must be better still to give more.
If it’s better to listen than to speak,
Better to keep even more still.
If it’s better to not be bothered,
Better not to ask for too much.
I can keep trying, keep looking for the minimum
But I get pushed even closer
Out to the edges.

Quiet is like a symmetric game
Where I could play perfectly
But you’re not smart enough
To infer the optimum strategy.
You taught me the rules, the scoring, everything,
So I won’t sink to your level,
Get pulled down by your loss.
But still, you’re unfit to be tied.

Quiet is like a group that acts transitively on itself.
I could get sent anywhere, could put up with anything,
Anyone’s interchangeable, as a set.
But as a group, there’s still an identity–
That’s me,
And the others aren’t like me,
They don’t see it the same way.

Quiet is like an exponential function.
If you put words in my mouth
Then what if you do it again
When I don’t understand?
What if, if I stand up for something,
They’ll ask more of me next time?
What if it’s growing without limit?

Quiet is like a chain of implications
That doesn’t allow everything.
It will not introduce an inconsistency.
But either it’s missing something fundamental–
Glimpsed from the outside, but that I can never reach–
Or it’s never going to get off the ground
And I’m too weak to say anything at all.

Quiet is like playing football.
I flinch, freeze up,
And then I punt.
But maybe, I’m just looking for dispassionate stripes
Where I can explain
That I really just meant to defer.