Keller Easterling

In game theory, Parrando’s Paradox claims that although two losing games played independently will always lose, two losing games played alternately may generate a winning streak. The loses in one game, like the small repetitive supports of a ratchet, seem to prevent downward movement or loses in another. Since two games when cross-referenced seem to multliply intelligence, Parrando’s Paradox encourages a gamble with losses that would generally be considered unproductive.

Many organized systems, from games to electronic circuitry to genetics, behave in ways that run counter to our common notions of order and efficiency. Messy redundancies, generally thought to inhibit streamlined organization, multiply possibilities for trial and error; accidents broaden the base of responses because they introduce new information that the system needs to grow. Losses, accidents, inversions, jokes, and tricks, whether they appear as exceptional conditions or a staple crop, introduce extrinsic information—error that makes organizations robust.

Yet we try to contain error, to prevent it from disrupting our logical proofs. We even treat it as the destined antithesis that proves the assumed conclusion. Or we impose some means of returning error to a determinate system, calling it part of a chaotic, epigentic, or entropic order, something that will stay in the family of the whole. Error is “the original sin of the technical object.” Error is the Fall, the obstacle that must be overcome to achieve knowledge and holiness. We pretend that the family generates all of the ingredients in the world, even error. Satan, with whom sin originated, is, of course, part of the family and the completion of its holiness.

Jerusalem has always incubated segregated losing games. Each game supports a destined circular story of published rules and covenants, and each separate game continues to lose. This text and its accompanying documents carefully misread Mark Twain, juvenilia, Holy Land web sites, and the Bible, searching Jerusalem for sites of naturally occurring error and for losing games that sometimes win.