Reputation and Reciprocity

When asked why he went out of his way to go to so many of his colleagues' funerals, an elderly philosopher once replied, "So they'll come to mine!" Sounds silly: without exception no one whose funeral s/he attends will ever reciprocate, eh?! But if everybody followed that logic, nobody would bother to go to any funeral (except their own). Establishing a reputation for caring and kindness bears fruit indirectly. It's like the "pay it forward" parable; the world's a better place. Societies that spiral toward revenge and retaliation prove that the theorem applies in the opposite direction too.

(cf. TitForTat (1999-10-31), TwoFaces (2002-02-10), ...) - ^z - 2010-11-18