DJ: To me, the point is: Balance!
Not the balance of territory vs. the balance of influence, but the balance tout court.
If you're behind in territory (and this hopefully means you're ahead in thickness) you will start a fight hoping to find territory somewhere while attacking, or at least to mess around things and catch something up. And viceversa, if you're ahead of territory you will try to play safe (provided this doesn't mean slack) to bring home the advantage.
If you're behind both in territory AND in influence, well, you've lost, unless your opponent makes huge mistakes.
So you must be able all the time to swing back and forth over your pendulum in the very same game: In other words, to be flexible and adapt your strategy to what's going on in your game. Use the whole swing!!!
Tamsin Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the idea to use absurdity to flag up the inadequacy of logic to explain all that there is? Sometimes you just have to accept things as they are because there is no rational structure behind many of them.
Charles My guess is that, while Zen has a background that is quite closely related to that of go, it is actually harder to understand. Which is saying something. Therefore I wonder how useful it is to explain go in terms of Zen. After all the paradoxical aspect of go can be mastered by strong players, while Zen clearly tends to some sort of deconstructive conclusion (but not of the trendy type, since for example it is rather conservative).
AvatarDJFlux: Mmmhh, I must confess my thick brain does not understand very well this last phrase, Charles: what is paradoxical in Go? And what is an example of trendy type of deconstructive conclusion??!? ;-)
And, while I am at it, Zen is not harder to understand, it is meant not to be understood! You must not try to understand: in other words you shouldn't use your rational mind to practice Zen. You cannot "explain", you have to become one. BTW, my very saying this instantly contradicts Zen...
Koans brilliantly use an apparent "paradox" to put off, to displace the rational mind, in the hope that the Zen disciple can awaken to a higher and total-encompassing awareness.
-- Silence --
Charles I think balance in go has aspects that seem paradoxical. For example, a very aggressive player may spend much time defending. A style based on influence means that you take territory in places where you weren't trying to take territory, and don't take territory where you were trying to take territory. The centre of the board is small; but an early strategic concept you have to learn is that it may be big. Sometimes if you have too many weak groups, the only way to play is to make more. As one gets stronger one worries less about these things. Of course the famous one is winning by not trying to win.
My general comment about Zen was to suggest that a Zen monk and Derrida wouldn't get along well. A pun from Jacques, reply a whack.
John F. I find the most useful part of Zen is the ice cream koan.
Charles A pun from Jean, we all groan.
John F. Weak joke, true, but weak rhyme, too :) Still, have you not considered the difficulty of clapping with one hand - this is where the ice cream koan comes in.
Bill: AKA the I scream koan.
Charles Definitely time for that old song from the 1920s I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream ... - for mercy (should be ... For Ice Cream, of course).
DJ: Come on, mates, be serious!!! Poor Scartol was hoping for a real discussion, and what happened...? I already went OT, but you're going NUT(s)!
Scartol, I promise I'll forget about weak rhymes and provide you with my deepest in-thoughts...
Charles Well, if this hasn't yet brought on satori, we may have to intensify the pressure. Let's see - jokes about coning off sections of motorways are probably UK-specific ...
Joshual000 considered the ice cream koan that was not, and yet was. He was then enlightened.
I'm usually put off by Zen references in supposedly technical pages. But in this case I'm puzzled by the remark itself, that go players don't ask who's winning. Why, they do ask it all the time. Of course, observers don't usually ask the players. But players have to ask themselves who's winning, otherwise what would positional judgement mean or, for that matter, how would one resign? Also, kibitzers amateur and pro routinely say: "Black is better now". -- Rafael