Archive for March 26th, 2007

300 the most seen movie in Greece

It seems that eventually the “300″ movie will have the most sold tickets in the history of movie theaters in Greece. It is already seen by 1 million viewers within 18 days, while the last movie that came close to 1 million mark needed 38 days to sell as much.

Fight the system or help shape it?

There is a series of documentaries by Adam Curtis on BBC this month about Nash’s “Game Theory” that was used during the Cold War and how now UK’s and USA’s governments are using the same technique to spark civil servant’s interest to perform better.

The theory is based on the assumption that humans are selfish by nature and so each part of their life must be all about screwing the person next to them for personal gain. According to Nash, just like in a poker game, because everyone would think in the selfish same way, the world would not dissolve into chaos, but instead an equilibrium would be reached. USA and UK started using this theory on their own civil servants by creating a “points” system where the employees must achieve specific goals by any means necessary. The idea is to create a free marketplace at any level in life. Basically, this is 100% capitalism, not just from the business & economical point of view, but it’s about a society that’s driven by the “values” of capitalism from head to toe: screw your fellow man to make a buck.

Curtis debunks this approach, and even Nash himself recently said that it might not work as well as he thought as it would be when he invented the theory in the ’50s (simply because employees try to “game” the new system anyway, and also the theory falls apart from the moment a person shows compassion & altruism towards his fellow man). When Curtis was asked what politicians should do instead of using such “inhumane” methods to manipulate their citizens to work more, he has no answer.

In my opinion, no matter what political system we get above our heads, things won’t get better. You can get the same kind of screwing from either communism, capitalism or royalty. And there is a reason why people are not happy with any of these economical or political systems: because the people involved (both citizens and politicians) are not mature and determined enough to handle their place in the society as they should.

There is no perfect political system. And the reason for this is because people are not perfect. People are not good by nature, neither they are bad by nature. They are complex creatures. You only start to get a pretty good society when all the citizens of the country are well-educated and moral people. Societies mature with time, just like humans do. I believe we are some 500 years away from a “pretty good” political system where people would feel “happy” with — that is, if totalitarianism doesn’t take over sooner.

Humans must become model citizens to perfect their system (be it communism or capitalism or something else). Education and responsibility is what would drive a society to prosperity. And when some few of these citizens rise to power, you get these much-desired model politicians rather than face today’s corruption. It’s all about the quality of the citizens and mature societies. Not that political systems can’t further mature (corporations should lose some of their power for example), but without the people themselves get responsible and wise, no system can work.

No, you can’t lean on the “goodness” of people to do their paid job. As I said, people are neither good or bad (the vast majority of them at least). Communism failed because people didn’t care to do their everyday jobs (bakeries anyone?). To _care_ to do something means that you _understand_ WHY you are doing it. You see the big picture. And you can only see the big picture, when you have an open mind and a solid education on your back. Sure they are going to be some jerks to spill the milk, but hey, overall it would balance out.

Maybe another way to make humans understand their role into the society would be to bring the population down (below a billion people), and then have them live and work in small cities rather in megacities where they lose their purpose. A person is more prone to go help in his free time to paint a school in the small town where he knows everyone and understands his role, rather than when living let’s say, in New York. I believe the fact that as many as 40% of Americans suffer from depression has to do with the fact that they don’t live in the country side anymore. They’ve lost their purpose because they don’t get gratification of their current role. They don’t feel part of the community anymore, but part of the faceless mass. I never met anyone in Greece, outside Athens or Thessalonica, having this medical condition, while it is almost an epidemic in USA.

This whole thing kinda reminds me of the utopian world of Star Trek. If you really try to pinpoint the political system that drives Earth in the Star Trek universe you won’t find any (other than some vague notion of democracy in the Federation and the fact that there is no currency anymore). What you get in your face each time you watch a Star Trek episode though is how perfect the citizens are in their relationships, morality, points of views and daily responsibilities.

It’s all about mature people. Look no further.