I love you. You’re mine now.

The Duke of Burgundy is a 2014 British drama film written and directed by Peter Strickland, and starring Sidse Babett Knudsen as Cynthia and Chiara D’Anna as Evelyn.

I watched this movie on the recommendation of a girl I used to see – a beautiful girl, might I add, with a sharp wit and an amazing taste in movies. I was quite taken aback to find this on Stan, and then confused to see it listed as Drama, and not in the LGBT section. Perhaps I had misunderstood what she had said? Perhaps I was getting it confused with another recommendation I had received, The Handmaiden, by Park Chan-Wook. But, not even 10 minutes in and I am satisfied that this is definitely a lesbian erotic work, and just as metaphorical as it was suggested.

I can only recall one other movie, actually, two now, that remind me of this film. The story is new to me, that of a slave and her master, and especially that of two ladies in this form. The lepidopterology is also new, and the technical detail that they go in to is quite stunning. They certainly don’t consider their viewers to be simple, a surprising breath of fresh air. It is the cinematography that is familiar, in the overlapping, pulsing use of metaphors and symbolism throughout. In this movie, there is the images of the sex tools, of mirrored objects, of butterflies and moths, and of silk. It intertwines to wrap you in its senses, one can almost touch the fabric, one can feel the beat of the moths wings. It is hypnotising. It reminds me first and foremost of The Company of Wolves, a movie that explores the subconscious desires of a young girl, overlapping with images of red riding hoods, wolves and moons. The other, a slightly longer stretch, but Upstream Colour. The only similarity in the storyline is the developing romance – though in vastly different ways. Duke of Burgundy is mainly set in a house and its grounds, with a colour scheme evoking warm wood, soft velvets and the wings of dark moths. Upstream Colour is not set anywhere in particular, rather around the happenings that a young woman, and eventually her partner experience. Colouring is cold, disconnected, stark, an obvious contrast to Duke of Burgundy. What they do have in common though is the way they tell you the story, not through direct narrative or by characters stating the obvious in their conversations, but by showing you visually and audibly.

Duke of Burgundy doesn’t spoon feed you the plot events, or explain to you like you would to Bob, it is not simplified in any way. It unfolds before you, the music wrapping you up and taking you on a journey, embracing you in the story as if you were really there. At times you watch flashes of colour and images and, although you may be unsure of why, you are entranced, happy to remain in that state and feel the movie blossom. This is how I felt throughout The Duke of Burgundy. There is this story, it is beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes, a fire to my loins, and a craving for a beautiful girl to be near me.

Usually, when I write about movies, I can find some over-arching economic theme to tie into, or a societal value being questioned or – in some cases – bolstered. I don’t have any of this, there is no judgement to be made on the events that occured within this movie, there are no sides between characters, there is just what happened. As I watched this movie, I felt changed, like I had been shown something through a peephole. But the truth was this love had always been there, the door I imagined had been built to cover this was not real at all but some imaginary device constructed by my previous viewings and experiences. I only did not know of this as it had never been spoken of in my world, but it is as real and as natural as breathing. I love that this movie is not questioning the nature of the female relationship, of the dominatrix / submission relationship, or making out like women get ‘up to naughty things’ when they are alone. There is no perverted lens on this film, no gender bias, sexual bias, societal norm bias – This movie is about the love between two people, and their expression, back and forth, of how they love and wish to be loved in turn.

Highly recommend this movie for anyone who wishes to explore the relationship between lovers. Four and a half out of five wonderings.

 

Keep wondering readers,
– Rhiannon

 
Bibliography:
Carruth, Shane. 2013. Upstream Colour. Film. United States: ERBP.
Chan-wook, Park. 2016. The Handmaiden. Film. South Korea: Moho Film, Yong Film.
Jordan, Neil. 1984. The Company Of Wolves. Film. United Kingdom: Palace Productions.
Strickland, Peter. 2014. The Duke Of Burgundy. Film. United Kingdom: Film4 Productions, Ripken Productions, Rook Films.

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The Hilarity of the Control Delusion

Laughing out loud. Commonly expressed as an acronym in the modern digital world, the three letters LOL do not give the feeling any justice, they try but they do not encapsulate the uncontrollable bursts of giggles, rolling guffaws, quiet snickers, and hooting laughter. There is something beautiful in hearing a crowd of people lose control over their vocal cords, expressing noise in appreciation of humour, doubling over with the tight contractions of the abdominal muscles as they make them shake, and tears run down their faces. Described this way it almost sounds horrific, but there is something amazing in losing yourself in laughter, a full body release that transforms you and your reality.

I attended a comedy show last night, and I’m sorry to say that most of my laughs were quiet, a non-comittal noise emitted to acknowledge that there was a joke being made. I was sitting in the front, and was worried that if I did not laugh or smile with the crowd that this well meaning Scottish comedian would likely roast me, and I had to find a way to blend in and become unseen.  This was in part fear of having the spotlight on me, but mostly for the possibility that I would retort with something dry and harsh, potentially ruining the atmosphere for my friends – it was my friends partners birthday and everyone else was enjoying themselves. So I put on my game face, quickly searching for a funny experience in my memory that I could pull the emotion from and project into this moment.

And so we come to The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

It appears I have what is called a sophisticated mordant sense of humour. I took a couple of online tests, briefly dipped my toe into the waters of a Google search on types of humour, and this is the result. I am a little surprised, I was thinking dry originally, but that appears to be more so my favoured delivery method. There are many aspects to humour, and to describe all the ways might be a blog unto itself, but suffice to say my initial readings on the topic helped to clarify to myself what I find humorous. So why The Black Swan, why would I find a book on the highly improbable funny? It wasn’t just an acknowledgement nod, it wasn’t a quiet chuckle, I found myself doubled over laughing whilst reading this, and I still use this book years after reading to bring a smile to my face.

Taleb is a statistician, a day-trader, a philosopher, and the funniest person I’ve ever had the privilege of reading. His dry and often caustic remarks on the delusion of the human race fits nicely with my own mordant humour, and it was funnier as it had the ring of truth to it. Cutting, incisive, and painful truth. I laughed at his dead-pan delivery as he flayed alive economists, statisticians, day traders, and everyone who had ever had the gullibility, the delusion of thinking that they could foresee the future from looking at the past.

Consider a turkey. Taleb discusses their life, their experiences, the knowledge of its past. It is well fed, it is comfortable, it has a place to stay outside of the rain, and as the seasons tick past the history of this process builds up. Looking at this process, can one tell what is going to come next? It is obvious that it will continue to be fed by generous humans, there is nothing in this data to suggest otherwise. So it is quite a surprise to this turkey that the day before Thanksgiving, in the prime of its life, it is killed. This is not such an odd scenario to the humans who fed the turkey, and many statisticians and economists will likely quote theories of incomplete information, and explain how additional information would have predicted this. But if you were the turkey, how were you to know? How do you find out what you do not know? Other than the history of the process, what other information feeds into the events that happen in our world?

There are numerous people who buy into the stock market with magical formulas – to them, there must be a simple yet ingenious way by which you can forecast the growth of a stock and as such get rich, but I ask how could one person possibly know everything that feeds in to the value of a stock? What do company records, previous growth, media releases, and company structure, among numerous other “key indicators” have to do with the value of its stock in the market? According to my early studies in Economics, these were, exactly as described, key indicators. Case and point, The Lehman Brothers. There was no information provided to market that could have possibly suggested that they would collapse, they themselves believed (apparently) that there was no risk in their behaviour and yet they fell. Spectacularly. The shockwave was felt by the world. The turkey was killed, and people are still scrambling to find something in the data to explain this, to protect themselves, to find the shooter behind the grassy knoll and provide more robust forecasts.

The war in Lebanon and the crash of 1987 seemed identical phenomena. It became obvious to me that nearly everyone had a mental blindspot in acknowledging the role of such events: it was if they were not able to see these mammoths, or that they rapidly forgot about them. The answer was looking straight at me: it was psychological, perhaps even biological, blindness; the problem lay not in the nature of events, but in the way we perceived them. (Page 21, The Black Swan)

Mistaking a naive observation of the past as something definitive or representative of the future is the one and only cause of our inability to understand the Black Swan. (Page 42, The Black Swan)

To the turkey, how do you know what you don’t know? Do you hurriedly scramble to gather more research, more data, more of everything – because it has always been obvious to us that more is better. Do you try numerous analysis, design brand new ones, both complex and simple, do you just think harder? Would any of this have helped the turkey? Or the Lehman Brothers? The 1930s depression? The stagflation of the 1970s, which broke crucial economic theories that supported industrialised economies?

No.

Taleb strips this delusion from you. This belief that you can foresee the future. That you have control. He offers – not a magical time telescope – but 10 principles to create a robust society, one that can minimise its risk of extreme events, and continue to grow and thrive.

Read this book and accept your weaknesses. Embrace your humanity. And laugh out loud as the facade of control comes crashing down around you.

Keep wondering readers.
– Rhiannon

Bibliography:
Taleb, N. (2010). The Black Swan. 2nd ed. Penguin Books.

Back to Reading – and Wondering.

It’s been years. I have many excuses that I made to myself about why I stopped blogging, about why I stopped reading, why I stopped trying – becauase that’s the crux of it. I stopped believing that I was enough, and I started telling myself that I was trying too hard. It’s a common story for those with anxiety, for those who have faced or experience depression, for women and for men. It’s the story of the masses, of the people who no longer have the strength or the confidence to believe that they are OK exactly as they are.

This time in my life is generally undocumented – excepting a few heart wrenching diary entries pleading with some higher being to please explain why I felt the pain I did. And it was deep, dark, bottomless pain. I reasoned to myself that there was no logic behind this, that I was one of the lucky people. I had full-time employment, a comfortable place to live, friends who loved me whether I was ebulliant or a lump. I exercised, I received praise at work, people told me I was pretty, my clothes were clean (or at least second day clean), and yet I had a blackness that wouldn’t go away. There was a couple of occasions, generally after attending a social gathering where I knew one other person, that a black octopus would grow at the back of my skull, wrapping its dark and vacant tentacles around my brain. I could feel them, and it crossed my mind a the time that it would be OK to just let it all go. A scary thought while you’re in the car. I cried in bed until I couldn’t voice my fear and sadness anymore, but it never seemed enough, so I cried on the way to work. I cried (silently) in the work toilets. I cried on the way home from work, from social events, as often as I physically could. Although the blackness and the crying were big red flags to my conscious brain, I kept making excuses about not going to the doctor. I told myself it was the nightly takeaway food, that I wasn’t exercising regularly enough, that I wasn’t drinking enough water, that I was still grieving from my mothers passing and I just needed to let it out with some teary nights and journalling my thoughts.

I’m not sure what woke me up, though is it ever really one key event? I think popular fiction likes to protray these crucial, life-changing moments as sudden epiphanies, that there is one magical thing that will clear the haze from your eyes. My recollection is a build-up of things. Realising that it had been 6 months since I had started crying on the way to work and that it hadn’t stopped, or even made little steps. My PT had been regularly, but casually, mentioning my moods and behaviours (he is a close friend, so it was not intrusive, just unheard for a while). The conversations with my close work colleague, which started to sound like a broken record. Waking up crying. So despite my embarrasement and shame, I went to see my doctor, a lovely woman who operates with a holistic “all of lifes experiences” approach – meaning that she will consider all aspects of your life and provide discussion around medical options, not just a script. I spoke to her and explained my troubles sleeping, my constant racing heart, my crying episodes, and we discussed how I felt and the thoughts that were racing through my head. She very quickly recommended me to see a psychologist for sustainable long term assitance, and offered me medication for the short term.

Fast forward about two years, and I’m still struggling, but it is much better than it was. Sadness does not imbue my every waking moment, I can exercise without feeling like my world is crashing down around my head, and I can generally enjoy myself in the company of other people. There has been a number of changes in my day to day – I changed jobs and am now at a company that has a positive and excited culture (more on this to follow), I have a partner who is understanding and supportive of my journey as well as a beautiful adventure in themselves and our relationship, and I live with one of my younger sisters to ease my general stress and have regular companionship. This isn’t to say that I am nearly where I want to be, my memories of my passion and energy for life still seem out of reach for my current state of being, but they are about 2 or 3 steps away, rather than across a seemingly impassable chasm. Slow steps, but progress none the less.

There have been books in the meantime, adventures in reading, watching, and even travels out of the country. There are ideas I want to discuss, thoughts I’d love to share, and so much more to wonder and dream about. So here I am, getting back to what I love. Exploring the vast and wonderful world that is our zeitgeist, those of yore, those of now, and those yet to come. And I am excited to share this with you.

 

Keep wondering readers.

– Rhiannon

Asking Questions – The similarities between Economics and Fiction

Firstly, I’d like to take a moment to apologise for my lack of blog posts – the main reason is I’ve been inundated with ideas, and they’re big ones, and the thought of starting was terrifying. So, I’ll take a step back, and just write.

This post is inspired in part by 1Q84 by Murakami, but also helps to define why I chose Economics as my subject of study. I don’t think I ever wanted answers to questions back way when, it would frustrate me to no end if I asked an abstract question and was provided with a definite, black and white response. And I never had any desire for knowing specifics, such as years of events occurring (other than their relative position to other events). Abstract questions such as – if we have no evil, can there be any good? Often the response I’ve received is evil is bad, and needs to be controlled and outlawed. There is no discussion, or consideration of the term, or of its position in society and in human existence, just a flat answer. This is not enough for me, I want the question to inspire further questions, I want to see a flowering of thought in the other person, for them to have another look at their world.

In 1Q84, the world has changed. I shan’t say much more than that, other than what The Times wrote about it – “A work of maddening brilliance”. If you like to question, as I do, I would strongly recommend reading it.  Murakami makes some interesting notes about fiction writing in this book, particularly that authors ask questions, they link ideas, they don’t answer but they do inspire. This inspiration provides one with a new viewpoint, a new understanding of their world, and provides them with new potential tools to shape and respond to their reality. What has this to do with Economics? Why, I believe everything. Economics is, in itself, a work of fiction. Sure, it is sourced from statistics, from tested theories, and from in depth research as to the behaviours and reactions of economies and people. However, its source is an ever changing one, being people. They are never the same from day to day, person to person, or even between countries. Generalisations can be made, and the theories that are built are often strong, testable, and usable. Consider this though – throughout the ages, over many differing forms such as religion, philosophy, and scientific thought, we have considered numerous ways to describe and understand human nature, yet still day after day we are surprised by the actions and reactions of others. We cannot understand our behaviour, oftentimes we don’t even understand ourselves, yet we create a form called Economics based on human behaviour to understand the interactions between various systems of people.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this in anyway demeans or belittles the subject. Rather, I think it highlights what is is that we do with this form of thinking, this form of understanding. A by-product of sentience is a pursuit of understanding, and Economics provides a framework with which to understand the behaviour of systems of people. In its current applied form, a money currency is used as a form of exchange between economic agents and parties for goods and services, but at its very core, Economics is a science of understanding how people achieve their wants and desires with limited resources. Within an economy, for instance, Australia, we use the Australian dollar to buy and sell products and services which will – so we believe – provide us with our wants and needs. We build theories and test through statistics and econometrics what were to happen if different actions are taken, such as Government stimulus, a drop in interest rates, or a new taxation system. We ask a question, and the Economics framework provides us with a method by which to come to an answer (with provisos of course – always remembering ceteris paribus). We apply this framework to historical actions in order to identify ‘ingredients’ as such, which affected the mix and resulted in a different outcome to what we expected – take stagflation for instance. These are tried methods, backed up by swathes of data, that are used to answer questions. But how is this any different to a work of fiction?

A story has characters. An economics system has micro and macro systems. A story has an event occur. An economics system has an event occur. A story follow the unfolding of the event, its effects on characters, and gleans new understandings from the behaviours exhibited – which, I must point out, if these behaviours are too foreign to the reader, then there is no understanding. The characters must be believable, they must stem from their structure on the breadth of human behaviour and characters in place, or at least, an understandable extension of current behaviour. In economic systems, the micro and macro systems must also follow real world behaviour, our current understandings of these systems and their operations, or at the least, an understandable extension of what is currently in place. In economic theory, we follow a story just the same as a fiction. An event occurs, and through the theory we watch the unfolding of the event, the reactions of the systems in place, and we glean new understandings from these behaviours.

Stylistically, they are quite different. Structurally, I don’t think so much. I like to ask questions, so I pursued Economics, a discipline which specialises in setting a scene, and watches events unfold. The results we take with us to apply to the real world, as a tool to help us understand further, and to shape and create our reality. The framework of economics is ever changing, a different subject every decade or so, it flows with the times and the generations, and it changes as behaviour changes, providing new ideas and inspirations as to how we can satisfy our wants and desires, given our limited resources.

Keep wondering readers.

– Rhiannon.

Behavioural Control

This isn’t the blog post I intended on writing – I’ve been quiet of late as I’ve been powering through a couple of fascinating new books, and I did sit down this morning with all intention of summarising and relating my ideas on at least one. However, turns out I ended up watching Psycho-Pass Season 2 (all of it) instead, which led me to this post.

Psycho-Pass Season 2 Synopsis: The story takes place in an authoritarian future dystopia, where omnipresent public sensors continuously scan the Psycho-Pass of every citizen in range. The sensors measure mental state, personality, and the probability that the citizen will commit crimes, alerting authorities when someone exceeds accepted norms. (Wikipedia, 2014).

The authority in place is the Sybil System, and at one point they raise what was known as the Season of Hell, when a new system, Panopticon, was partially implemented to manage the road systems. However, it resulted in hundreds of deaths because of the constant bugs and lack of control. Which led me to question, what is a Panopticon? Of course, ask and Wikipedia shall provide.

The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept is to allow a single watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates without them being able to tell if they are being watched or not. Bentham himself described the Panopticon as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example”. (Wikipedia, 2014)

It seems though, that although the idea of the Panopticon uses fear to control, Bentham himself argued for a more inclusive society, which appears at odds with such manipulative control. It may be that the fear of being watched, of losing privacy and thus control, is what has caused the ferocious backlash against central control. One can make a fairly easy comparison to Government, where a small number of people control the masses – although, not to the extent of the Panopticon, perhaps there is a grain of truth in the fear of possibly being watched by a Government that shrouds a majority of its actions. In Superfreakonomics, they discuss the idea of consequences. If one is caught speeding, one is fined, as appropriate for the level of speeding. An economic agent will weigh up the choices (presumably) at the time of the act as to whether they wish to stay in the speed limit, or disregard it and risk the fine. One simple answer to stop everyone from speeding is a death penalty. This extreme solution may cause the agent to always stay within the speed limit, given that the risk if they don’t is too high. In order for this to work however, the probability of capture would need to be high to always, otherwise agents will likely refer to their heuristics to determine the likelihood of capture, rather than the fine itself. However given the small number of law enforcement resources in comparison to the populace, currently this is not being done. If we were under constant surveillance, and the fine if one broke the law was to die, then it is very likely that agents would not break the law, given two critical things: the probability of capture (and resultant fining) is high, and the fine is too much of a risk for the pleasure (time, money, happiness) gained in the act of breaking the law.

Fear seems to be the controlling tool here, and it’d be interesting to see how this use of fear carries through in the behaviour of government, and those in power. It is also echoed in the fears that citizens seem to hold regarding surveillance – are we scared because of our lack of control, or because of a lack of trust of those in power? If it is the former, will it be a real loss or just the illusion that we had control originally. If it is the latter, do we mistrust because of previous behaviour, especially regarding fear tactics, or is it back to control, and loss of?

I’ll keep researching this, there are some fascinating crossovers with the material I’ve been reading of late, I’d say some of the key points that require defining and researching are:

  • Fear tactics
  • Control, reasons for, against, and effects
  • Privacy

Keep wondering readers.

– Rhiannon

Levitt Steven D. and Stephen J. Dubner, 2009. Superfreakonomics. United States: HarperCollins Publishers

Tow Ubukata. 2014. Psycho-Pass 2, Anime Television Series, Tatsunoko Production.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Psycho-Pass”, Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopaedia, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Psycho-Pass&oldid=639544994

Wikipedia Contributors. “Panopticon”, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Panopticon&oldid=637457749

Economics – a tool for how, not an answer for why.

In my earlier post about THX 1138 I mentioned that humans appear to searching for an answer beyond money, and that Economics has been mistranslated as proving that money is the goal, when it has always been just a tool to achieving our goals. I stumbled across an article this morning that gave me goosebumps, the simplicity in which it described my thoughts was pure beauty!

I wish I could say that when I began my studies that I knew what I was doing – no such grand plan here, I just selfishly followed my interests. It just so happened that my interests fell into Economics, Statistics and Philosophy. When you look at these three in conjunction, they’re actually very similar, and provide some key insights into each. In particular, if one looks at Philosophy and Economics, there are the obvious threads of logic and systems thinking, however after reading this article I saw something that had been niggling at the edge of my thoughts for a while.

Economics models the ways in which our society works, there are basic models for basic ideas, and much more complicated flows and designs to capture the bigger ideas. We use statistics and theories to try and understand how our systems act and interact within our society, and the more we model, the more we try to generalise or compartmentalise humans – even to the point of adding in a factor for irrationality – all in order to make sense of what we see around us. There are many reasons why we model in this way, some as simple as making business decisions or placing policy, however I feel that we ache to understand our world, we try to make sense of what is happening so we can feel secure that the decisions we make are the best educated ones at the time. We want to feel right, and in control. Tim Harford put this nice and clearly in his Ted talk – Trial, error and the God complex.

However, we are not god. We are not all seeing, all knowing, and omnipotent. We make mistakes, because we are human, and to believe that there are models and systems of thinking that can account for everything is highly delusional, in just that we cannot even grasp the depth of the system in which we live, being our reality. I won’t generalise and claim that Economists do this, or even that people do this, at the least on a conscious level. However, what we are guilty of is believing that a model is the answer, when it is but a tool. Economics models our reality, but it can only show what we ask of it, and we don’t know all the questions, and the tool is only as strong as we make it. We can use economics to clarify, to simplify, to inspire, but it will not show us where to go or the reasons behind our questions.

Philosophy, the age old science, the beginning of all scientific theory, the beginning of logic, is where these questions can be answered. Or, if one has faith, then religion can possibly show these insights too. (Philosophy is my personal favourite, so I’ll continue with that branch in this post). Philosophy considers human emotion, response, consciousness and nature in order to understand why we are here, what this reality is, and what it could possibly mean to us – in this sense we can find our purpose, our reason for living, our reasons for humanity. Economics cannot provide us with purpose, only with the tools for the actions we determine.

I highly recommend you read this article, it’s a brief one and a shorter version won the New Philosopher writer’s award III.

http://theconversation.com/the-perils-of-the-last-human-flaws-in-modern-economics-29783

Keep wondering readers.
– Rhiannon.

Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents and be happy.

THX 1138
THX 1138, GEORGE LUCAS’ DIRECTORIAL DEBUT, PRESENTS A COLD, DYSTOPIAN FUTURE IN WHICH INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT AND LOVE ARE FORBIDDEN. BUT TWO CITIZENS DARE TO REBEL.
LUH 3417, a disenchanted surveillance worker, consciously stops taking her mandatory drugs — medication that suppresses emotions — and gives placebos to her roommate, THX 1138. Now free to feel, the two fall in love, but find themselves on the run for breaking laws of conformity.
Released March 11, 1971
The above was taken from the producers website, and although I selfishly watched this because of an addiction to dystopian science fiction, I found that it brought up a lot of economic questions. The populace in this movie are drugged to decrease emotion, ostensibly to increase efficiency and thus production (amusingly to produce cybernetic cops that enforce control of the society). Although the production wasn’t a particular focus of the film, it’s certainly a topic worth exploring. To begin economic studies we are presented with highly simplistic models to gain some understanding of what economics attempts to explain. Such as, demand drives supply, prices are a function of these two forces, and by extension, the entire economy operates through these interactions. Unfortunately, sometimes these simplistic models are taken as the over-arching principle of economics, and the principles of capitalism over-ride the original ideal – that economics is the study of how humans satisfy their wants with limited resources. Price is but a function of how humans negotiate this problem, it is not the end in itself. Somewhere in history, economics was mistranslated to be a study of how to maximise profits, when it has always meant much more.
THX-1138 portrays a society that has over time, drugged its people into the most efficient resource to maximise productivity. This seems ideal, if our societies end goal is to maximise productivity, as societies translation of economics is want to suggest. If so, why is this society considered dystopian? Why is there an overtone of fear, why do LUH and THX reject the medication and attempt to flee? If production, profit, is the end goal, why would anyone want to leave such a seemingly efficient society? This would suggest that the ideal of economics, of satisfying wants, does mean more than money, and resources. That emotions, personal ideals and dream can also be considered ‘resources’, worth desiring just as much as physical resources. That not all physical resources satisfy all desires, that not everyone has the same desires, and that there isn’t always a one size fits all solution.
It is a personal beef of mine when people misinterpret my love for economics as maximising profit, that being an economist means being a capitalist, and that functions such as education, welfare, and research must not matter to me because they’re not profitable. I need to say this, as it is one of the most important ideals that I hold close to my heart. I did not study economics for money, for profit, or for stock markets. I study economics because of the interactions between people, the ability to understand and watch how people reach their dreams, and to try and find ways to help society reach further, expand, grow and become more. I see this everyday in popular media, where those who chase profits find at the end of the movie that there is more to life – The Wolf of Wall Street, Wall Street, even American Psycho. (apologies if I ruined the story for anyone!). There are movements currently towards Minimalism, where one declutters, and by doing so disconnect oneself from the drive to buy happiness and to find it within. Countries across the globe are pushing for cleaner power generation technologies – though, this can partly be argued by the scarcity of the resources on which the original generators were based, as well as the push by the younger generations for environmental custodianship. Money is important insofar as it is a tool to reach our dreams, and society is pushing to realise their dreams rather than just profits. Economics, as a study, is leading the charge in understanding these movements, though I think that this is not well advertised.
Movies, novels, blogs, articles – media – are a mirror of our times, of what has been and what we expect to come. Our fears, dreams, desires, sins, and passions are laid bare for all to see. And it is here we can start to understand our desires thus what is driving our current day economics, and where we could potentially be further into the future. When I see something of interest, something that hints at a curiosity, of a desire, I’ll bring it up here for you to have a look at.
Keep wondering readers.
– Rhiannon.

 

Bibliography
Bradshaw, Mike. 2013. Global Energy Dilemmas. Cambridge, UK. Polity Press.
Folger, Edward; Ford Coppola, Francis, and Sturhahn, Lawrence. THX 1138, directed by George Lucas (United States, Warner Bros, 1971). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THX_1138 / http://lucasfilm.com/thx-1138
Hanley, Chris; Pressman, Edward R. and Solomon Christian. American Psycho, directed by Mary Harron (United States, Lions Gate Films, 2000). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Psycho_(film)
Pressman, Edward R. Wall Street, directed by Oliver Stone (United States, 20th Century Fox, 1987). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_(1987_film)
Scorsese et al. The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese (United States, Paramount Pictures, 2013). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_of_Wall_Street_(2013_film)
The Minimalists. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Accessed 30 November 2014. http://www.theminimalists.com/

The Introduction

This reminds me of drama class in high school, where the teacher tries to draw you out of your shell by having you express your own unique nature in front of the class. The more expressive, unique, and eccentric you are, the more you are applauded. One must stay within bounds however – one cannot just step outside the social norms that is high school life, and expect to live.

I wonder how I should introduce myself, and the doubts and questions start to roll in. Am I being too presumptuous, weird, or odd. Am I exaggurating myself to seem cool, to fit in, or to purposefully not fit in, will it even matter if I am truthful about myself or if I create a whole new identity would I achieve all my dreams? This is as intense as high school drama, creating a character in Skyrim, or a new family in the Sims.

I’ll start at the top then. My goal in this blog is to explore behavioural economics, with flavours of science fiction and philosophy. I grew up watching Neon Genesis Evangelion, playing violin, and attempting to make sense of western philosophers such as Descartes. I revelled in fantasy novels, and got in trouble often with students and teachers alike for questioning perspective and reality. I started Economics in year 11, but fell in love with the so called ‘dismal science’ in year 12 – which may be in part due to a teacher who encouraged questioning assumptions, logic, and thrived in chaotic classroom debates.

I decided to be reasonable, and worked full-time before going to University. During this time, I discovered that money held a very strong sway over my decisions, and although economics was my passion, money drove my choices. Eventually, after 6 years part-time study, I majored in economics, minoring in philosophy and statistics. I had thought that choosing philosophy units, although fascinating to me, would be useless in application, but this whimsical choice turned out to be one of my best ones. Statistics was a curiosity, and I picked it for its applicability to economics, however I found that in studying these three I found a thread of logic, of different yet similar lenses of reality, and I became hooked.

During the undergrad degree I also started learning Japanese, a side-effect of an obsession with Japan and its culture. Likely started through anime, I am still obsessed and watch anime weekly. One Piece forever! ❤ Since the undergrad I have moved onto a graduate certificate in project management, and discovered yetanother potential interest – systems theory.

The more I study, read, explore, and discover, the more I find new ways to see myself, the world, and our people. The interconnectedness of so many varying realities fascinates me, and how our future is driven by their interactions and existence. Who are we, why are we, and where are we going? I will use behavioural economics as the lens for these questions, and I’ll shade my findings with my other fascinations. This is what I’d like to share with you.

See you next time!