Tag Archives: Ted

Inspirational creativity

Today it is not the news that got me active; it was a TED video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYemnKEKx0c). It was inspirational for a few reasons. In the first, I have had my exposure to Mental Health Law at UTS, best elective subject ever!

Anyway, the video gives an interesting view on the properties of Mental Health. Whether we look at this from the comedy perspective; whether we see it as an assessment of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it does not actually matter. We can take it into several directions, the problem is the approach towards statistics and how we see people.

Jon Ronson gives an interesting view, but the issue behind this all is that we have pushed ourselves onto the list of being a member of at least one of the stated diagnosis of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Is that not interesting? Consider that close to 80% of the people optionally have mental disorders, 85% if you are in the UK.

How did I get there?

First we get to the group of people who are a sociopath, that group is well over 30%, one in three is a sociopath, I know, because I basically am one (of we accept the evidence).

Let’s go over the rules:

  • Doesn’t respect social norms or laws. Most gamers seemingly disrespect social norms, gamers are a separate group of people and they are often in niche places that are based on what games they play. In addition, workaholics ignore the social norms of a family life.
  • Lies, deceives others, uses false identities or nicknames, and uses others. Gamers are often deceptive, yet we need to see levels of deception, gamers use other players to gain a tactical advantage. Workaholics use nick names all the time to alleviate stress, often these nicknames are not disrespectful or intended to be disrespectful.
  • Doesn’t make any long-term plans. Workaholics live from deadline to deadline; as such gamers often do too, from gaming season to gaming season, as well as release dates to upgrade the pool of games they live by.
  • Shows aggressive or aggravated behaviour. OK, in this, virtual violence (NHL, Fortnite, Overwatch) does not count.
  • Doesn’t consider their own safety or the safety of others. A lot of workaholics are chasing deadlines and meetings; they always overbook their schedule and in addition to that, leave too late for every appointment trying to balance that by speeding and being a menace on the road. Oh and they always call their next appointment that they are stuck in traffic and they will be there in 5 minutes (whilst they are still 15 minutes away).
  • Doesn’t follow up on personal or professional responsibilities. Most workaholics ignore or pushes against personal responsibilities, even as they do whatever they can to meet and follow up on professional responsibilities, with a schedule that is overburdened by well over 15%, they fail there too with some regularity.
  • Doesn’t feel guilt or remorse. It is all about the job, there is no remorse when a target is to be met, there is no guilt when it is met and often thee is a lack of guilt when it is not met either.

As a dedicated workaholic (since 1979) I pass every test but one on the sociopath list, from all this we can state that EVERY workaholic is a sociopath. This is the first issue where we see that the balance of work and life styles is so thin, that line will get crossed on a daily basis. This economy and the work life style that some companies claim (and then set the stage that it can be met when all tasks have been completed) is a stage that warps, instigates and promotes mental health issues.

The plot thickens

You see, there is another revelation; it comes to us when we consider the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. “There’s no clinical difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. These terms are both used to refer to people with ASPD. They’re often used interchangeably” and now we have created a stage of mayhem!

You see antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is as I personally see it outdates issue, we see the setting “People with ASPD can’t understand others’ feelings” I do not disagree with the stage, I merely see that stage as a convoluted, overrated and optionally outdated one, social media is part of the live of almost all and it influences all our actions inside and outside the social media. How many people have been willing to ‘understand the feelings of a gamer‘, I have been a gamer since the very early 80’s (1983) and I never stopped being one, yet for decades (until late 90’s) women would ‘yuck’ at those who loved video games, these people were not cool, they were nerds and no one wanted to understand them, because cool people rub off on them making those socially cool people optionally no longer cool.

It was only after the PS2 and the Xbox that gamers were more and more accepted in the world. Now we see the issue when we consider a workaholic that is also a gamer (that still includes me), for us time is a precious commodity, for the social types, time is a measure of procrastination, you merely have to see Facebook, Snapchat and optionally Tinder to see where their priorities lie, and self-esteem with a dose of Ego feeding is more often than not the ingredients of their need.

Those people fill another void of the DSM, the Narcissistic personality disorder.

When we look at the elements we get:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration.
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favours and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

Here the colours change, the blue is directly seen in Facebook exchanges that a lot make, the problem here is that they are intent on feeding the urge to respond, feeding the interaction that are part of the Rules towards Social Media engagement. the greens are sometimes part of Facebook, yet too often these elements are merely trolling and cyber bullying issues, they are however optionally still part of the Narcissistic personality disorder, Red is a different issue, at times it is not an issue. It can be the sociopathic side in them waking up; it can also be due to unclear communication in social media. When the one word response ‘fine’ comes through, it could be positive, or perhaps sarcastic oppositional negativity, the problem is that this carries in the voice and not on the keyboard. To quote Big Bang theory, Dr Sheldon: “How can I be conceited when you cannot understand what I say?” He is true and he is truth, communication and comprehension requires a third step, the feedback of comprehension, that part where the bringer of the message sees that you comprehended the message; a step that is left null and void in the bulk of all social media used.

In all this there is also the issue with the DSM, 5th edition. I believe that people have evolved to some degree (whether positive or negative cannot be said), the stage of corporatocracy where it is all about the deadline, all about the next spreadsheet for commission and the next quarter. A created workforce of workaholics in an age where we see ‘work life balance‘ given out as a ‘mandate’ for a happy future, whilst the work pressures have not been dealt with, it is an unbalanced stage where people are more and more in doubt of what to do and in my experience the first group getting hit on that part are the families that these people are part of.

In an age where jobs become an issue, where job security is out of the window almost 24:7 in present day and as these issues become more and more visible, we see the added levels of depression added to the mix.

In all this, I mentioned ‘people have evolved to some degree‘ is the previous paragraph, well here it is, even as some claim to be social companies and socially responsible companies, their shareholders and board of directors are all about the bottom dollar, an environment that becomes corporatocratical more and more, the social markers are diminishing. they claim to have their ‘Friday afternoon drinks‘ or their social events once a month, yet these events are more and more about ‘heralding’ successes as a light on all others to become more successful. That is not some social event that is a directed pep talk to give the people something to think about on the weekend that precedes next Monday. It happens more and more and it is there that I invented the joke (which I love to tell every Friday afternoon): “Don’t worry, only another 62 hours and it will be Monday morning again!“, most people shiver, they get how short a weekend is, they merely never understood why they shivered, it was not about Monday morning, it was about the lack of true social family time that has gone more and more into the mists of forgetfulness and it saddens them to the core.

I believe that we will see more and more technological jumps which gives light to more commerce, more goals, more metrics and further isolation of individuals, as they are pushed and pushed into a stage of performance, making the bulk of your workforce an optional mental health case. Even as the Irish Times seemingly hides behind the quote ‘Employers are recognising the importance of supporting employees’ mental health‘, the underlying question is whether this is about work force retention, or actual mental health wellbeing in the workplace. For Europe this is to address “This is because right now almost one third of senior leaders cite finding talent as their most significant challenge” when you cannot find people hanging onto the ones you have is essential, yet the foundation of all this is not the workforce, not the pressures, as I see it the entire quality of life balance has been unhinged for the longest time of a decade and until that is addressed the issue that comes with ‘Why do I bother‘ cannot be maintained and these people are looking for every workaholic they can, those people go on regardless and that is fine with the talent seekers to a much larger degree.

There is no real short term solution and until the metrics reflect diminished work pressures, the situation merely escalated that part we see when HR presentations are set to a stage that no longer includes certain metrics.

When we see:

  1. Revenue per Employee.
  2. Cost per Hire.
  3. Employee Turnover.
  4. Overtime Percentage.
  5. Length of Service.
  6. Job Satisfaction Rate.

We see a problem that does not go away, even as we understand ‘Revenue per employee‘, there are scores where it was all about the team, where the first person properly informs a person and another sells the product as the person comes back gives a lack of understanding of the ‘browsing around’ customer, in a larger corporation there is a lack of comprehension where services and support are reasons why customers remain and buy again, not the salesperson, not even when he or she is selling in the nude. It is the services department that retains the customer and the business they bring. For the largest degree I have seen a lack of comprehension of that in senior management. As long as that issue remains there will be no resolution, especially when the sales people go to suave places for long weekends of training and booze and diners whilst services keep the business clear as they are away.

And in all of these stages, there has been an almost evangelistic absenteeism of the marketing department and their approach to ‘Inspirational creativity‘. For me it was the poster and the advertisement of Macquarie University, as they gave us all: ‘You to the power of us!

Did you ever realise just how brilliant that approach was? It is about inclusion where the approached person is at the centre of it all, how many advertisers were able to inspire you? You might not realise it but inspiration and enlightenment is the first sign that there is no mental health issue, because it is them driving you and it is you who engages that drive to a higher degree, we balance ourselves when someone else becomes the inspiration of us, not the work we need to do, but for us to excel what we were doing all along, at that point when we are there we retain ourselves and we contain ourselves to what we can inspire ourselves. I wonder how many companies have figured that out. I know that Google has been on the right track, but behind that metric is still the need to become accomplished as an increase, not as a state of awareness towards something better and in the second degree that is the track where the true innovations are found. It gave me 7 pieces of IP for 5G, two video games, one movie and an optional TV series (still working that out in my mind).

We can all be creative, yet to be inspirational requires something special and too many have not been able to push that, this is one of the reasons why Huawei is ruling the path of 5G and not anyone else. They all forgot to become inspirational creating their share of workaholics, psychopaths/sociopaths and narcissists, to them: “Welcome to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition”, did you have time to find on which page you belong?

 

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About Entertainment

I stumbled upon an article by Gilbert Cruz called “The Lone Ranger Represents Everything That’s Wrong with Hollywood Blockbusters” (at: http://www.vulture.com/2013/07/lone-ranger-is-everything-wrong-with-hollywood.html). It is actually quite a nice read and the conclusions that I personally do not completely agree with are still well supported and seem to make sense.

His ‘unease’ with franchises are well accepted by many including me, as we read and have spoken out against these reiterations often enough. when addressing the origin story problem he states “Give us a story that works and then, if you’re lucky enough to earn a sequel, you can give us flashes of an origin tale down the road, as opposed to weighing down your first movie.” That is one view, yet it is the view of the director that counts. It should be about the vision of the director. Perhaps it is less about the origin story and more about having a visionary director. My view is supported by mentioning the hidden gem ‘Margin Call‘. I think that this is a movie any economic student should watch. It watches like a story, yet there are layers of events that give it all an actual strength. The fact is also about a story portraying the initial stages of the 2008 financial crises are set in a movie.
Can anything be more dull then that? And even though this movie is pretty much all star, it required a visionary director to pull it off. That is how I see the origin story as well, without vision it is a presentation. It does not matter whether we watch a movie containing a Wild Wild West version of Sparrow, or the start of the lone ranger. the same for Thor, Spiderman and so forth, how they ‘became’ is part of the movie, but how to address it?

This dilemma is approached within the slogan of TV channel ‘FX’. “The story is everything!” I think when it comes to TV channels; it is the most brilliant slogan ever. Yes, we remember the special effects, we see the stars we love and idolise, but without the story…. (Imagine the sound of a flop!).

This is also why (for now) I stayed away from the Hobbit. I loved the lord of the rings. I have been a fan of Tolkien since long before I was at the legal drinking age. So seeing the movie was a massive moment in my life for me. Like many fans I did mentally object loudly when the freeing of the shire was missing (as this is the moment the hobbits experience what those around them went through), yet to see the book on the big screen was a moment I loved. To see the Hobbit was indeed something I was looking forward to, yet to see a 320 page book in 3 movies of around 3 hours each is stretching it all a bit thin.

So as most might agree with, is the fact that a good story requires a visionary. Perhaps this is why James Cameron has been so successful? 2 movies bringing in almost 5 billion is just insane! We should not forget that timing is also extremely important. I feel that this is shown when looking at ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘a man called horse’, which was a shining moment for Richard Harris. Perhaps the world was not ready for the ‘going native’ view in the 70’s.

The article stamps out a side I actually never gave much notice of. He states “So in order to ensure sequels and appeal to the maximum number of people, it must be rated PG or PG-13. Good luck finding an R-rated summer blockbuster.” He makes a fine point here. I want to see a movie that is good; I am not all in favour of bloody or bloodless movies if they hinder a sense of realism. Although I was never a fan of zombie films, the ‘realistic’ view ‘the Waking dead’ brings, is why I am eye locked to the small screen. So, the ratings requiring certain lack of levels of gore would be counterproductive to me. I do not believe that it is about gore and blood-letting. This is why I enjoyed the movie ‘the A-team’, where with 17,000 bullet you see no one gunned down (keeping in pace with the original TV series), yet the opposite of ‘Act of Valor’ is a gem as it is about the efficiency of making every bullet count (Navy Seals apparently are not about wasting time). So my stance floats a little with the movie I am watching, again, the story makes it happen.

This is why the hammer on ‘The Lone Ranger’ feels a little harsh to me. If it is about entertainment, then the Lone Ranger provides, yet the points the article brings up should not be ignored either. This is a Disney movie and Disney factor is important as that brand has a following with an audience they need to protect. Consider that the (Grand) parents, with younglings on a day out will see the protection that the Disney logo brings and as such a gore driven Zombie film with a Disney logo is unlikely to ever happen.

The final part where I slightly disagree with the views Gilbert Cruz offers, is when he mentions The Phantom and The Shadow. These 90’s movies failed because there was a lack of vision (as I see it). The characters are well established through the radio shows and the comic books. If we consider the slogan of FX and if we consider a slightly more Frank Miller themed view, then consider Howard Chaykin’s ‘The Shadow: Blood & Judgment’. That was more than just a mere piece of comic book. That was graphic art on an entirely different level. As much as Baldwin failed to portray the Shadow, the blame should fall to the lack of vision the director showed (perhaps with a small degree of ‘technology lacking’ options). Consider what Tarsem Singh achieved with ‘Immortal’, now let him have a go at ‘The Shadow: Blood & Judgment’. The result could be a lot more than a cult movie that we will remember for a long time. The result could be a blockbuster R-rated movie. Again, it is about timing and for 2013-2015 the timing seems right to take these old ‘heroes’ off the shelves and give them to visionaries, not to the directors that come from the ‘Hollywood blockbuster template machine’. In that regard we all hope that Luc Besson will achieve to revive the French hero that should be seen as an international landmark. As he is remembered for the Fifth Element, this visionary could make the heroes Valérian and Laureline truly immortal. As franchises go, a trilogy of these two characters could reshape the way people see comic book heroes. The only sad fact is that this movie arrives almost 40 years after I read the comic books. Even now, I still remember the art of Jean-Claude Mézières. What is also intriguing is that the art you see in ‘The City of Shifting Waters’ had a lot of similarities that the TV-Series ‘Revolutions’ showed almost 35 years after the comic book came.

It is also interesting that, considering the success of the lord of the rings and the implied upcoming blockbusters that the Hobbit seems to become, that not a larger net was cast on the type stories that have this epic view. We all remember Flash Gordon. Some trough the view of Ted (a McFarlane sense of humour), some through the exquisite music by Queen, however I still think back to the comics as drawn in the 60’s and 70’s. In that same style there are the stories of the ‘Trigan Empire’. It seems so strange that these successful works of art still have not made it to the big screen.

So I believe that there are plenty of options out there, it just takes faith (and funding) in one visionary to take that step forward.

 

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