August 24, 2016

What Can You Change?

I recently watched Cartel Land on Netflix and thought it was a great movie. How the movie starts in the present, flashes back & then loops back around to right near where it started (showing the full cycle of "change" and the resultant futility of the process) I gained further appreciation for just how hard it is to change human nature or systems of power generally.

Any review I attempt to write would probably be inferior to the one Paul2001sw wrote on IMDB:

Are vigilantes reluctant heroes taking up arms to defend their communities? Or men of violence looking for a cause in which to fight? Can a band of local activists protect the people against a corrupt government? Or is an self-appointed institution always doomed, by its very nature, to be guilty of the same crimes it is founded to eliminate? Where does the greatest threat to a popular movement come from - the personal failings of a charismatic leader who can satisfy, but only for a moment, the people's desire for a saviour, or in the slime-ball sellouts who would replace him?

What I found interesting was not only how quickly the movement fell apart when the charismatic leader was injured, but then how to have the sort of charisma needed to be that strong of a leader he attracted people in such ways that ultimately led to him even hurting the people who (should have?) mattered the most to him.

You know and love the people near you, but the bigger a movement you try to build, the faker it becomes as compromises are made as people who don't believe are casually swept up and active exploiters of the movement sense an opportunity.

They show at one point him flirting with a girl & then later his wife saying he had only to do right by his family and god & that he did neither.

People who want to seriously change the world may attract many people to their cause, but if they are successful they'll likely screw over some of the people who trusted them most and gave them the most.

Glow too bright and you burn the people near you.

Widely known, or a few deep relationships with people who really matter to you.

Everything is a trade off. Everything comes with cost. Our hours are limited & we all eventually die.

About 15 years ago I read Edward Behr's book Prohibition about the 1920s & this film left the same sort of sense of uninspired hopelessness in social engineering attempts.

Like the current war on drugs, those efforts failed & had to be unwound.

So long as there are 2 books of law, the profit margins guaranteed by black markets will mean any progress in the war on drugs would ultimately just create more profit margins. It is a self-stabilizing cycle of societal instability. Much like our financial system.

As bleak as many things are with corruption being at the core of huge parts of the economy, there is hope in knowing you can see more sustainable results by focusing on changing yourself and helping those you care about most.

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