5.25.2008

Would you kindly: The Movie Effect and The Simple Question

I have two very different thoughts on my mind at the moment. Maybe they'll tie in, maybe they won't. We shall see.

The Movie Effect
When a new movie comes out, the expectations for it's goodness are often based upon the trailer. Different people look for different things in trailers (some prefer information on plot and such, while others prefer that to be kept secret), but in most situations people are swayed to some degree by the movie trailer. But when the movie comes out and people actually watch it, they expect it to be better than the trailer. And then the DVD comes out and they expect there to be extra features, alternate endings, deleted footage, gag reels...which make the experience BETTER than the movie. And then, the sequel. Just the thought makes many people cringe. People know that the sequel is rarely as good, but they HOPE for something better. And often are they disappointed.
So it seems that as the "movie experience" progresses from trailer to theater to DVD to sequel, expectations grow. But why is this?

As humans, we look for a greater good in the later elements. We expect life to get better as it goes on, we expect to get raises as we work at our jobs longer, we want better upgrades to our technology as time goes on. I call this the "movie effect": as time goes on, we desire more satisfaction from the same commodity.
There is a solution, but how willing are you to be less satisfied?

Expect less. Instead of desiring more from succession, respect everything in it's uniqueness and singularity. And above all else, don't be deceived by promises of greatness. Instead be impressed by the satisfaction of fulfillment.

The Simple Question
There is an unusual authority that comes with simplicity. Sometimes people get caught in the depth and detail of everyday life...the intricacies of survival...and forget to be simple. They forget to be plain. And they forget something very important about interpersonal communication: sometimes the best way is to ask nicely.

"Would you kindly?" This question was asked many times by Atlas throughout the award winning Bioshock while Jack ventures through the underwater city of Rapture. "Would you kindly take the shortwave radio," "would you kindly go to Ryan's office and kill [him]." Perhaps over done...or is it? Will people really obey, simply by asking nicely?

The famous Milgram experiment from 1963 may suggest otherwise. Briefly: subject A was told to give progressively more powerful shocks to subject B. Even to the point of a fatal shock (450 volts). 65% of the studied group knowling administered a shock that would kill a grown man. All because a man in a lab coat told them to.

The illusion of authority..."they know what they're doing"...because they have a lab coat? Because they're famous? Because...and the reasons go on and on. But really, why do certain people have more credability than others? And not to sound superior, why should I be allowed to tell you anything? Who am I to tell you my thoughts?

Frankly, I am your equal. Everyone is. There is no human that is greater than another, wonderfully stated by Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

So, can it be that simple questions can have power?
It can be. But it can also NOT be.

Find out. It never hurt to ask.