“Pi”, a film about a man so alienated that he thinks the stock market is a natural organism, something you could study and figure out a formula for. Just a bunch of numbers in the newspapers everyday. He falls prey to Jewish mysticism and a corporate conspiracy, but what really does him in are the headaches. From being too smart I guess. He can do amazing arithmetic in his head, and uses an old computer system that fills up his apartment. What the hell year is this? Soundtrack implies at least mid-nineties. I remember my dad saying it’s the only movie he felt he had to walk out on, but I’ve seen it loads of times. The whole thing is in black and white.
So the stock market in question is presumably the one in New York, as that’s where the film seems to be set. Cos the thing is, there’s a few. One in London, one in China, one in Japan, in fact there’s loads.
It’s just a place for companies to get together and sell their stock, and for people who want to buy stock to go. Not all capitalist enterprises are on the stock exchange, not by a long shot, just the really big ones, and only ones which are structured in such a way as to have stock that is tradable in markets.
And, although it sometimes seems it, capitalist businesses do not control the whole biosphere, let alone the whole earth. So the idea of a magic number behind the whole universe being also a number you could use to predict the stock market is pretty stupid.
Add to that the fact that stock is listed in terms of prices, i.e. values of money. Money is not a natural thing. It’s a thing that central banks print, thereby controlling the production of, and so also the value. They can determine how much money there is floating around by printing more or less, and buy declaring old notes no longer usable. The people making the decisions guiding this are certainly not neutral agents of a divine law either, they are capitalists wanting to make a profit.
Let’s face it, the system is out of our control. It’s even out of God’s control, or the magic number, or whatever.
The idea that the stock market is somehow a representation of the whole global economy and can thus be used as data for predicting the future of the economy, is not just a fictional obsession of a deranged movie character. It has been an idea that has even determined government policy, with “predictably” disastrous results.
I prefer “Requiem for a Dream”. At least it’s in colour. And everybody loves the soundtrack.
At one point the guy says “You’re hittin a croaker for speed, ain’t ya?” to his mum. Cutting social commentary. For real.
I didn’t know people still spoke like that. Or at least, that they did in the nineties. William Burroughs talks about hitting croakers for morphine in Junky, his first book. Maybe they just got it from that, like using slang thirty years out of date just cos actually they’re completely out of touch with their subject matter.
Could be, I mean, I understand all the maths in “Pi” and I only got like a B or something at GCSE. I used to like doodling on graph paper. Celtic crosses and shit.
If I meet some American junkies I’ll ask em what they call bent doctors. Get to the bottom of it.
Anyway it made me start thinking about: Fibonacci Insurrectionism