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The Wolf of Wall Street and Being Fool in Consumer Society

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

While the markets of the wolves rotate with Adam Smith's 'invisible hand', we watch the symbols of how the settled ‘uncultured’ culture in the world revolves around the world with the invisible tricks in the movie: ’ ‘ The Wolf of Wall Street. This lack of culture has a relationship with the pleasures and excesses of the facts, which are considered basic needs. The story of The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the concept that the Ego psychically creates its false paradises by spreading its basic needs to objects of desire. These false paradises are in some ways similar to the character who is the owner of the planet 'Ego', the representation of the expansionist consciousness that takes on the role of God in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. The same smell comes from the fake paradises built by characters who think they have everything in their hands: A smell that nothing can provide real satisfaction, no matter how good it is. In other words, the act of deception begins with 'self-deception'. However, while the characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie do not find Ego's fake paradise attractive, the characters in The Wolf of Wall Street movie love these fake paradises. They love it so much that they force themselves to endure all kinds of nonsense to maintain that life.

In the movie, which revolves around addictions, the main character, Jordan Belfort, pretends to use the "art of persuasion" that goes to the root of the subliminal power of advertising and propaganda. Because what he does is not 'the ability to persuade' but 'the ability to deceive'. Interestingly, the story turned into a scenario from real life in the movie where Jordan, the young and handsome lead character, who has established his career as a stockbroker, who has no dream but to be rich, gets rich by buying useless stocks with his 'deception ability. In the movie, the character's satisfaction with his pleasures starts to decline from the marginal benefit, that is, the transition to the breaking point of dissatisfaction develops in parallel with the detective investigations. Afterwards, the character is found guilty through investigations, losing his former powerful and wealthy status. However, Jordan continues his comfortable life during his short prison sentence and after he is released from prison. The person from whom the movie is adapted from the real-life story turns into a motivational speaker who teaches tactics to those who dream of getting rich and suffer a comfortable punishment despite all the fraud as represented in the movie in real life. A deception is now an act of persuasion, while the excesses of hedonism take refuge in the indulgence of childish mischief.

Jordan's presentation of his life as a success story to those who dream of getting rich after his mischief and mistake is like affirming the implicit belief that the rogue wolves of the market will succeed against all odds. All his tricks, reduced to childish mischief and deception, are portrayed as somewhat excused crimes in exchange for ratting out his friends. Even when Jordan is caught, he does not feel remorse for the people he cheated and got rich thanks to them, but the only thing he regrets is that he will not be able to return to his past life. After the breaking point at which he was caught, he thinks about the harm caused by his childish mischief and wants to tidy himself up. When the money ran low, his wife was the first to leave his ship, and he didn't want Jordan, who was willing to lead a 'more normal life and was grounded in his old life. This place symbolizes the first fall from the emotionally false paradise in the movie story. Where he innocently tries to portray his trickery is where his addictions have haunted his mind, and his fall in the context of pleasure from his fake paradise is where the detective first finds his crimes in this place of addiction.

Jordan has three things on which he builds his life: money, sex and drugs. Jordan creates a dependency on the other two by using the money. It develops an addiction to them because of the substance and sexuality that can reflect entertainment, relaxation, and pleasure in the external world. The money side of the money-sex-drugs dark trilogy makes him feel powerful to 'buy'. Money is the material acquisition that gives him all the power and brings him his pleasures. Jordan, who adorned his victories with the mask of a 'successful businessman, was seen by his relatives as a role model master of the material world. The masking of his deceptions to motivational speeches after his release from prison, where his deceptions are exhibited as 'persuasion' and marketing mastery, shows that this time the devil did not change in essence, but began to fascinate people by changing clothes.

In a consumer society, money markets seem to have adopted the motto of Machiavellian political thought, "Every way is permissible on the way to the goal". An ethical market is sometimes even blocked by the state and institutions. Institutions like Hobbes' Leviathan are the mirrors of people who do all kinds of tricks without feeling ashamed of their desire for money, to earn, and to pursue their pleasures. For the character of Jordan, who is the role model of the motto 'Every way to money is fair', regret is only an image object that will occasionally look cute to people as an image and put deception spells on other covers. Indeed, some politicians around the world do the same thing: playing on people's desires and making them seem alluring or necessary.

Krishnamurti says in one of his speeches: “If you want something, you will be deceived”. Desires may be the most sacred cradle of the manipulator, and when power is given to deceivers in that domain, for the sake of some hope one gives one's power to the manipulators who will steal it. In the movie, no one explicitly calls Jordan a 'thief'. Jordan's actions, whose theft of hope is greater than theft of money, are at the petty and excusable peaks of the inequality triangle of the demonic narcissistic system. From here, it is assumed that manipulator thieves who play on desires will be treated according to their socio-economic status.

In The Wolf of Wall Street, the exposure to addictions is given a lot by sex scenes through women. In the movie, the woman is shown as a purchasable gratifier who endures all kinds of treatment for money, while all the narcissistic desires of the innocent-looking boy are based on devaluing and satisfying the woman by buying it. The female characters in the movie are also narcissistic. In the film, where nudity, body and drug rage are shown to be attractive by pretending to live freely, the masculine power of men is the excuse of the consumer society, which finds an excuse for its irresponsibility and evil, and normalizes it. No matter how alluring this society and the movie are, or the realism approach that feeds the belief that it is directly proportional to winning by cheating, there are also people whose fake paradise stinks and will not get along with the devil. Despite the normalization of all metaphorical demon agreements, those who are not affected by Jordan are unconsciously feeding the parameters of awareness. So Jordan's only achievement is stealing from people, according to the movie of the story. Not every motivational speaker in the consumer society will motivate you to shine, sometimes their motivation is about making you internally rotten and addicted while showing you how to achieve your desires. In the synopsis of the film, the opposite of what is presented in the shadowy world is true, although the reality is read as the reverse. So the shadowy character who says ‘I am making you rich’ is saying ‘I am making you poor’. Therefore, the analysis of the values normalized in the movie stories by reading them upside down or straight according to the persona of the characters breaks the black magic of the movie language. Otherwise, we see a shadowy character like Jordan as a successful businessman rather than a dishonest person. The dark magic of The Wolf of Wall Street movie language can only be broken by awareness...

By Neris Dipsov

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