Fishead (They move around)
A Fish Always Rots from the Head.
‘Fishead’ is a one hour documentary-style film. It uses a combination of interviews with experts, archival material and animation to paint a slightly ironic portrait of our times as seen by the two film creators: a psychiatrist and an economist.
Psychopaths, as we have come to understand the term, are the bad people who commit the most violent crimes. Between 25-35% of the US prison population would easily fall into this category. Far more important for the lives of most of us, as it turns out, is the other type -- the silent successful psychopaths. They look the same and they behave like everybody else. Until recently, they were also ‘invisible’ to the diagnostic methods available to psychiatry. With advances in neural imaging and with the sustained effort of scientists, we now have a clearer picture of how their brains operate. Curiously, the condition – psychopathy, which is basically a defect in the function of the brain – could be a real blessing in the professional careers of some. According to an existing hypothesis, the world of large corporations, finance and politics, and positions of limitless power in general, share a disproportionate number of psychopaths.
Could this alone be a factor in the recent global economic crisis?
For the last 5 years antidepressants, or more accurately SSRIs, have become the most prescribed drugs in the developed world. There are more antidepressants sold per capita in the US and in most European countries than antibiotics and painkillers combined. According to statistical data, the levels of clinical depression have remained pretty stable in the same period. The increase in the consumption of the ‘pill’ has more to do with correcting the stress-related side-effects of our high-speed lives. This group of drugs has been thought of as harmless and non-addictive. In reality millions of people find it hard or even very hard to stop taking them. Results from basic science suggest that they may have a much more profound effect on our brain metabolism. Persons taking SSRIs for extended periods may experience a certain narrowing in thinking. The drug can affect their decision making and elevate their threshold for risk aversion.
What about the fact that a lot of the decisions that eventually led to the recent crisis were made under the influence of antidepressants?
And does it really matter?
In our search for explanations, maybe we should just stick to ourselves before pointing fingers. Maybe the sense of entitlement got the better of most of us. Maybe we got a little too used to our comforts lately…
NARRATOR: Never in the history of humans was there been so much wide support and acceptance for a purely hedonistic lifestyle. YET… isn’t our ability to think and especially to plan ahead the very quality that sets us apart from other animals? Other primates can use tools, but humans are the only creatures to foresee the future consequences of their actions.
Are we then supposed to give up on our own individual pursuit of happiness and momentary well-being for the benefit of some ‘higher thing’? Does that mean that we should act responsibly towards those who will come after us? To choose the Greater Good even if we are not going to see the pay-off?
In the year 1000 there were 270 million people on Earth and they lived on average till the age of 24. Today there are 6 billion of us and the median age is now 67 years. In the UN projection to the year 2050, the Earth’s population is to climb to 9 billion people. That number is also generally considered to be the peak for the sustainable existence of humankind.