The societal quest for value is continuous, repetitive, similar, connected with cooperation and patterned.

I don’t know who is better, Clint Eastwood or Rajkumar Hirani. I saw two films back to back — 3 Idiots on Thursday and J Edgar on Friday. Though this non-confirms my (self-proclaimed) film buff status, I took a while to catch up on these top-grossing cinema creations.

Blockbuster or award-winning films force you to think, relate and see patterns irrespective of the settings, regional or global. The search or quest for value has started to emerge out of the societal expression, be it films, books or protests. Whether it was a Bollywood adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s famed work or Eastwood and DiCaprio’s attempt to educate Americans and the world about the workings of FBI and science of investigative innovations, there is a visible creative attempt to cherish the value of history and acknowledge purposeful life over corporate rat race.

The continuity of value… Value expressions have continuity because revolutions happen, creative expressions are awarded and history prospers, as we keep revisiting it. A failed present and murky future outlook keep sending the society back to the past, to seek lessons from the valuable old.

This ‘value revisiting’ also creates science as we keep refining our value measuring systems. Edgar insisted on a centralized fingerprints depository to enhance investigation. What seemed ridiculous then turned out to be a necessary innovation.

The continuity of value can also be witnessed in the similarity of times. Be it rioting by troubled youth in European cities, Anna’s fight against corruption or the Arab spring, the similarities are stark. Society does not work in a vacuum, it’s all connected. The youth pays for the pensioners and the current youth’s pension will come from the next generation. The society also works on a cash flow. Irrespective of how much we kill finance and economics, till the time a society thrives, economists will rule while people play catch up, with changing times.

The masses will repeatedly face extremities, fight for value, punish and blame the elected leaders, be unhappy with the present, anticipate a murky future, want to seek change and search for value.

The continuity in value, the similarity of times, and the repetitiveness of history also give human cooperation a pattern. Though understanding the mechanisms that create cooperating agents in a system is one of the most important and least understood phenomena in nature, Robert Axelrod, American political scientist explained how cooperation could spread in a society. Conversely, how a cooperative society could be undermined by defectors. Society for him was an endless competition between defectors and collaborators.

The dynamics created patterns similar to a snowflake and the evolution distribution was connected to the previous history. Value swings from growth to decay is an inexorable process, which might just appear static. We lose it, and, whenever we find it again, we celebrate it as history. Value evolves like societal cooperation, temporally. This is why understanding the time we live could be more important than just good or bad value, which is ephemeral.