The Human Value Index of Bruce Lee
"All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns." - Bruce Lee. The quote above is among my favourites from Bruce Lee. This is not only because it highlights an important truth but also because it reflects, to a reasonable extent, the framework made of thoughts, principles and beliefs that drove this man to become the legendary martial artist that we know. I used the word "reasonable" to stress my own limited understanding of this exceptional human being. I read books about him, watched his movies, practised his martial art (Jeet Kune Do) and tried to understand his very unique philosophy but these efforts do not put me in a position where I can confidently say that I know Bruce Lee. However, I can assess how influential he has been, and still is, on me and on many people that I know. This influence usually starts by watching a Bruce Lee movie (Enter the Dragon was the first one that I saw), it grows after reading one of the books written by him (Tao of Jeet Kune Do and Striking Thoughts are my favourites) and it becomes permanent when you discover that Jeet Kune Do is the martial art that suits you best.
Since his death in 1973, Bruce Lee's admirers have portrayed him through several forms of media and artistic templates. As far as I can remember, I have seen him in movies (where actors that vaguely resembled him tried to imitate him), in cartoons, in video games, on posters, in street art, in digital art, and as a statue. I will attempt a different experiment in this blog post. This experiment is about imagining Bruce Lee as a character in my novel called Market Dystopia and I will, consequently, determine his Human Value Index. If you are a first-time visitor to my blog and have not read the previous posts, this is the concise definition of the Human Value Index in Market Dystopia: it is the application which in the year 2053 replaces all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn...) created in the first quarter of the twenty-first century and which defines the value of every citizen living in global cities through a points-based system defined by the elites. Where would Bruce Lee fit in the London of Market Dystopia? Let us first assume that the martial artist that we are referring to would be at the peak of his powers: a 32-year-old athlete in absolutely perfect physical condition who possesses an otherwordly mental strength that is complemented by a rare intelligence which thirsts for knowledge and wisdom. Next, we will assume that the Bruce Lee of Market Dystopia is not a movie star. Why? Because I believe that his role in the completely insane world of the novel would be much more important than the one played by a celebrity of the twenty-first century.
I am fairly certain that Bruce would act as a lone wolf in the London of 2053. The city has become an absolute nightmare but Bruce would make the best out of it through his amazing ability to understand contexts and consequences. He would exploit situations that contain hidden opportunities and would create dominant positions that are beyond the grasp of the controlling elites. An obvious example to me would be the creation of a martial arts school that trains citizens to defend themselves against the terrifying Sai Force. The latter is the group of Urban Mercenaries that kill anyone whose HVI value drops below 50 points.
This martial arts school would operate in the shadows and give low HVI citizens a chance to escape from the Sai before eventually managing to make their way out of London. We are not only talking about physical ability here. It is also about developing the right mindset to confront killers who do not care about a target's life. When bargaining is not an option, other solutions must be found and Bruce Lee would find them for such circumstances. I am here stressing one of the most important roles that Bruce had during his lifetime: that of a teacher. In Market Dystopia, he would teach survival in a brutal environment where constant psychological violence renders citizens powerless against the possibility of physical violence.
It must be noted that the Sai Force is made of martial artists that have betrayed the codes of honour of their fighting styles to become mercenaries. In many ways, Fred Hurst, the leader of the Sai Force is an anti-Bruce Lee. Hurst does things that Lee would never do such as purposefully killing someone out of ego. Bruce Lee would know this about Hurst and I hope that he would act to neutralise him or, at the very least, make his life really hard. But Hurst has a considerable advantage over Lee: he has a massive organisation behind him while Lee is assumed to be operating as an elusive renegade.
This hypothetical role that would be played by Bruce Lee in Market Dystopia leads me to establish his Human Value Index at 930 points. At this level, Bruce Lee poses a serious challenge to the elites whose values are beyond 1000 points but he cannot overthrow them. This must be highlighted over and over again. The most powerful martial artist of Market Dystopia cannot change a system created by elitist circles that have more resources and mainstream influence than him. Lee would only be able to slow these circles down by identifying the right set of circumstances that allow him to do so.
930 points for Bruce Lee. Let me know what you think.
Market Dystopia is available in the Amazon Bookstore on the following links:
Intro video here