Scorcese's film continues to trigger questions.
What motivates a Jordan Belfort -- or a Bernie Madoff?
Both were obviously smart, talented and charismatic.
If they'd played by the rules, they'd be rich today -- and respected.
So why did they cheat?
Are they sociopaths, pathologically addicted to deceit and destruction? "I'm smarter than everybody else!"
(With Madoff, there's some evidence to this effect.)
Did they misread the 'chess position' because of some paranoia or blind spot? "I can only win if I cheat."
(I'm aware of no evidence that either had a dreadful childhood or other factors that might trigger neuroses.)
Were they thrill-seekers, addicted to the rush of breaking the law and basic standards of decency? "What a rush!"
(Belfort appears to be prone to addiction.)
We mere mortals are tricky, lazy and deceitful - but most of us try to adhere to basic ethical standards.
Why didn't Belfort, Madoff and all the other touts?
I'd be obliged for your thoughts.