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k o o B r o r r E l a I c o s







s oc I a lE r ro r B o




The starting point of this project is a question: Why can’t man create a social form in which the majority could live happily? Asking the question in itself gives a hint that the goal hasn’t been achieved. So it is a very strong statement about the world. The issue has to be examined from many aspects, otherwise the statement remains too general – and this is exactly what we examined during rehearsals and what we keep working on to date. Examination. Research. The show itself does not want to answer the above question (since we do not have a ready answer either), it only examines the set of issues linked to it. To call attention to

the fact that things are not going well and that we should do something about it. Both together and each on his/her own. The show bears a title with a dual theme. Social error is a bell that rings inside you when you see that something around you is grossly out of order, but still seems to work as a system. Or it is in order, but is really bad. You know it is bad and yet it seems to function. And you can’t do anything. Or are perhaps already thinking how you could.

Social erro


r is,

when hom eless peo are standin ple freeze to death on the stre g empty a when your et, while h nd food is bills are un uge real e p il ing up paid, while when child state build you are wo in the stores. ren are co ings rking your nsidered c when we fa ri a ss off in an minals or a ll prey to to re forced honest job p when indiv to commit idual busin olitical games crimes ess interest when we d s toss mass on’t defen d those in es into squ when histo need of de alor ry repeats fense itself when when mass it shouldn es have to ’t leave their in over-cro h o m es a n d w d e have nowh d c when the g a m ps ere to go, overnmen so they en t represse when you d up s peaceful have to de demonstra monstrate when even tors with th since noth that doesn e help of th ing else he ’t help when teac e police lps hers terro rize childre when child n ren beat u p teachers when the stro when we d nger takes every thin o things w g from the e don’t wa weaker when som nt to do fo eone’s une r money mployed fo when (s)he r the third ha generation when there s no chance to stud in a row y is no chan ce left when som e call othe rs kikes, d when we tu ir ty gypsie rn away an s, niggers d w h e n a ch or fags ild wants to go on pick a min when one e builds a bo fr mb to kill th om the ground and when we’d its arm is to e other rather be rn off c aptives of when we d a drug tha on’t speak n living in up when we a reality and llow thing so end up s to happe when we a criminals n to us llow thing s to happen when “war to others is peace, fr eedom is sl avery, igno rance is st rength” (O rwell: 1984 )

Conceiver and leader of this project is the Sputnik Shipping Company. The production is made in an international collaboration with five international and one Hungarian theatres participating. Social Error is a fictonal survival show, which uses elements of a reality show, a board game and an experiment in social psychology. Our players have been chosen to participate in this social survival show through a casting process of several rounds. The stake is winning the game and gaining the title of the “last

person” in Graz/Mainz/Leipzig/Parma/Cluj or Budapest and getting into the Big Game. They system is the same everywhere. Half of the show is improvisation with set rules in a given time frame, while the other half is fixed, rehearsed, ready scenes. In every partner theatre we are rehearsing threefour days and adapt certain points of the production to local conditions and the actors joining the game. Then we perform three or four nights. Every venue is a new premiere, every venue promises a production which is a little different.

This book aims to help the deeper understanding of all of the above.





49° 59’


51° 20’ N

/ 12° 22’


N / 8° 14


47° 4’ N / 4 4° 48 ’ N

/ 1 0 ° 1 9’


47° 29’ N / 1 9 ° 2’ E 15° 26’ E 46° 46’ N /

2 3° 3 5 ’ E



Schauspielhaus Graz

GR Hofgasse 11, 8010 Graz, Austria

19/01/13 30/01/13



Staff members





Longest serving member of the team: Gerti Pall, actress Size of the main stage

360 sqm /////////////// Number of visitors last year:

Number of seats:


(Main Stage);

50 (Ebene 3)

100 (Probebühne);


Number of languages spoken by team members ----------------------------------------------------------------


Best selling product of the theater’s buffet

Sausages, mustard and horseradish

Best selling product of the theater’s shop

there is no shop

Number of bottles of wine consumed by the staff at the last premier party:


(and a lot of beer)

Favourite food of the CEO: Elderblossom juice and spinach strudel The theaters most popular play recently are

Hakoah Wien; Amerika

The female star of Hakoah Wien is

Birgit Stöger

Her favourite car is


The male star of Amerika is

Claudius Körber

His favourite color is


His favourite flower is

daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Names the members of the team gave to their dogs: Emma, Pamela, Krümel, Ayleen



Staatstheater Mainz

MA Gutenbergplatz 7, 55116 Mainz, Germany;

16/05/13 17/05/13 18/05/13 19/05/13



Staff members




Longest serving member of the team: Christiane Knopf (the stage manager for opera, since 1972) Heribert Scholtes (the head of the building services, since 1978) Size of the main stage

~300 sqm Number of visitors last year:


varies slightly (musical productions have less capacity due to the Number of seats space the orchestra takes up), the probably non-realistic maximum is: 1493 adding up all three stages Number of languages spoken by team members: German, Swiss-German, Spanish (South-America and Spain), English (American, Canadian and British, no Irish!), French (Swiss, African and French), Italian, Russian (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan), Arabic, Polish, Romanian, Farsi, Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Hebrew, Japanese, Finnish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Serbian, Turkish, Bulgarian, Afrikaans


Best selling product of the theater’s buffet: at the buffet during intervals it’s apparently champagne and pretzels (the soft southern-German version is rather common here, too), at the canteen it’s coffee. Best selling product of the theater’s shop: we don’t have one, but the soundtrack-CDs of the children’s play at Christmas time sell extremely well at the box-office. Number of bottles of wine consumed by the staff at the last premier party: We’ve been told it’s around 30, but one will have to take into account that we are rather a beer-consuming nation. Favourite food of artistic director Matthias Fontheim: he couldn’t really decide: either anything Italian (Spaghetti bolognese, probably) or his childhood favourite Rouladen with Spätzle The theaters most popular play recently is... We find it rather hard to answer. The play with the longest (almost sold-out) run is surely “Andorra” by Max Frisch, visitorwise it will always be the Christmas-time fairy-tale which usually plays up to 40 shows in the big house and is inevitably always sold out.

Names the members of the team gave to their dogs: Sémoule, Prinz, Anton, Comet, Nica




National Theater Budapest

BU Bajor Gizi park 1, 1095 Budapest, Hungary

25/05/13 26/05/13 15/06/13 16/06/13



Staff members





Longest serving member of the team: Bálint Kovács, technical director since 2000 Size of the main stage

475 sqm ////////////////

Number of visitors last year:




Number of seats: (Main Stage); (Gobbi Hilda Stage); (Kaszás Attila Room); 90 (Painting Studio); 130 (Stage Below the Main Stage)


Number of languages spoken by team members (Hungarian, English, Russian, Italian, Spanish, German, French) -------------------------------------------------------Best selling product of the theater’s buffet

still water

Best selling product of the theater’s shop

there is no shop


Number of bottles of wine consumed by the staff at the last premier party:


(1,5 liter bottles)

The favourite food and drink of CEO Róbert Alföldi: Parma ham with melon and mineral water The theaters most popular play recently is

Angels in America

The female star of the play is

Dorottya Udvaros

Her favourite car is


Her favourite drink is

white beer

The male star of the play is

Róbert Alföldi

His favourite color is


His favourite flowers are


Names the members of the team gave to their dogs: Panka, Öcsi, Lotti, Béla, Morzsa, Safranek



Schauspiel Leipzig

LE BosestraĂ&#x;e 1, 04109 Leipzig, Germany

31/05/13 01/06/13 02/06/13



Staff members



many many guest permanent artists/stage designers employees /assistants/technicians…

Longest serving member of the team: Ute Markow (51 years as make-up artist)

112 sqm

Size of the main stage Number of seats


Arena stage during our festival

Number of visitors last year:

~53 sqm


during our festival in the Arena stage


Number of languages spoken by team members

Best selling product of the theater’s buffet

Watzdorfer Beer

Best selling product of the theater’s shop



Number of bottles of wine consumed by the staff at the last premier party:


The theaters most popular play recently is: We don’t play “normal” repertoire at the minute. During our 4-month festival we have premieres for a different show each week.


Names the members of the team gave to their dogs: Charly, Fienchen, Dicky, Seppel, Donna





Hungarian Theatre of Cluj Cluj-Napoca

CL Str. E. Isac nr. 26-28, 400023 Cluj-Napoca, Romania



Staff members

42 91 actors


Longest serving member of the team: Endre Senkálszky, actor since 1939

270 sqm

Size of the main stage Number of seats

Together with the proscenium

Number of visitors last year:


306 sqm


+ flexible number of seats in the studio

Number of languages spoken by team members: Everyone speaks Hungarian and Romanian (except for the resident costume- and set designer and the chief accountant, who are Romanians); many know English, German, Italian and French. Best selling product of the theater’s buffet

small bottled still water

Best selling product of the theater’s shop

there is no shop

Number of bottles of wine consumed by the staff at the last premier party:


The theaters most popular play recently is

Uncle Vanya

(most popular show since its opening in 2007)

The female stars of the play are

Imola Kézdi and Enikő Györgyjakab

(they play the role of Jelena in double distribution) Their favourite cars are

Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper

Names the members of the team gave to their dogs: Hamlet, Pipette, Prézli, Luca, Geppetto -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Teatro Due Parma

PA Viale Basetti 21/a, 43121 Parma, Italy

02/12/13 03/12/13 04/12/13




Staff members

Longest serving member of the team: Roberto Abbati, Paolo Bocelli, Gigi Dall’Aglio, Walter Le Moli, Tania Rocchetta, all of them are actors. Size of the main stage

152,4 sqm Number of visitors last year:





Number of seats: (Spazio Grande); (Spazio Bignardi); (Piccola sala); 50 (Spazio Minimo); 35 (Ridotto)


Number of languages spoken by team members (Italian, English, French, German) --------------------------------------------------------------Best selling product of the theater’s buffet


Best selling product of the theater’s shop

there is no shop


880 seats


Number of bottles of wine consumed by the staff at the last premier party:


The favourite food and drink of CEO: Pumpkin gnocchi and red wine The theaters most popular play recently is

Aristophanes: The Frogs

The female stars of the play are

Cristina Cattellani and Laura Cleri

Their favourite cars are

Volvo sports, Volvo estate

Their favourite beers are

Weiss, Panil

Roberto Abbati, Paolo Bocelli, Gigi Dall’Aglio, Luca Nucera The male stars of the play are and Marcello Vazzoleri Their favourite colors are red Their favourite flowers are

navy blue







Names the members of the team gave to their dogs: Ettore, Maya, Bofur, Nadir, Milo

blue bougainvillea






Gábor Fábián





Name: 001 Height: 187 cm Weight: 91 kg Hair: blond Eyes: blue Skin colour: light Similarity to anyone: Boris Becker, Attila Petneházi, Bruce Willis, my dad Education: University of Theatre and Film Arts Status within community:

allowed as a child? What were you allowed/not calling nd, arou g lyin cts Leaving obje es. nam s her teac my What was the greatest temptat Alcohol.

ion in your life?

What did you decide to do with child? That I won’t follow my dad.

your life as a

want to be alone? Where do you go when you tly. Into nature. Mountains, mos Are you a winner or a loser? n. It depends when do you mea

dislike the most? What sort of people do you Authoritative people. like the most? What sort of people do you receptive. Smart, self-ironic, intimate, n things took a How did your mother react whe bad turn? h. She was worried. Way too muc How did your father react whe bad turn? Handed money over. Does the fact that you were mean anything to you? No, it doesn’t.

n things took a

born a white man

of the next century What do you think the human ? you with mon will have in com same, with different He would be essentially the gadgets.

Photos: Gergő Nagy

I’m no leader but people trust me y Attitude to politics: antipath type d erre pref , bies Hob entertainment: sports, bath-houses, wine e too Personal relations: I don’t hav nds many people, but they’re frie e clos e we’r from ages ago and one got I’ve Sex life:


Niké Kurta Name: 002 Height: 170 cm Weight: 58 kg Hair: blond Eyes: blue Skin colour: white Religion: calvinis t Race: human be ing Education: seco ndary school Attitude to politi cs: I attend demo nstrations Hobbies, prefer red type of ente rtainment: films, playing th e piano, going fo r walks Reading habits: one book every two months; I like to be read to Sex life: erratic Morals: never lie to yourself Language skills, talents: I have an advanced-level English certificat e; I can swim fast even in cold water; I can play OK table soccer fo r a girl; I can play water polo well; Piano, clarin et. What do you co nsider to be serio us provocation? Humiliation. What moral oblig ation or principle do you abide by? Attention. What parental mo del are you trying to follow? Cooking, nature , spor ts from Da d, taste and tolerance from Mum . What parental mo del are you trying to avoid? Dad’s aggressio n, Mum’s fears. Have you ever th ought that you we re cursed? When I was little , because of my name.




Do you rememb er deciding as a child that you wouldn’t do some thing ever again or that you wouldn’t expres s a certain emot ion ever again? I decided I would n’t laugh so hard that I would pee myself, and that I wouldn’t te ll lies. Are you a winner or a loser? I’m a winner. What do you ho pe for in life? A home. What would you sacrifice your ho nour for if you had the opportu nity? My friend and my love. Does the fact th at you were born a white woman mean anything to you? I can get sunbur n. Would you chan ge your sex? Sometimes I wo uld. Do you often ide ntify with public opinion? Sometimes. Do you like talki ng about your ba d habits and mistakes, or do pr efer to keep them to yourself? There are peop le I can share th em with. It’s about cigarette s and alcohol.






Name: 003 Height: 183 cm in winter, 185 cm in summ er Weight: 90 kg Hair: brown Eyes: brown Skin colour: entic ing cardboard Education: unive rsity Attitude to office hierarchy: I’m not a leader; I contribute enth usiastically to shared objec tives; the only tim e I’m in a quandary is when someone else’s interests harm my own. Hobbies, favoure d entertainmen t: Circus, Stand-up comedy — I love good humour Sex life: OK, co uld be more fre quent (twice a week wo uld be ideal) What moral oblig ation or principle do you abide by? Don’t cheat your partner. What was the gr eatest temptatio n in your life? Sexual desire. Have you ever th ought that you we re cursed? In my long life as a virgin. What did you de cide to do with yo ur life as a child? To live it honestl y. What sort of pe ople did your pa rents look down upon? The manageme nt of the co-ope rative. What do you ho pe in life? To have no mortg age and enough money to travel.

András Lajos What embarrassi ng incident are yo u most proud of? When I crossed the Komárom br idge and was nearly expelled from Hungary. What do you think the human of th e next century will have in comm on with you? Optimism, if an ything. What could you (have) done to ex cess that you haven’t? Do you regret it? Having sex with many different people; no, I don‘t. Do you often ide ntify with public opinion? Sadly yes. Which do you lik e better: rememb ering, or daydreaming? Whic h one is more ad vantageous to you? I like doing both , but day-dream ing is better value. Do you like talki ng about your ba d habits and mistakes, or do prefer to keep th em to yourself? I don’t keep my occasional smok ing a secret. What did you wa nt to become as a child? A well-adjusted, well-off Swiss fa mily man. What would you like to become if you were a child today? A well-adjusted, well-off Swiss fa mily man.





Pál ti Kárpá Name: 004 Height: 182 cm Weight: 70 kg e most? annoy you th Hair: brown lem. hat feelings W tion to a prob lu so a d fin t n’ ng. ca I Eyes: green r Wheneve really annoyi dark pink love becomes I ne eo Skin colour: m so ol When condary scho Education: se ersity yet.) iv un st? d he is do you like be putnyik): (I haven’ t fin ay. What feelings (apart from Sz a dynamic w k in or g w in of nn e ru e ar gs Job, plac in well, er g th mm When and it ’s goin sboy in the su aking music m cook and bu re like the e’ I w it. n to Whe t bistro) are dancing ar le ni op lli pe Fe y t an (a the end. or when m ce hierarchy: g better than Attitude to offi ople in every part of fuckin e pe dl ng id ro m st d eak an ones. There are w of the strong x? like to be one I’d . ity un m ange your se m co Would you ch . ys t. da en e re perim Sex life: average, in th Sure. As an ex in a month on Three fucks xt century man of the ne u think the hu nd, I loathe Morals: yo ou gr do t gh ha hi W u? the moral s. mmon with yo When I have ve no qualm will have in co fashioned. metimes I ha dso t ol bu , I’m e. ity . al m ce immor won’t be like the street on e in H d ke na ed I have stripp u see the st a life? Do yo ation? ve a fate or ju rious provoc ha ents, or is u se ev yo be o om D to nd er ra consid en to you as pp ha What do you at th things n? Racism. ing there a patter d a fate, noth ? by e id ab u d luck. If I ha yo an e do e lif pl is ci e in er pr Th or ligation e me. What moral ob y parents. could motivat to respect m d an ll ki to Not y others. ing excited? Not too man Do you like be ? feel as a child How did you Just fine! peop What sort of . ts io Id


e the most? do you dislik

No. Do you like be No.

ing scared?






Zoltán Szabó Name: 005 Height: 169 cm Weight: 72 kg Hair: brown Eyes: brown Skin colour: white Evangelical. Religion: non-practising shna movement. Kri re Ha the I tend to like Education: college hy: I don’t endorse it. Attitude to office hierarc e. Fuming in my safe flat. rag Ave : Attitude to politics be serious provocation? What do you consider to stop doing something t sn’ When someone doe m to several times. even after I’ve asked the principle do you abide by? What moral obligation or d in their personality. No-one should be offende with your life as a child? What did you decide to do in the flat for a tatami To have a separate room on the walls. mat and Samurai swords Where do you go when I stay at home.

you want to be alone?

What sort of people did upon? Liars. What sort of people do Liars.

your parents look down

you dislike the most?

your parents look up to? What sort of people did Honest people.

What sort of people do Honest people.

you like the most?

best? What feelings do you like e. I really like being in lov a? Do you ever dream of Asi dreamed of potatoes, er nev e hav I . ely rar y Ver for example. sex? Would you change your ely become a whore. sur No, because I would life, and wh Do you have a mission in come from? I am not allowed to say.

ere does it

e to excess that you What could you (have) don it? ret reg haven’t? Do you I n a fine sportsman, but I think I could have bee nt ere diff a n bee e hav don’t regret it. That would life altogether.

remembering, or dayWhich do you like better: dreaming? mories. I day-dream about my me What would you like to child today? A ninja.

become if you were a



Kata Pető


Name: 006 Height: 162 cm Weight: 51 kg Hair: brown Eyes: blue Skin colour: lig ht Posture: noncha lant ballerina Religion: Budd hist Race: human be ing, woman Education: unive rsity Attitude to polit ics: I try to stay non-committed Hobbies, prefer red type of ente rtainment: films, dancing, reading, tendin g to my garden Sex life: hetero sexual, as much as possible Morals: I’ve got principles, but I like experienc things and learn ing ing about myse lf Temperament: unpredictable Conception: M y parents expe cted a boy. What was the gr eatest temptatio n in your life? To seduce mys elf from my man . What did you de cide to do with yo ur life as a child? That if I had a ch ild, I would teac h her how to lau gh. Where do you go when you wa nt to be alone? It doesn’ t reall y matter. How did you fe el as a child? I was just fine un til I hit 12 . Are you a winn er or a loser? I’m a player.

What sort of pe ople do you disli ke the most? Aggressive on es. What sort of pe ople do you like the most? Honest people . What do you ho pe in life? To meet mysel f. What would yo u sacrifice your honour for if yo had the opportu u nity? For my child. Does the fact th at you were bo rn a white wom mean anything an to you? I would probab ly be a better m usician if I weren’ t; I get su nburn easily. Do you have a m ission in life, an d where does it come from? I think I do. It co mes from my fo rmer lives. Would you beco me a different pe rson if you didn’t have to wo rk? I would be forc ed to find mysel f.







Péter Jankovics

Name: 007 Height: 180 cm Weight: 63 kg Hair: light brown Eyes: blue Skin colour: white hy: What on earth is Attitude to office hierarc office hierarchy? s on it Attitude to politics: I pis of entertainment: e typ red fer pre Hobbies, music Sex life: fine, thank you Morals: come on... r Attitude to life: survivo

you want to be alone? Where do you go when Behind my earphones. What sort of people do Arrogant people.

you dislike the most?

you like the most? What sort of people do our. hum of se People with a sen What feelings annoy you Love and a lack of it.

the most?

be serious provocation? What do you consider to dicts me when I’m right. When someone contra

a? Do you ever dream of Asi dinner. When I have had rice for

principle do you abide by? What moral obligation or Being human.

? things attract or repel you Do strange, peculiar, odd They attract me.

What parental model are Respect.

you trying to follow?

that Have you ever thought Yes. If you had the power to you use it for? World peace.

you were cursed?

lift a curse, what would

do with your life as a What did you decide to child? bike. Wife, three kids, motor

ome as a child? What What did you want to bec e if you were a child today? would you like to becom Now I want to be a child. lt. adu I wanted to be an the most? What do you hate doing lic transport. pub st Riding the Budape t if the people you respec Which do you like better: ? you from er diff y the are similar to you or if ing we share if we There’s got to be someth least our taste has to respect one another. At be the same.

Lőte Koblicska Name: 008 Height: 154cm Weight: 50 kg Hair: brown Eyes: green Skin colour: white Religion: I was baptised a Catholic but I’d rather be Eastern Orthodox. It doesn’t really matter though, the point is that there’s a God. Job, place of work (apart from Szputnyik): nursery teacher Attitude to office hierarch y: I like my boss Sex life: I’ve got one Morals: I don’t kill. That’s the only one I’ve got. Frustrations, disappointm ents: That there’s no Santa. What were you allowed/no t allowed as a child? I was allowed to do nearly everything; we just had to talk it over first. As a chil d. When I hit puberty, I thought I had been put into a monastery. Dad wanted to ban love and partying. What was the greatest tem ptation in your life? A Mexican boy. What did you decide to do with your life as a child? That I would be happy (and become a customs offi cer). Where do you go when you want to be alone? In the shower. How did you feel as a chil d? I was very happy. Are you a winner or a lose r? I’m a winner.




When did you decide whi ch one? My parents decided it for me when they didn’t let me cry alone, ever. What feelings annoy you the most? Fear. What feelings do you like best? Love and devotion. What embarrassing inciden t are you most proud of? That I did Magic Mushroom s. What do you think the hum an of the next century will have in common with you ? I hope many of my childre n and grandchildren will make up the future hum an, so there’s a chance that they can be as wonderful, friendly, open-minded, and happy people as I am. Do you have a mission in life, and where does it come from? To be happy. I got it from God.




Károly Hajduk Name: 009 Height: 185cm Weight: 68 kg Hair: brown Eyes: brown Skin colour: pallid Education: university hy: Attitude to office hierarc it. ut abo ch mu e car I don’t original sense of the Attitude to politics: In the tters, I’m engaged ma nal mu word to mean com used in contemporary in it. In the sense as it is stomach contents of Hungary, it reminds me more than anything uth mo exiting through the else. women and everything Sex life: I’m attracted to nkfully. tha , is working as it should that harms others. g thin any do Morals: Don’t principle do you abide by? What moral obligation or Not harming others. you trying to follow? What parental model are . any ow I don’t want to foll you trying to avoid? What parental model are s. ces suc t All of them, withou temptation in your life? What was the greatest offered a commercial was We were broke and I for six hundred thousand. Where do you go when Inside myself.

you want to be alone?

r? Are you a winner or a lose . ner win a I think I’m more of




you like the most? What sort of people do ing as much as I do. talk not People who like e your honour for if you What would you sacrific ty? had the opportuni anding, because that To stop the Sun ever exp the Earth. would mean the end of a? Do you ever dream of Asi . and Irel of am dre No. I an of the next cenWhat do you think the hum n with you? tury will have in commo ious things in common. He will have a lot of var erent person if you Would you become a diff uld you be a better or a didn’t have to work? Wo worse person? erent person, but I’d I might not become a diff do. I like to work. find myself something to your bad habits and Do you like talking about keep them to yourself? mistakes, or do prefer to d but there are some loa It’s easier if I share the things you can’t share What do you hate doing Being bored.

the most?

t if the people you respec Which do you like better: ? you from er diff y the if are similar to you or I like it both ways.



Gabriella Hámori



Name: 010 Height: 166 cm Weight: 54 kg Hair: brown Eyes: blue Skin colour: light Religion: I was christen ed in the ev angelical fa I cannot tole ith. rate a cynica l atmospher long; I cann e for too ot operate in such a med offends my iu m. Egoism faith. Theatr Reading ha bits: severa es have lots which is why l books all at of egoists, in cafes duri I don’t like th once; ng the day eatres even sacred plac and in bed if they are es. Where is Sex life: Love at nights G od ? I can find pe I believe in beauty. rfection in na Morals: Just ice ture; I love w people, wom atching en and men alike. (I wan a painter, an ted to be d recently to What moral obligation or ok up photog Whatever I principle do raphy.) do with com B eing who I am you abide by plete focus, . Respect. or making lo ? be it cookin ve, is a relig g ious experi me. Industri ence for al environm What was th ents also fa e greatest te I like constr scinate me. mptation in uction sites I have been ve your life? such as harb ry happy in ports. I am dr ou rs California an an I d awn to railroa want to get d Rio. back. Natur d networks airports, mac e is at its be , bridges, places. The hines, in an st in these so ae un st hetical way. d of the sea. the idea that I like reason is tr ying to simpl the triumph ify life. It ’s of civilizatio Have you ev n. I will have er thought this enthusia that you wer to balance Yes. A long sm. If I knew e cursed? time ago. no thing about about world history, hunger, abou t violence, in suffering, I justice, would live a What did yo comfortable u decide to beautiful lif do with your and wholly e. “I feel wre That I would life as a child tc have a long he d in the face suffering,” sa ? and advent of such id Berta Bon urous life. cz a, our greatest the lover of one of writer. Whe How did yo n I think of al ur mother re in this world l the sufferin act when th , it is not fait bad turn? g ings took a h but wretche that I’m rem dness inded of. Fa She talked. it h is a gift that he me survive, but the wor lps ld is a viciou purpose of s place. The life is in the How did yo ge ur father re nuinely lived and I hope th act when th moments, bad turn? at everyone ings took a sh ou moments ap ld have man y such art from be He did not ing born an talk. d dying. Hobbies, pr eferred type What would of entertainm you sacrifice Travelling (N your honour ent: YC and Rio ar had the oppo for if you e my favourite rtunity? recipe-huntin s) , co I ok g around th would save ing, e world, read lives. language bo ing foreignoks, learning languages, sk gardening, etching, movies What embarr assing incide nt are you m Myself. ost proud of ?





Author: Péter Szigeti Photo: Péter Egyed


“We do not operate as a bank. We created an organization that operates a mentoring network and signed a contract with a bank which offers bank loans to customers with conditions defined by us.” “If you have money it is your obligation to help those who do not, preferably in a well thought-out way, so you do not just give money but provide a long term opportunity for those who have no other opportunities available to them”– roughly summarizes András Polgár’s life philosophy . The wealthy businessman created the Polgár Foundation five years ago. This charity organization has a talent program for Romany youth living below the poverty-line, a sort of ‘bank for the poor’, a regional business support program also aimed at Romany people as well as alternative theatres, f.e. Szputnyik Shipping Company. What is wrong with the world? Why do you think it needs help? The problem is people feel bad in this world. This is true on every level, irrespective of whether they have money or not. Naturally, poor and wealthy people have different kinds of problems. What can be done? I try to get personally involved in causes that I think will alleviate the grim mood or build the basis for recovery. This is primarily about looking in the mirror in the morning and thinking ‘at least I tried’. Of course, I do not truly believe that there is a solution for the problems of the world.

the most difficult task is finding causes and places where the amount of money I have available for charity has significance, can actually help, if for no other reason than the power of example. Because pouring water into the ocean makes no sense. Sometimes I ask myself whether it would be better to give to random beggars on the street, wouldn’t that be more helpful? It’s a difficult question. First, I looked for organizations that I thought would use the money wisely and shared my values, but over the years I realized it would be more effective to set up my own foundation. However, I do not want to define the issues, just wish to determine the direction taken.

If I had a lot of money, I think the most difficult task would be choosing which cause I should support. That is true, but what one considers ‘a lot of money’ is completely subjective. I have sat at this table with George Soros’ representative and we talked about such issues. His circumstances allow for very different courses of action. But in reality

How did Roma football and the bank for the poor come about? After much thinking, I decided on two areas for action: equal opportunity and creating opportunities through art, specifically more disadvantaged underground and independent art modes. By equal opportunities, I mean how one can disassociate oneself from what one was born into, that it should not solely define



one’s life. I was born into good circumstances and therefore I feel I need repay society by providing opportunities and support for those less fortunate than myself. My belief is, everyone should give back as much to society as they received due to society’s inequality, in many cases, at the expense of others. I think that NGOs are effective in helping layers of societywhere there is great poverty but still a chance that at least the children can break out of it. Unfortunately, there is a layer which do not have the strength to rise from poverty even with the help of NGOs. This is where the whole of society has to step up through the Welfare State. Why football? Because my colleagues, who work on-field, saw a break-out point in it. Dictating from our Budapest offices how Romany children in a village in North East Hungary should spend their time is not a good idea. However, it is not football that’s important, we do not see business in football but rather a tool by which children who are gifted in football have an opportunity to graduate from high school, and a chance to live a dignified life regardless of whether or not they become star footballers. To what degree was the Nobel Peace Prize winning Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Bank (“Bank for the Poor”) a model for the microcredit program? In the Bangladesh example, credit allocation is the main goal. In our model it is merely a tool. There are similarities, but ours is a much more complex approach. The Kiút (“Way Out”) Program is not a bank. We created an organization that operates a mentoring network and signed a contract with a bank who offers loans to customers with conditions defined by us. Market-based loans are usually about giving money to those who have money and not giving any

to those who don’t, which is a strange paradox. By contrast, our system is not primarily about providing money, but also helping through assessing loan applicants’ skills and options and trying to launch an enterprise together. Local support is vital, as the enterprises that are set up are all local initiatives and the goal is to create workplaces where the target population lives. So the commercial banks deal with the client? Formally yes. This is an important element in the system as it leads participants towards the legal economy and will teach them about the basic rules of dealing with money. The difference is that this bank does not ask for collateral and will not attempt to exact the money. We pay for part of the losses and the other part is paid for by the bank through its corporate social responsibility program. What motivates people to repay their loans? That they will be able to take up another loan to run their businesses, and also all bona fide clients are driven by the desire to prove that that as tax-paying citizens they are able to stand on their own if their environment and society give them a vote of confidence. Do all applicants receive loans? No. Applicants who really believe they are able to operate the, mostly, local agricultural microenterprises, and the rest of the group, including our colleagues believe in them too. I think the positive impact begins by people getting to the point of starting to think about these possibilities. It is already a significant thing that the program’s participants are able to see opportunities to break out around them. Those who are granted loans are treated like normal clients, taxpayers, full citizens, which is incredibly good for people.


As a man who spends a great deal of his time helping, what is your strategy dealing with occurrences of everyday poverty? What do you do when you walk by the fourth beggar in one day? Unfortunately, I am very difficult in this respect, I cannot walk by things. It is difficult to differentiate between one beggar and the next. Although, I am aware which one is a ‘professional’ beggar and which is truly destitute, I still cannot select. I probably soothe my guilty conscience by this as the liberating power of confession is not available to me. Have you always been able to handle money well? No, and I am still not. I do not know how to fill out a check. To be honest, I live in a bubble. I like economics and am interested in particular kinds of issues. I became an entrepreneur because I like to solve certain kinds of financial problems, but that does not mean I am knowledgeable about money. Do you enjoy team building? There was a time when I did. Unfortunately, I am a terribly impatient person and a perfectionist when it comes to work. Instead of firing people, which I am almost incapable of, I start doing their work for them, which is a huge mistake. One of the

“It is not about me being a really good man.” few good decisions I made was passing up an opportunity to become CEO of a large insurance company and choosing to work in the private sector. Nowadays, I am primarily interested in the fate of humans, but I am not Mother Teresa.

How do equal opportunity and supporting the arts fit together? Well-being is not only about what you eat and drink, but also about spiritual nourishment. I believe in the power of theatre, that it can make an influence in places where they have seen nothing like it before. Besides, Hungarian alternative theatres have been in a difficult position for a couple of years due to cuts in state financial support, I saw that they needed help, and I turned toward theatrical innovation. This is how the Classroom Theatre program came about, where we bring theatre productions to classrooms and literature lessons. This is also about equal opportunity. Should art reflect the reality around us? I think it should provide an experience, hold a mirror, and open the eyes of the audience. To me, Romany football and this are alike: offering possibilities to children who can still become anything.



her Lausek Author: Est y Gergő Nag Illustration:

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Whether we like it or not, we have to accept that we are also biological creatures: the genes we inherit from our parents influence our health as well as our ability to experience positive and negative feelings.


How can we be happy? Author: Máté Szondy, psychologist Illustration: Gergő Nagy

What is the secret of happiness and to what extent is happiness up to us? The opinion of a practicing psychologist. Honestly, it is a bit bizarre to write (and also to read) about how one can feel happy. Would you read a book about how to feel sad? Or about how to feel angry? Would you try to learn how to feel jealous from a book? Probably not. Still it is worth writing about happiness, to dissolve the myths connected to the topic. There are plenty of myths: our genes do not influence or happiness (but they do), if we are stressed, the expression of our aggression reduces our aggression (it does not), the well-to-do are considerably happier than the average person (they are not). Since we live in a consumer society, a great number of these myths are connected to the effects of consumption on our happiness such as if you have enough money, you can consume and be happy. However, this is not true (definitely not in the long run). Despite it being an untrue statement, this statement keeps consumer society in motion. A world where people do not get used to any new product in a matter of months is a nightmarish world for advertisement agencies. Or a worlds in which people do not believe that they will need a new product to gain lasting happiness.

But let us get back to the issue of writing about happiness. A great number of people write (and have written) about happiness. We need to read them with reservation as some of these texts can affect our feeling of contentment in a particularly negative way.

How can self-help books about happiness increase our unhappiness? “All you need to do is really want something”, “it is all up to you” and “if you really want it you will attract it” and numerous similar assertions can be found in self-help books such as Rhonda Byrne’s multi-million selling book The Secret. These statements are not only untrue but may also be dangerous and harmful. When reading such books, it is easy to become enthusiastic at first: so our happiness only depends on how we view events happening around us. So it is enough to make sure we are „positive” and not forget that “The sun is always shining behind the clouds”. This energy tends to persist for a couple of days,




during which we are likely to post Osho’s quotes on happiness all over Facebook. But then reality steps in and our mood naturally fluctuates. The difficulties we run into at work or at home will inevitably rile us, and then with some disappointment we find that we have not become happier. In fact, we not only did not become happier but we feel more miserable. (“Maybe I do not want it strongly enough” or “nothing can help me now”. The authors who state that all physical illnesses are caused by psychological problems and sometimes support their claims with pseudoscientific arguments (sometimes do not even make the effort to do so) are even more dangerous and harmful. Thus, patients suffering from diseases that are influenced by biological factors such as sclerosis, meningitis are blamed for their inflictions (they do not really want to get better). Or what is even worse, the patient may start blaming him/herself. Whether we like it or not, we have to accept that we are also biological creatures: the genes we inherit from our parents influence our health as well as our ability to experience positive and negative feelings.

Happiness slipping out of our hands When we are not feeling happy we are prone to view happiness as a distant, obscure and uncertain aspect of our past or future. We can become nostalgic about the more recent past or ages we never lived in. This can be an idealized “golden age” of prehistoric or ancient times, the happy peaceful interbellum years or any other period. The other – perhaps more frequent – selfdeception is when we connect our happiness to the occurrence of some future event. This is the “it will be better when…” error. “I will be happy when I make more money” “I’ll be happy if the winter is finally over,” “I will be happy when I’m married” and the list could

be continued indefinitely. This is a mistake: research shows that “external” experiences affect our mood for a relatively short period of time – at best. We have to find happiness in the present rather than reminiscing about times past or focusing on our hopes for the future.

Paths to happiness American psychologist Martin Seligman distinguishes three ways to search for happiness: a hedonistic, active and meaningful life. The hedonistic path is paved with pleasure. It is the path of chocolate, sunshine, hot tubs and orgasms. It is the happiness of intensive pleasures, laughter and positive feelings. Hollywood movies identify this kind of happiness as HAPPINESS. The viability of this path that is most affected by parental genes: they affect the intensity with which we are able to experience our emotions. Active living means taking advantage of our abilities and diving into activities we feel were invented for us. This can be chess, rock climbing, running, sex or a conversation. Any activity that we can immerse ourselves into so much that it changes our sense of time. We call these activities flow-experiences. A meaningful life means that we feel that what we do in our everyday life (or at least part of our everyday life) is meaningful. A life that is without meaning is not only boring and empty but can make one ill in the long run. We see this with people who have jobs which pay well but do not seem meaningful. These pathways are not mutually exclusive: in fact, the most likely way to happiness is when you walk all three paths simultaneously. If we experience pleasures, positive experiences, we immerse ourselves in activities and feel that our everyday lives have sense and are meaningful. All three paths can be distorted. Excessive hedonism can lead to drug or sex addiction or becoming someone who always wants to




feel good and is afraid of any kind of negative feelings. The risk of an active life lies in the possible dependence on the activity: we can see this with workaholics or runaholics. In some cases, a person is unable to go without the activity and relax or just simply be. Finally an excessively meaningful life may be one in which meaning is attributed to everything. The dream of conspiracy theorists is a person who is always seeking (and finding) connections, who believes everything carries meaning. If there are meaningful things in our life then we feel that it is more understandable or predictable, but we need to accept that not everything carries meaning.

The risk of the Fetishization of Happiness In a well-known psychological experiment, participants were asked not to think off a white bear for a few minutes. The subjects

reported that almost all they could think about was a white bear. This is how we are with all kinds of thought and feelings: if we try to avoid them they become increasingly accute. If, following the advice of self-help books, we tell ourselves daily that we are happy, we become increasingly unhappy. We must not fetishize happiness. Unhappiness is a natural part of life just as happiness is. We shouldn’t forget the words of the Savage in Brave New World: “… that’s just like you[r society]. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether ‘tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows or outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them...But you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy.” If we are open towards our own experiences (both negative or positive), if we do not desperately strive for happiness but make do with “only” pleasures and an active and meaningful life, our life will be more authentic, complete and may even be happier.



Author: Esther Lausek Infographics: Bence Szab贸 M.











Useless men with useless bags Author: Márton Bede Illustration: Gergő Nagy

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Lucky are the few who have a meaningful existence and a job that matters. Even luckier are the few who have the money to buy themselves a comfortable, efficient life. Hardly any of these people live in the third world. Have you ever been to a supermarket in a third world country? If you haven’t, you probably think that the main difference between our fantastic shops and their sad little shacks is that we can choose between a million products while their only option is stale bread and stinking water. If you have been into one, you know that the shelves are almost as full in Lima and Panama City as in London and Paris. Big supermarkets look exactly the same everywhere, with the same bright, wide aisles, individually packed apples on small styrofoam trays and bored staff in uniform aprons. Most people in third world countries will never set foot inside these supermarkets, even the people working there

are usually lower-middle class by local standards, not poor like the millions sleeping outside on the streets, begging for whatever local coin the lucky few shoppers have inserted in their trolleys in the parking lot. There are two, on first sight small, but ultimately very important differences between supermarkets in the developed and the “developing” world, both observed at the check-out counters. No, it’s not the candy bars stacked neatly right next to them – those are the exact same brands everywhere, dripping with calories and artificial ingredients. The first difference is that behind the counter there are two people instead of the one we are used to. One of them makes a living furiously rubbing bar codes onto screens that are somehow never able to read them, and then grumpily typing in the codes manually. He – or more usually she – is familiar from home. The other person, however, is not. He – and it is a he usually – works packing the purchased products into plastic bags.



Plastic bags that are the other big difference between first and third worlds supermarkets, since here they are unable to fulfill the task of carrying products home. Their handles stretch and break, their weak bottoms are punctured by even the most innocent looking bottle of ketchup, spilling all their contents. The young men packing them know that the bags are weak, and they try to prevent the wasting of expensive, imported goods by putting every full bag into another one, but many times even this double protective layer is not enough to safeguard the day’s shopping. The useless plastic bags and the young men packing them tell us a lot about the most important difficulties any third world country has to deal with day by day. The bags, probably made in China, maybe in some small local factory, probably owned by a shrewd Chinese immigrant, are not the only objects here that can’t perform the task they were designed to. And these are the bags that the local elite uses to carry home their bottles of French wine and American cereals, and are of much better quality then the flimsy black things the poor use, that can’t even hold a bag of crisps for more than five minutes without breaking. Comfort, professionalism, value for money, efficiency are qualities that even the rich of the third world have to regularly live without. Their mansions may look opulent, but they are connected to the same weak sewage system as the rest of their city, which can’t even handle

toilet paper, forcing those millionaires in their swanky bathrooms to use wastebaskets instead of just flushing it. Their imported German cars cost more than anywhere in Europe, since their country probably has ludicrously high import taxes, but this is nothing compared to the service costs caused by their country’s roads, with potholes big enough to swallow the goats grazing on them. The poor don’t have to deal with these problems. They don’t own a car – instead they take bonejarring bus rides, packed as sardines in vehicles that take ages to travel even the shortest routes. If they are lucky enough to own a real bathroom, that might not be connected to the municipal sewage system, so they can choose between throwing used toilet paper straight out of the window, or depositing it neatly in a basket, which will be later emptied into the streets. The rich in these countries can sometimes get value for their money. The sneakers they buy their kids will last long, or at least long enough for junior to get bored with them and then demand a new one. The poor will spend a long time saving up money to buy their kid a pair of sneakers, any kind of sneakers, which will fall apart after a week’s use, or in the best of cases after the third game of enthusiastic street football. The same thing will happen if they ever earn enough money to buy those other status symbols poor people in third world countries dream about: a scooter, an mp3 or dvd player,


a woman’s handbag with some crudely faked luxury brand logo on it, or those battery-powered little toy puppies that litter every market. The young men packing useless plastic bags in the supermarkets are also dreaming of mp3 players and puppies that wag their tails and bark in a high pitched voice. They earn a wage, but rely on the tips of their costumers, whose purchased products they are sending on a dangerous journey, protected by two Chinese-made bags. The nouveau rich in poor countries do like to be pampered to sometimes absurd levels, but it is safe to say that most of them could pack their bags just as fast as any shopper in the West. It is not only the bags these young men pack into for a living that are useless but also their jobs, which are easily replaceable, too. This is something even more difficult to live with than weak sewers and sneakers that fall apart. Supermarkets, these bastions of Western consumerism are no different anywhere in the world. Street scenes, however, are. Vehicles belching fume, tangled electric cables, primitive street signs hover above the trash, mostly made up of empty plastic bottles and broken plastic bags. It is even sadder to see the young men – again, usually men – milling about with nothing to do at any time of the day.

These are the people who are completely unnecessary in this world. If a 100 million of these teenage to middle aged men would somehow die during the night, only their families and friends would notice in the morning. They don’t work and most probably don’t even possess any skills that would enable them to do anything besides primitive manual labour. They have the most basic of educations, can hardly read or write – our global economy has no need for them. Their existence is one of constant humiliation and frustration. Besides a dangerous life in crime, the best they can aspire to is a completely useless job like packing useless plastic bags. If they earn anything at all, that is not enough to support a family, therefore many of them will never have one. Existential humiliation and sexual frustration leads to uncontrollable anger in people who have literally nothing to lose. The third world is easily romanticized. Either as a place where despite all the problems the sun does indeed always shine, or where those problems are not even that bad, since the supermarket shelves are always stacked. These fantasies are true to a degree, but the worthless objects and the people who feel worthless are what really define these places.



g in r e e t n lu o v f o ld r In the wo Author: Esther Lausek

at someone ely. We collected wh ge your life complet an ch t contrary can bu lp s, he itie of bil bit y ere are several possi Th Sometimes even a tin es. elv ms the from d help the world an . For example, apart can do if they want to t so readily available no are ies nit rtu po ptions, op to popular misconce need money. o als u yo , on ati dedic l and there are severa needed in many places are g s. rin ion tee cat un ar the word vol do not have qualifi When most people he options even if you be ing situations as rm wa art the case, you need to he h ing be suc t of tha they think However, l rs of wil the rk mo wo r ng rvi tee un sta vol the r d to are of the fact that you giving water and foo aw ing al iev loc rel or hans to laugh on you and not the Africa, getting war orp mostly have an effect r ian hospitals. It Ind in at you do as a voluntee nts wh tie t pa no of is It the suffering community. d kin and e the t eas bu dis ce, ty, pla r ver tte t po t makes the world a be is a misconception tha tha ds g rin han g await the helpin in through voluntee war afflicted countries of experiences you ga y ed world with op vel de en, accepting and sta the op m re fro mo of volunteers that make you g rin d tee An . un vol life of for nt u ou yo with nt am open arms an abunda ce. as this comes with a pri do u yo . ies at nit wh rtu t po no op It is of s nd usa There are tho r that makes the ee s nt ion lu zat vo ani a org r do These communities e, but the volununtee ac pl r o wh tte rld be wo a the rld d wo aro rs not need westerne you gain provide opportunities for h kind of experiences who are unfamiliar wit to g that s westerners who want through volunteerin , the language or custom r tte be a rld wo the en ke ma ng and find the livi make you more op the n place and have conditions, sanitatio accepting and stay means to do so. These to t cul diffi and food r life. fo u yo st th wi y org an iza tio ns req ue cope with. What the cover to s ate did can m l fro cia need is the finan large sums of money allows ir grams at one of the rous countries. This aid of more prospe six month training pro ope ing al pp loc ski for try ies o nit als opportu u may them to provide work western loc ations. Yo ns of this tacting local institutio jobs. With the help e con hav and t no ies do iar o ed wh erm ple int es, ag and han ed orp par ild hospitals, need to be pre money they can bu directly, but you really y and distribute food w arrive you are alread gro you or e en tim ldr the chi educate it helps if by mean ver not we es Ho y. do , ntr rse cou cou ing of is, eiv more effectively. Th familiar with your rec to volunteer. re are a few ideas! he se, cho that no one should try you s, ally doctors and nurse Skilled people, especi



great volunteer opportunities:

Teach English in Nepal!

Teaching English is the ultimate volunteering choice. From Thailand to Sudan, from India to Argentina, volunteer English teachers are needed in almost every part of the world. In Nepal, paricularly in Patani and Kathmandu, English speakers are especially welcome because those who speak English have a much better change of finding a job due to tourism in the area. It does not matter if English is not your mother tongue or if you are not a qualified language teacher, you get free reign: you can teach with dance, song or games as long as you do it in English. You should also expect to substitute for other subject such as mathematics. Don’t panic, but teach it in English. For more information: Volunteer Society Nepal:

Work in an orphanage in Argentina!

If your Spanish is better than your English then your place is in Buenos Aires! There is an orphanage housing more than 40 children that receives no financial support from the state and is therefore in constant need of volunteers. The task is no small challenge, the children come from poverty and the world of drugs and violence is not unfamiliar to them. Many of them are HIV positive and their parents had either left them or are incarcerated. Apart from caring for the children, you should be prepared to help out with cleaning and cooking. You need to work 12 hours a week for a minimum of four weeks. For more information: Voluntario Global:

Build a home for mothers!

If you want to take volunteering seriously, not just dabble in it for good money while you backpack around the world, an Australian team welcomes you to join them. Their aim is to build children’s


villages which provide eco-friendly educational, social and healthcare services in developing countries. The first home, Kesho Leo, built for vulnerable mothers and their children in Tanzania always welcomes volunteers for specific tasks, for example finance and communications specialists. For more information: Food Water Shelter Inc.:

Help Tibetan refugees!

You can meet some of the eight thousand Tibetian refugees in Dharamsala India without having to work, as you spend a month in their home through a home stay program. While paying the price of the program provides direct support for refugees, you can do more for them if you join the six hundred volunteers who help them each year. You can find skilled or unskilled work, for example, teach English, Spanish or French, yoga or computer skills, work as a journalist or social media manager. For more information: LHA Charitable Trust:

Build the democracy in Cambodia! If you are a student or have recently graduated, and you are invested in the respect for human rights and democratic laws governing the world, Phnom Phen, Cambodia’s capital city is the place for you! STAR Kampuchea is looking for candidates with interests in law and humanitarianism, who want to contribute their knowledge and ideas to strengthen Cambodian civil society. You can provide workshops or trainings, organize conferences or get work published in the field of advocacy, gender equality, rural development and social responsibility, but if this is too challenging you can also teach or help on construction sites. Staying for at least 6 weeks is advisable. For more information: Volunteer Action for Cambodia:



Social innovation Author: László Ágoston, sociologist, Kreater Social Innovation Agency, co-funder

What is it and why does it help to make the world a better place? The answer came from a small Hungarian group of young researchers and sociologist. They call themselves Kreater Social Innovation Agency. A significant proportion of instruments aimed at helping society reacts to yesterday’s problems using the tools of the day before yesterday. The instruments aimed at helping the development of society react only with considerable delay to the current problems, and they do so in an ad hoc rather than a strategic manner. Thus their adaptation to the rapidly developing expectations that globalization and the emerging information society engender is impossible.

find volunteers with only a few minutes of time invested. The persons in need (or their relatives, neighbors) order the package of daily shopping (e.g. milk, rolls, meat, water), while the volunteer who walks by or near both the store as well as the target person’s home can add a quick stop to do the shopping and drop it off on the way home from work, school, etc. The recipient pays for the shopping but needs to make no additional payment for shipping.

“Social innovation is a process born by virtue of continuous feedback Social innovation identifies new goals, integrates new ideas and works with brand-new approaches and methods. That is the only way to effectively exploit scarce resources that can thereby maximize social effects. Let’s consider a given social problem: the elderly and physically disabled are often in a difficult position in terms of purchasing their everyday food. What is needed is a properly advertised program to help them by providing a webpage that is simply organized and easily understood. The webpage would present the daily shopping needs of the elderly, while those living in the vicinity of seniors could use the page to register for assuming shopping duties on a given day. Ideally, the page makes it possible to seek and

The system offers numerous possibilities for involvement to the business world as well: supermarkets and chains can also join the program and facilitate easier shopping with innovative services. Enterprises could offer presents for the most active volunteers. The idea is to ensure that charitable activity not be limited by the intensity of one’s resolve, but that the associated difficulties, for example transaction costs, be reduced to a minimum. Another possibility is to combine regional and seasonal competitions, rewarding those who perform best, making participation fashionable and natural. Even without further elaborating the details it is apparent that social innovation offers an approach that

t////////// SOCIAL ERROR BOOK |

> recognizes that the modernization and transformation of society is not merely a concomitant or consequence of technological and economic processes; > provides those who have the intention to help and only need institutional points of connection and ideas with a means to do so; > offers activity, thinking and efficiency, and expects the very same from all those who wish to exert an impact on our society through their everyday actions.

between those involved in the everyday implementation of innovations and those who come up with new ideas. A new type of social innovation emerges from combining practical experience and the ideas emanating therefrom, with insights gleaned from other areas and a thinking that focuses on innovation. A social innovation process that tends to touch upon several sectors can only be realized with the involvement of several players. The initiating

of a creative idea, which is realized between those involved.� Social innovation is not the monopoly of a single area, nor is the range of stakeholders and persons who could potentially be included limited. The non-profit/civil sector can either initiate or join other initiatives, as can for-profit enterprises. There are naturally ample opportunities for social innovation on all levels of governance as well, from local governments all the way to the national public administration. Social innovation is a process born of a creative idea, which is realized by virtue of continuous feedback between those involved. An important element of this process is that innovation is based on an interactive basis: new ideas are not derived from proposals by theoretical experts in the ivory tower, but from the cooperation

party can either be a market or a non-profit player, but to realize the innovation and to make it sustainable, the involvement of players from a variety of spheres is necessary. The Kreater Social Innovation Agency was established because it is necessary to place a greater emphasis on social innovation in those areas of the civil and business spheres – and of those players cooperating with the aforementioned – which seek to improve society and move it forward. We catalyze social innovation. This is what we seek partners for from every conceivable area. If you want to get more information on social innovation, visit




SOCIOPOLY A game against prejudice Author: Esther Lausek Photo: PĂŠter Egyed










The game Sociopoly wages war on stereotypes such as having children for the sake of child benefits, wasting welfare money at pub slot machines, unemployment caused by laziness, irresponsible money management and careless involvement with loan sharks, was launched by sociologist László Bass and social worker Katalin Fodor in Hungary. The pair have fought against child poverty in Hungary for a long time, and the game has been touring the country for the past three years during which 150 matches have been conducted.

Players of Sociopoly can experience the hopelessness of long-term unemployment and living off of social benefits. If the essence of the game is that there is no way out, and one cannot live for a month without acquiring debt, then is not the logical conclusion that people accept the irreversibility of their situation? It is very important to emphasize that Sociopoly is not aimed at the poor. One cannot learn how to economize through playing it, that is not what the game is about. When we invented the Sociopoly in 2010, we wanted to create a communal game for the Sziget Music festival (one of Europe’s largest summer festivals on the Óbuda Island) to involve young people in discussions about poverty, the Romany people and other social issues. The objective was, and to this day still is, to dissolve the stereotypes about poor people that the public is bombarded with by the media and politicians, such as that they live merrily off of social benefit payments which they drink and gamble away. The aim was to allow young people to walk in the poor’s shoes and experience that their lives are not a bed of roses. The game lasts an hour at the most, but this is not enough time to deconstruct the stereotypes most people are flooded with from many different channels. Stereotypes need to be torn down over and over again. Even social worker students have to go on week-long on-field practice each year. An hour or even a week will not change the world. What the goal of a game or a theatre production can be is to provide a high-dose serum, a catharsis that will shake people up. So that they will not believe everything that the neighbor, the politician, the media says, because this hour long experience

shows them just the opposite. If, in ten years’ time, the former player of the game has to take measures that affect poor people in a negative way and there is a tiny speck of remorse in the player’s subconscious, and even if he may not know why, it was worth creating this game. Why are young people the target audience? Will it not be too late by the time they are in a position to do something to help the situation of the impoverished in Hungary? The issues of social awareness and prejudice cannot be dealt with on a rational level, they need experience and common ground. This is why one of the key elements of the game is emotional involvement, which people in their twenties are most capable of. For example, during our most recent game a male high school student started crying when he realized he did not have a penny left by the middle of the month, and that he will stay a loser no matter what he does. The space available for the players is increasingly narrowing during the game until they are unable to move and this is what they need to experience. When they realize they are in a confined position everyone tries to bend or break the rules, trying to find a pretext to roll the dice again or pay less. And this also speaks volumes about reality to the participants, because they realize that if they are not allowed to function under normal circumstances, after a while the only way out is breaking the rules. This is why discussion is the most important part of the game. The game provides a frame and the rest is improvisation based upon the issues raised. Whether it is the Romany issue or criminal activity or something else, the main thing is that it is raised, so people can react to it. The game



becomes pointless if there is no reaction and the players just roll, move and pay, but this rarely happens since everyone wants to win and if they run out of money they cannot. If, however, the players remain outsiders and do not want to win, it kills the game. Here you have to scream and let your emotions surface. You mentioned that Sociopoly debuted at the Sziget Festival which is well known for attracting an international audience. How were you able to involve them it the game that is so specifically Hungarian? Foreigners really like the game, but, coming from a different sociopolitical system, they do not fully understand it. They become emotionally involved in the game itself, they like it and understand the logic of it, but it does not trigger real-life emotions in them or give way to heated debates. For them, Sociopoly is not about poverty but rather about Hungary in that the country has a strange system and very

little social welfare. Of course, the game could be adapted and used in different settings, a game has just been taken to Denmark for this purpose. We are very interested to see what will happen. In addition to touring Hungary with Sociopoly, what other plans do you have with the game? The board game is also available for sale. Nearly 300 boxes have been sold so far. These were mostly bought by schools, non-governmental organizations, and we are often asked to train game leaders. We would be pleased if this game became an alternative teaching tool and high school teachers would use it regularly in class. The idea of using it as a teambuilding activity for multinational companies has also come up. Negotiations are underway about an online version, where the possibilities could be expanded and a game could be played over a span of several months.



THAT WORKS IS IRRATIONALITY” Currently 15 percent of people living in Hungary live below the EU poverty threshold. It is their everyday life and bitter struggle that people can experience through Sociopoly. It is the inverted version of Monopoly which is modeled on the life of “wealthy capitalists”. In the game players form families or groups and attempt to live a month in the world of economically disadvantaged small regions without employment. After deciding how many children they want, the groups have to register at the unemployment office to claim benefits and receive the financial support available to them in Hungary. During the game, they receive money through public work schemes and working unreported jobs or they can

As In Real Life

also get occasional financial aid and find or win money. They have a 3% chance of getting a legitimate job. Just like in reality. Apart from unreported cash-in-hand work, other forms of gaining illegal income such as theft, burglary or robbery, are not available to players. Everyone however has to buy groceries, pay for housing, and finance their children’s schooling, transport, clothes and medical care. The amount of expenses, revenues, benefits and other financial support reflect reality in Hungary, the game’s creators always update the amounts according to current official figures. The game is full of situations and dilemmas that are eerily similar to those in real life: should you take a cash-in-hand job and risk getting fined, should you shop

at the local but expensive corner shop for credit or make the longer trip to the less expensive supermarket, should you gamble your last 1000 Forints (about 4 Euros), should you buy your child a birthday present, should you borrow money from a loan-shark at 100% credit? The truth is that it really does not matter how you choose because you cannot win in this game. All but the most fortunate finish the first round in debt, which they will then roll in front of them until the end of the game, just like in real life. Laszló Bass sums up the game with the following words: “The lesson is that rational decisions mean nothing in this world, the only thing that works is irrationality.”



Making sense of suffering


Author: Ferenc Hammer, sociologist Photo: Gergő Nagy

parcel of the individual ring which would be solely part and One cannot envision any form of suffe rs. othe of nce to or responsibility in question, without any conseque culture A fairly convenient understanding of ng and maki of ess defines it primarily as a proc culture all is It life. in s thing of changing meaning ure gest a g, ishin aston cape lands a es that defin train a g, tenin lame, a pastry kosher, a sign frigh argue that late, a face dirty, and indeed, some physical even nt exte and ect resp in a certain depending pain may affect individuals differently, they learn on particular standards and norms can be so ring suffe onal pers our in their lives. If s and norm rs’ othe and our upon nt inge cont underour that lude expectations, one may conc more even be may ring suffe rs‘ standing of othe us teach re cultu and ty socie what on t dependen of nces eque cons about the causes, qualities and culture may suffering. A person’s suffering in one another in lege privi on’s pers her easily be anot the social culture. While one can hardly find ty, there is category of “the sufferer” in any socie

gories with a a regiment of social roles and cate ring. suffe of sort some of e defining stanc to eliminate Suffering, or more precisely, the aim etaphysical suffering, has received a close-to-m amental fund a of less Not res. status in our cultu to the U.S. ent ndm Ame th Eigh the than ce, sour unusual Constitution states that “cruel and a range and ted“, inflic be] not l punishments [shal ts assert men docu s right an hum tal amen of fund suffering is that the the aim of protection from which is a ity, dign an hum a defining aspect of as such. ition cond an hum the of ure final meas ring suffe re, In a quite different corner of cultu , ment treat tal amen fund had received an even more a was it a, dogm stian Chri the to as according d humanity suffering of the Saviour that redeeme notion the ed, inde from eternal damnation, and ons religi in idea d sprea wide quite of the martyr is a on, versi d larize secu its as d, worl the around

p a e ch t a th n e p p a h ly si ea n ca t “I concern for social justice in peop criticism of mainstream media t more thoughtful and humanisti



r for the the national hero who is ready to suffe as a different n Agai . unity comm the of g bein welldefines angle to the theme, classical liberalism decrease to s mean a as y polit the ultimate aim of individual of uit purs the gh throu ring human suffe happiness. ious and If one puts aside these elevated relig closer look a takes and iples princ ical soph philo life, it is at the muddled realities of ever yday present and past the in ans apparent that hum of suffering s form in certa pt acce to ed tend have people as an intergral part of life. There are ed to deem are who ones as whom we consider thing some for it rve dese they use suffer, beca instance a they committed against others, for n of human notio the pt crime. We seem to acce contrary what Some t. hmen punis just a suffering as matter, to that for and ent, ndm Ame 8th the to

ures of the international law too, war-like meas ded the inclu past nt United States in the rece rogation inter d ance “enh of s form in use of certa in the name ners priso war st again es“ niqu tech idered by of national security, that would be cons ring. tortu many simply as examples Less dramatic but more ubiquitous ring often suffe that est sugg are abound that all ation evalu and ding rstan unde er prop its receives lation. calcu and through certain forms of weighing ical med r cove to y read is Public health insurance d, soun may it l crue well, ss, unle inter ventions, physical nate elimi to r orde in pay to price the the case of suffering is too high, for example in countries many In ly. elder the for s certain operation onal principles tituti cons by cted prote is ch spee free sment, even if its consequences are embarras an hum of fice sacri of s form revulsion, or some

p melodrama may result genuineic le, and equally possible that publr reatment of suffering may trigge ” e. ic st ju of s em bl ro p to s er sw n a ic




modern the earthly Valley of Weeping. In the is, the that cy, experience the subject of agen idual, indiv the in ered cent all origin of fate, are ed by guid s geoi bour the and n citize in the the g strange the norm of self- ownership. Somethin in the idual indiv ern mod happens here. The latelized socia much as me beco has re cultu globalizing the defining eye, c publi the in but re, befo r neve as and failures, factors of someone’s fate, successes in the lateered cent ely -clos ever are becoming “successful“ very their in often very cts, subje rn mode norms The es. or “unsuccessful“ physical bodi to the I want to making this clear: Contrary the by vated moti often are of this public eye of suffering seemingly subject-centered notion most ia, med al glob of iples princ n productio ring who – that is, it is always the person is suffe s for nonparticularly, by the news value norm is ring suffe – feels ring suffe knows best how address h whic a, dram fiction or fiction melo ot envision deeply a social experience. One cann city to capa its to rding acco ly suffering most solely part any from of suffering which would be ut much concern witho , ation sens e visibl sent repre tion, without and parcel of the individual in ques ring, while about the causes and origin of suffe of others. ility onsib resp or to nce eque any cons nsibilities in respo d share of urses thoughtful disco there are Suffering is only meaningful as long as enjoy much ring suffe ic ogen phot less g essin addr suffering, assumptions about the causes of of a subcultural status. in idual indiv the of share the t abou particularly n natio elimi question in the causes of and in the functions The good news is that society often s a social of suffering. Suffering always embodie envision ts logis more unexpectedly, than socio the suffering contract about the proper share of drama melo p chea that en it. It can easily happ eliminating e in subject and the rest of the society in justic l socia for ern conc ine genu may result to others‘ ism suffering. The proper way of relating critic ic people, and equally possible that publ that describes may suffering is an assessment of a story ring suffe of t men of mainstream media treat to a suffering the road, the process that leads finally ic answers trigger more thoughtful and humanist most the aps perh stage. Among these questions is is though, news bad The e. justic of lems prob to ing decisions crucial one asks who made the defin that suggest that there is a good number of cases catas rian anita hum a it be ring, suffe that led to use of digital e activ inter gh throu that – particularly rty, or trophy, group violence, chronic pove all unbound ges, emer form ral cultu new a – media homelessness. norms oned fashi from constraints posed by old h whic t, train cons selfcivic of religious piety or ring is of The “ownership“ of the causes of suffe sort all of ring suffe ed desir er prop locates the odern typically a modern dilemma. The pre-m to community enemy others as the defining stance rded rega had ity stian experiece and Chri despise has and hate in and identity – yes, virtuoso lar fate suffering as a consequence of a secu y. toda is it as sexy and cool never been as to fatal or a religious judgement all pointing suffering in misfortunes or sins as the causes of

in question dignity, particularly if the individuals goes, public on mpti assu the As es. are public figur ch is lavishly figures‘ suffering caused by free spee public me“ “inco of s compensated by other form ic publ are they use beca isely figures yield prec s of symbolic form er furth and r powe , Fame es: figur we not capital. Quite similar is the reason why suffering the nd dema do inly only accept, but certa sport wear to en happ they if s idual indiv in of certa ring. g boxin the gear at a football field, let alone in




Tell us what you think, and we will use your thoughts at the Social Error Project, on the stage as well as on the website!

What are the 3 biggest problems in the world right now? 1. 2. 3. Think, answer and drop the postcard in the designated box at the theater or send it back to us via post! Every single thought can change the world, at least a little bit.


Photo: Iv & Candie’s Wonderland (


Jurányi u. 1-3. Budapest

Tell us what you think, and we will use your thoughts at the Social Error Project, on the stage as well as on the website!

What are your top 3 problems right now? 1. 2. 3. Think, answer and drop the postcard in the designated box at the theater or send it back to us via post! Every single thought can change the world, at least a little bit.

Photo: Iv & Candie’s Wonderland (






Photo: Iv & Candie’s Wonderland (

Photo: Iv & Candie’s Wonderland (




Editor: Péter Szigeti Graphic design: Gergő Nagy Contributors: László Ágoston, Márton Bede, Ferenc Hammer, Esther Lausek, Máté Szondy Photo: Péter Egyed, Gergő Nagy + staff of the contributing theaters (the Shawarma pics) Postcard photos: Iv & Candie’s Wonderland ( Infographic design: Bence Szabó M. (page 50-57) Translator: Bori Rieger Special thanks: Eszter Bíró, Nadja Blank, Viktor Bodó, Sebastian Clever, Francesca Gandini, Orsolya Gálos, Katharina Gerschler, Giacomo Giuntini, Albert Held, Josephine Hiede, Martina Maier, Zsófia Rét, Ildikó Ságodi

Staff of Social Error Project: Juli Balázs – set & costume design, Dániel Bálint – director of photography, Zsolt Balogh – technical coordinator, Tamás Bányai – light design, Viktor Bodó – director, András Juhász & Gábor Karcis – media design, Gábor Keresztes – sound design & music, Andrea Pass – assistant to the director, Zsófi Rick – media relations & web, Júlia Róbert – dramaturge, Ildikó Ságodi – head of production, Luca Szabados – assistant to the costume designer, Tamás Turai – dramaturge, Péter Tóth – managing director, Anna Veress – dramaturge, interpreter Publisher: Szputynik Nonprofit Kft., (legal address: H-1131 Budapest, Násznagy u. 42., postal address: H-1027 Budapest, Jurányi u. 1-3., phone: +36 30 9 773 720, e-mail: Person in charge of publishing: Péter Tóth Printed in Keskeny Printing House (Keskeny és Társai 2001 Kft., legal adress: H- 1158 Budapest, Rákospalotai határút 6., phone: +36 1 414 2071, ©2013




Szputnyik Shipping Company – Social Error Book

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