Continuing from yesterday…
When I communicate the ideas from yesterday’s post to others, they tend to respond by pointing out the differences between their systems and ours, for example that we can choose what products we buy but they can’t choose their government, along with many other differences.
Of course I know those differences. That’s why I began that post pointing out my theme that anyone can see differences, but what do you learn from them? The challenge is to see the similarities, which teach you more about yourself and your culture and give you ways to change and improve.
Both they and we have billboards showing us messages others craft to motivate us for their benefit. You probably receive more ads than they receive propaganda. The people who create the ads we see do everything they can to motivate you through those ads, probably more than their propagandists.
Stepping out of the system that creates our ads leads you to ponder that each one of them tells you to buy, to consume, to pay attention to them, to accept and support the system that created them. When you’re in that system, like a fish in water you just imagine the world works that way. It doesn’t have to.
When faced with an alternative perspective you can do the easy thing and just say “well they can’t choose but I can so my system is better.” People who go in that direction tend to stop thinking at that point. Maybe our system is better, but I don’t see how much pride you can take in having a better system than North Korea’s.
A more interesting perspective to me is to imagine improving your system when you see it isn’t inevitable. And seeing how to act on what you imagine. Seeing ways to improve it means finding shortcomings in it and figuring out ways you could act on it. You can’t do that when you stop at saying we’re better.
From outside North Korea’s system you can easily see how you could improve that system. When you look at the details, acting on it might be difficult and risky, but you can easily imagine what you would do.
Can you step outside your system to see how you would change yours? Can you see how you might change your behavior and therefore your life? Even if you don’t want to change everything or even anything that big, you can still change your behavior, which changes your perception of your world.
When outside your system, you can ask yourself what are the values of my system, which ones do I like, which ones do I not like, which ones have I adopted anyway, and so on.
Tomorrow, part 3