I've been really lucky to have been able to live all over the world, in a huge variety of societies, contexts, levels of wealth, and cultures. Here's what I've learned so far.
Everything you know about being human applies everywhere on the planet. China. America. Uganda. Colombia. Everyone there is the exact same type of human you are, with the same problems, emotions, dreams, and smarts.
This is only a contentious fact with the people at the very top, who have all of the privilege. Everyone is running a 100 meter race. Some people just get a 30 meter head start. The world is not fair or equal, and if you think it is, you're missing things.
People are people, all over the world. We have the same needs and the same core problems. We're all smart, clever, and resourceful. But wonderfully, we start in very different contexts, and invent different solutions to fit it. If you think something's been solved as well as it can be, you haven't looked hard enough yet.
Not to human, not to society. It's not democracy. It's not free speech. It's not communism or capitalism or any of the isms. These are all experiments. We're still trying to figure it out.
Every single culture has tensions within it, a way that all their idiosyncrasies rely on each other that lets the whole wobbly thing keep going. You might want the trains in your country to be as on time as they are Japan, but you'd have to change a surprising number of other things to get them.
If it seems easy, you're either having a very surface conversation, or you're not understanding each other.
Cultures press in on people to fit a certain mold. You weren't always born somewhere that fits you well.
Our brains aren't always doing what they tell us they are. They make things up and come to wrong conclusions and sometimes that means that we're real jerks without knowing it.
When you see bias in your own thoughts or actions, find ways to correct for it. When you see it in someone else, help them see it too.
It's the single most powerful tool for improving the human condition we've ever had. It scales up for our societies. It scales down to our personal lives. Hypothesize, Experiment, Measure, Understand. Repeat.
Across every metric, it's the best time there's ever been to be alive. It's also still a really horrible time for some people. And we need work hard to fix that.
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