13 June 2018

Cultural Maturity

I acknowledge that I have certain immaturities that are obvious and blatant to people I interact with. I am admittedly childish when it comes to diplomacy, tact and communication as a whole. I accept that I have character weaknesses and that I'm probably immature in many areas which I'm not even aware of.

But I also acknowledge that I have traits and attitudes that are relatively rare in society today, traits that are particularly important in order to progress as a society. So when I insinuate that people should be paying attention to me I'm not saying that I think I'm better than anyone or that I'm higher up on a social ladder.

What I'm saying is more along the lines that a screw driver is great at turning screws but terrible at hammering nails. That screw driver is neither more nor less worthy of being in a tool box than other tools. Cultural and ethical maturity is my strength and it took many years of self-doubt and re-evaluation, of sitting on society's sidelines wondering if maybe my perceptions are underdeveloped, before I eventually realised that I am genuinely seeing society from an objective perspective, in a way that few other people do.

A perception that inequality, racial segregation, gender separation, materialism, superstition, etcetera really are major problems in the world. Don't misunderstand me, everyone knows materialism for example is wrong but the average person doesn't honestly understand why. So with the concept of political correctness (PC), everyone knows that it's not acceptable to have certain views or attitudes in public but unless you genuinely understand why those views are unacceptable you'll view "PC" as a form of censorship.

So thankfully things like racism and sexism are generally accepted as taboo these days and People tend for the most part to understand why. But a more difficult topic to address is poverty. Most people know that poor people must be regarded as equals but many people grapple with the idea that these people are lazy and their situation is self inflicted. Many think that treating the poor with respect is just a form of "political correctness" and that "they deserve what they get".

Few people above the poverty line take the time to consider that privilege, in almost every case, is what protected them from poverty. One certainly has some influence through actions but to think that we have full control over our wealth or class is woefully misguided. For nearly every single person in society, class is a lottery and conditions outside your control influence your luck. Society therefore owes the underprivileged a debt because our system has essentially failed them. We walk around with an attitude that poverty is just something that exists whether we like it or not. The truth is that poverty is not a given, it's a systemic side effect and the people who are affected simply don't have the resources to change the system.

And representative democracy is a farce, it's very easy to manipulate large groups of uneducated people to vote in a way that doesn't benefit them. South Africa is a prime example of that but by no means a unique example. For that reason objective education must be a human right. Democracy is a foundational human right that's been fought for long and hard throughout the ages but it's of no value unless people are equipped with the information to make the right decisions.

Wealth is the other part to this equation. Unless you have the resources you have very little influence in society, our social systems are deliberately engineered as such because the informed fear the uninformed having any capacity to invoke change. Understandably so, so information or objective education is the starting point. But thankfully information is spreading and we're finding ways of effectively quelling superstition so general education is rising gradually.

What's not improving is the wealth disparity situation, in fact the gap between the haves and have-nots is rapidly increasing at a time when it should be going in the other direction. The solution is not to outright take from the rich as is in consideration among South African politicians right now. But rather to implement policies and ultimately build a system that promotes equality. Access to information and democratic participation as a human right is a good start.

While the extremely wealthy will indeed lose wealth and probably have a significantly reduced standard of living, the vast majority will be better off including people considered very wealthy today. This is because of the compounded effect of large amounts of people participating in high value roles in society. Everyone but the absolute richest will be better off in a very equal society.

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