10 things I've learned about society.

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.

1. People are the same everywhere.

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.

2. Privilege is real.

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.

3. Same problems. Different solutions.

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.

4. There is no "right" way.

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.

5. Every culture has its own balance.

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.

6. Communication across cultures is hard.

If it seems easy, you're either having a very surface conversation, or you're not understanding each other.

7. There is a personality and culture fit.

Cultures press in on people to fit a certain mold. You weren't always born somewhere that fits you well.

8. Bias is real. (And you can do something about it.)

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.

9. Science is awesome.

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.

10. The world is getting better.

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.

Did you enjoy these? Maybe check out another one below. Or the tools we have to live your most meaningful life.

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