”Listening to Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to relax” … from living under social straitjacket to personal freedom and individuality.. and onwards!

As I was reading christmas issue of The Economist few things got my eye. First of all there was a great piece about progress and human aspirations. It really touched my nerves as I have had to wonder what are those things that really matter and reconcile my beliefs and ideas on what the world is, will be and what matters. As someone who hasn’t had that classical education it is nice to be reminded how similar thoughts wiser men have had centuries ago and how they have made their own reconciliations. ( Read the article: http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15108593)

However much more emotional and stronger thought came from reading ”A Ponzi scheme that works” ( http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15108634 ), not because of the article as a whole – but for description of Mr Lee, Korean-American immigrant who likes to listen right-wing pundits to relax.

For example, he never liked the way his neighbours in Korea stuck their noses into each other’s business. Everyone knew how you were doing in school. You could not get a good job without connections. There was constant social pressure not to lose face. When Mr Lee went back to visit, he remembers slipping into the old straitjacket. He wanted to pop out to the corner shop, but realised he would have to put on a smart shirt and trousers, despite the intense humidity. What would the neighbours think if they saw him in shorts and flip-flops? In America, no one cares.

If you were to live in Finland in small town or village, you could experience similar social straitjackets where everyone you see knows you and knows your things. You have your freedom to do whatever you want, but rest assured – everyone will know what you do. In the city almost no one cares about what you do, read, subscribe to or wear. You are individual and the old safety nets of the ’community’ are replaced with safety structures provided by the state and corporate entities. One can choose his or her own communities and social networks, instead of being forced to belong into one. At the same time though – living in the city forces one to live under and conform into a set of rules and laws that make it possible to live together in peace within such small areas. You have your individualism, but at the same time you are part of larger community – though your membership in it is almost anonymous.

From time to time, late at night – I play and entertain myself with thoughts about societies in the future and what are the next steps on our journey to there.

What are the pillars and principles of societies that provide sustainable living, transcendent experiences and meaningful life to human beings in the future?

And what can we do to achieve them sooner.

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