Beta Culture: Morning Thoughts

Toothpaste or teethpaste?

The fact is, if it had initially been called teethpaste, we’d be perfectly comfortable with that. If someone then suggested it should be called toothpaste, every one of us would come down on that fool. “You dumbass, it’s for TEETH – teeth, plural – not just one tooth. TOOTHpaste would be silly.”

The things you’re used to, that’s the way you think things should be.

It’s why we live the way we do, despite some bits of it being so obviously crazy. Not toothpaste, of course, but …

Overpopulation. Hunting elephants. Forcing pregnant 12-year-olds to have babies. War as a spectator sport. Fox News. Circumcision. The War on Drugs. The super-rich, world-spanning Catholic Church.

The problem with changing things like this – and I’ve missed about 12 million of them – is that most of the time there is NO RECOGNIZABLE PROBLEM. Meaning, most people can’t even see that there’s something crazy about the situation.

But if something’s really crazy-wrong, it produces REAL harmful effects, both to the people within it and the wider world beyond it. Whether you see them or not. Whether you’re comfortable with them or not.

How do you deal with a problem so big, so pervasive, so hidden, so averse to change?

You start small. Get a few people working together. Straightening the bent stuff, fixing the broke stuff, injecting sanity into the crazy stuff. Fix what you can, the things within your reach. And go on from there.

And 50 years from now, 100 years from now, 200 years from now, there are still elephants. War doesn’t exist. Fox News is out of business. Children everywhere get to be children. And the human race is still alive on Planet Earth.

That’s what I want.