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In Soviet Russia, Pravda punches you
I once asked a coworker who had grown up in the Soviet Union “What was the most surprising thing about coming to the West?” I was assuming it was going to be something physical and mundane: the shape of traffic lights, or the fact that you can’t find Vodka for sale in bus stops – something like that.
His answer, though, made me realize that I’d accidentally asked a really interesting question. “Growing up under communism, things didn’t make perfect sense. Facts didn’t quite fit together. But because everything – schools, newspapers, radio – was all from the same people, you never knew what was wrong…but you could tell that something wasn’t right. It was like boxing while you’re blind folded. You keep getting hit in the face, but you don’t know why. Only after I got out did I see how the real world really was, and how everything we’d been told was lies and distortions.” (Quote is from memory ten years later)
There’s an aphorism that “fish don’t know that they’re in water.” While googling up the phrase to make sure I had it exactly, I learned that Derek Sivers has made exactly the point I wanted to make next, and made it well, so I’ll let him speak:
Fish don’t know they’re in water.
If you tried to explain it, they’d say, “Water? What’s water?”
They’re so surrounded by it, that it’s impossible to see.
They can’t see it until they get outside of it.
This is how I feel about culture.
We’re so surrounded by people who think like us, that it’s impossible to see that what we think are universal truths are just our local culture.
We can’t see it until we get outside of it.
I was born in California and grew up with what I felt was a normal
upbringing with normal values.
My Russian friend was a fish, and it wasn’t until he got out of the water that he could look down and exclaim “Holy shit! That is why I felt so wet all the time!”
Well, lucky us – we live in the West where the schools, the media, and the government aren’t all held captive by one totalitarian ideology, so we get a diversity of viewpoints and can see how things really work.
I’m joking, of course.
(I thought briefly about putting an image of Bush, Clinton, Carter and Obama all sharing a laugh …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>