When we Feel Certain, Simple Concepts can be Difficult

There are very simple concepts that people simply can’t understand. We feel certain about our model of how the world works. So we can’t understand even simple ideas that disagree with our models. 

You feel certain

Imagine back to a time when people thought the earth was flat. People lived their whole childhood thinking the earth was flat. They were teens on a flat earth. Then adults. Some people did a lot of traveling- some for thousands of miles on a flat earth. If you asked them, not only did they think the earth was flat, but they felt it. They had an overwhelming feeling of certainty about it.

Birds flew over a flat earth. The oceans rested on a flat ocean-bottom. The stars, the sun, and the moon travelled East to West over the flat world every day. Just as sure as Moses and Mohammed were God’s prophets and Jesus was God’s son, the earth was flat. There was no point even listening to any other idea.

There was just these nagging doubts- what was beneath the Earth? And why does the North star never move? And then there’s that strange retrograde motion we see occasionally in the paths of the planets…

You feel certain about politics

Politics is completely broken AND nothing we’ve tried for many decades has fixed it. Why? 

It’s not because of “those dummies in the other party”. Nor is it due to the 2-party duopoly or our primitive first-past-the-post elections or single-candidate districts. It’s not because of the wealthy or corporations or corruption or lobbying. Yes, changing these would help. But why is it so difficult to change them? Polls say that 97% of Americans want stricter rules preventing corruption of Congress. Yet there’s no hope of passing such legislation. 

It’s because there’s an underlying problem. And none of these changes would fix the underlying problem. And all of these problems are actually symptoms of the underlying problem.

Politics can be easily fixed, but you can’t see it

Politics is very fixable. But you can’t see it because you have our culture’s model of it. And that model is wrong. It’s based on myths that are wholly untrue.

But we’re so sure we understand politics that understanding something different is hard. It’s so hard, most people won’t even try.

Do you feel like you understand our political system? Do you feel like you understand “representative democracy”? Do you think our elected officials should be accountable to us? The problem is that your feelings about it are just feelings. And they’re mistaken.

I’ve talked to about a thousand people, some of them are pretty brilliant. They don’t understand representative democracy. It turns out that America has never had it. Nor much accountability. No country has ever had these. And we’re blind to these facts. Check out your own feelings.

I’m not asking you to believe that. I’m asking you to consider it, and be curious.

Open up to a new possibility

Once you’re open to seeing something new, It’ll take 15 minutes to 6 hours of real learning to see what’s really going on. And once you see what’s really going on, it’s easy to see how to fix it.

It requires no new laws. But it’ll enable us to pass new laws readily. It’ll require no new movement. But we’ll be able to assemble movements easily. It’ll require very little effort. But it will enable us to coordinate massive country-wide efforts quickly- even world-wide efforts.

I’ve communicated a bit with three billionaires who want to fix American politics. But they can’t take a few hours to learn something new, because they’re certain they’re doing the right thing.

None of these billionaires like Trump. Yet if we understood politics, he wouldn’t have been elected. And if we fix it now, we could reign him in. I mention the billionaires because any one of them could easily have made it happen already. But they’re just like all the rest of us, thinking they understand things because they feel certain.

Yes, I’m frustrated. Like many. I seem to see a possibility that others are blind to…

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