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Escape the Unfair/Corrupt?

dglasser's picture

Today’s class, (well it’s 12am, so technically, yesterday’s class) is still spinning through my head. I am not a silent person, and I can’t stop wondering why I was so quiet during class. The answer I’ve come up with is, that although I’m not a silent person, I definitely am a fixating one, as in I have a fixating personality. When I hear something that strikes me differently, I fixate and think-it to death, and thinking something to death takes a lot of effort- how could I have strength to speak?

So now that I have had some time to let my fixation formulate, I can talk. The fatherly advice froggie generously shared with us yesterday got me thinking. I’m paraphrasing, so forgive me, but it was something to the effect of, “you don’t have to work in a corrupt system.” I don’t think the word corrupt was used, but it was something like that.  This advice struck me as odd, because it is the opposite of what I’ve been taught, that is not a judgment on the advice, it’s just a noting of difference.

I’ve always been taught that systems will always be corrupt for somebody. Somebody will always view them as unfair because not everybody in a system can flourish, there has to be a balance, and people who are on the lower side of that balance will no doubt complain, being human tendency, and yell corruption. Instead, I’ve always been taught that instead of remedying a system into its utopic form, it is more productive to tweak the system in your favor. And by favor, I don't mean your selfish desire, your favor could be your desire to see others succeed. After all, isn’t it a greater testimony of strength to tweak a system from a new perpective, than it is to create a new system all together? Anyone can create a system? Anyone can start a school or a business, but that doesn’t make it valuable.  I feel that you cannot escape working in a corrupt system and that that is not a bad thing but instead a challenge and an opportunity for growth.

You can take an unfair system and bend it so you can succeed, challenge yourself to make the best of the bad. Scrapping and starting over is easy, not an opportunity for growth as I see it.  I should clarify that by tweaking or bending, I don’t mean being dishonest or unjust. Systems are not completely rigid. If they were we’d be living in a computer program. There are ways to bend and tweak circumstances in your favor, or in the favor of those people or organizations you’d like to see succeed. To me that’s not being selfish. For example, hospital policies on insurance basically suck. If you’re poor, too bad. Let’s say your loved one is hurt and without insurance. Instead of rewriting that hospital’s insurance policy, I find it a larger testimony of will if you were able to find a legal way around the law. In that way, if people keep challenging the system, bending it and competing against it, laws will progressively get  “better” or more “just”. Competition in my mind can result in great results.  This sounds pessimistic in ways, but as of now that’s how I see it. Ask me again in a few weeks, no doubt my answer will be different.


froggies315's picture

cool! i agree with this:

cool! i agree with this: "life [should] be viewed more of a process than a production of products" 

Price made comment at the end of her talk on thursday that I really liked and seems related.  It was something like: "we don't beed to solve problems, we just need to move."  Perhaps she was alluding to this process > products mentality.  I'm not sure. 

imma try to find/read that essay in the next couple of days. i'll let you know what I think!  also, you didn't offend!

froggies315's picture

hmm...maybe I should give

hmm...maybe I should give some context of my papa’s fatherly advice.  My dad has spent his professional life working outside of systems that are broken to create ones that are more whole.  He founded an organization that creates high quality charter schools for students in abysmally low performing school districts in western PA.  My dad works hard and has a fierce commitment to what he feels is right and good and necessary.  He, and I, and the world can see where that hard work and commitment have taken his vision.

By giving me this advice, my dad has put responsibility on me to imagine places where we don’t need competition (although, I know my dad thinks competition can lead to great things, so maybe I’ve completely misinterpreted his advice), where nothing is wrong, where everything is good.  If I gave up on the possibility of changing the status quo, and imagining spaces where everyone (everything!) is included my life would be reduced to a game of beating other people (as you described school in class).  I know my life is more than that.   

dglasser's picture

I can see that.

I really like how you ended your comment, "I know my life is more than that", and it got me thinking if life in pursuit of a perfect system is the point of life, whether you get there or not, the never-ending process is the product? I can see that. It's kind of like the web, never-ending, never completed, always changing, but it is a product, a created thing. Maybe life should be viewed more like the web?

That would be the exact opposite view of Larry Briskman in his essay, "Creative Process and Creative Product in Science and Art", a really great essay that I encourage anyone interested in creativity to read. Should life be viewed more of a process than a production of products? And should school be viewed in the same way, never-ending "plateaus"? You really got me wondering, so I'm glad you commented.

Also, I just wanted to make it clear that if in anyway my post read like an attack on you, your father, or his advice I really do apologize, I was just using what you said as a starting point for my own thoughts, I didn't mean to offend, if I did.