I knew this guy, who was a Japanese lawyer. He’d studied in various countries, but practiced in a small town in Japan. He told me some interesting stories.
For example, when the ruling class in Japan decided to expel the foreigners in the 1600’s, they had a problem on their hands.
See, a lot of the common folk back then had been exposed to foreign ideas, products, and even some of the people. The Catholic Church was trying hard to expand.
So when they kicked out all the foreigners, they had to fill the gap with something. This is when, according to my lawyer friend, they came up with some brilliant social engineering.
See, any time you’ve got a small class of people trying to rule the masses, you’ve either got to have some massive weapons, or some wicked myth spinning skills to keep ’em all in line.
What was surprising was how similar that particular mythology was to the original Catholic memes created by the Romans back in the day.
Namely, poverty is good, money is bad, if you suffer on Earth, you’ll get your reward in heaven.
Now, most people are familiar with the Christian idea that poverty is good, but most aren’t aware that the Samurai class weren’t allowed to earn money.
They were given a stipend by their bosses, but that was about it.
Those that DID earn money, the merchant class, were put at the bottom rung of the social structure ladder.
After all, any class that had money making skills would be a threat to the ruling party.
Same with the Romans. If they’d convinced everybody that being poor was a virtue, then they wouldn’t have to worry too much about controlling people.
Obedience, says the famous character in Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamozov,” can be bought with bread.
Convince everybody that being poor is good, give them just enough to survive, and everybody’s happy.
At least in theory.
But you know that’s not true. You know that humans have an unquenchable desire to build and create and learn and explore the world.
Maybe this is why societies always tend to collapse eventually.
You can’t keep people down for long.
See, everybody’s got these motivating triggers. No matter what you do, they’ll come out somehow.
If you try and repress them, you’ll end up frustrated, confused, and more often than not, broke.
But you embrace and unleash them, the world, as Tony Montana said, is yours.
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