The Victims of Systems

I read a brilliant book a couple of months ago because of the hype among the well-read people. It’s Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. As mainstream as it sounds that book is definitely a must read! It is for anyone who is curious about why the world society works and functions as it is today. It’s basically a story about us. It’s a pretty thick book but hey, blinkist is a thing today.

Why do I bring up this book? Well, reading our own narrative and history, I have learnt that Homo Sapiens are blessed with cognitive intelligence and revolution to develop the systems that exist but we are also the product of a system. In fact, the society (which is also a system by itself) is also shaped by a collective of systems. An example I get from this book is Yuval explains why do we, human beings become so dependent on grains in our diet. I mean in common meals there is always a portion of grains: pasta, bread, cereal, rice, etc. (unless you’re on a diet). In his book, he takes us back to the end of Nomadic era where homo sapiens (a.k.a. us) decided to settle down. Hence, the beginning of the Agricultural revolution (9.500 – 8.500 BC).

Grains become one of the earliest commodity to be domesticated and human realized that there is a way to have an abundance supply of food. Good thing right? Yet it wasn’t even easier than foraging. Human needed to opening up lands (that often caused blood and lives to fight for the land), moving away rocks and stones and carrying lots of water in order to keep these ‘grass’ to survive. It required human to settle down and live in houses to take care of their domesticated commodities (animals included). Who is domesticated now? Worse, our diet slowly became primarily dominated by grains and slowly but surely, human body became dependent on it. Our survival is now based on one staple diet compared to when human used to forage and not relying on a specific species to survive. In fact, our decisions to settle down leads us to more stories and has created many systems in the world. Village, tribes, kingdoms, colonialism, the trade system, politics, the UN, independent countries, the news and the list goes on and on and on..

A Job is one of the products of system. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t against going to office and do the WORK that matters. The system victimizes when we go to 9-5 every Monday to Friday following orders because that’s how it has been done for the past… I don’t know.. 34 years? The system where creativity is not flourished but killed to maintain the stability of a system itself. Or repeating this whole process for 30 years or so and retired by 50 something because that’s how to society works. Why can’t we continue the work we care until whenever we want to? This is not only about career, it’s also about marriage, education, law (realize how these two words are often accompanied by the word ‘system’), healthcare, travel privilege, citizenship (hence, different passport strengths worldwide) and many more.

I started to have interest to this topic when I was learning about travel privilege. I wonder I never choose to be born in a country that have weak passport and I never done anything wrong in my life that would degrade my personal value as a citizen of the world yet it takes me a hell of a process to visit certain countries. I once came to an embassy for a visa interview at 5 AM in the morning for a tourist visa application. I even think it might be still easier for a ‘strong’ passport holders who have committed a minor crime or misdemeanor compared to someone with ‘weak’ passport to visit a certain country.

I’m sorry for bringing criminal offender on this frame because one of the aspects that determine the strength of a passport is terrorism, which is a way serious type of crime that affects the safety of millions. But just because a terrorist come from a certain country or even the majority of the people there are terrorist doesn’t mean everyone is terrorists. Those few of people who aren’t involved in any kind of terrorism initiatives never choose to be born there but they have to carry the burden of ‘weak’ passport and losing the opportunities that are accessible to millions of others. Because it is easier for the system to do so. But it also leads to a more serious yet underrated problem such as bias. My friend from Indonesia came and visit his brother in the US. He’s been there multiple times and everything went smooth. The only time it was different is when he began to grow his hair and visited the States with longer hair. That ended up with him being interrogated with officials at the immigration.

On the other hand, we can’t imagine how the world we know today is going to be without a system. There is always a good and the bad side of every stories. I can’t stop thinking what’s going to happen if human decided to keep the nomadic lifestyle? What is the world going to be without the existence of systems?