1. Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs: In Portugal, instead of sticking drug addicts in prison, only to make their lives worse, they send them to treatment centers to help them. More than half of America’s prisoners are there for drugs. Decriminalization would save a lot of money and decrease a lot of needless suffering. And Portugal — after ten years of decriminalization — has the lowest drug use rate in the European Union.
2. Iceland’s cop culture: the Icelandic police never shot and killed a person until 2013. And they hardly ever carry guns. Seriously, we need nice cops.
3. Korea’s three-punch fight tradition: I lived in South Korea for a year, and they have this tradition when they fight. They throw two to three punches, and then just walk away. I saw this three times while in Korea. Two people start yelling, a few punches get thrown, and then it’s over. Koreans don’t run and find guns and knives and kill each other. I heard of one person getting murdered in Korea while I was there, the murder weapon was an octopus. Not joking, an octopus. Could you imagine a murder rampage done with octopi?
4. Asian scooter culture: I know in the American north cars are needed because it’s cold and the roads get covered with snow in the winter. But in the lower southern states, there is no excuse for not having a thriving scooter culture. By driving a scooter you can reduce how much you spend on gas and save the environment all at the same time. In 2012, 34,080 people died in auto wrecks. If a scooter hits another scooter, at most you get a broken arm or a nasty scar, but you remain alive.
5. European and Asian monastery culture: In Europe and Asia they have monasteries where weird sad lonely people who hate contemporary life can go to hide from the world. Every culture has had monks, nuns and shamans. Who were people that felt alienated from other people and wanted time alone to read, paint pictures, study nature and in general not be around the bulk of humanity. There are a lot of alienated Americans who need a beautifully decorated building on a mountain next to a creek to be weird in, and they don’t have it.
6. Buddhism instead of Consumerism: We could replace consumerism with a generalized version of Buddhism. Instead of having commercials screaming at people to buy products, there could be breaks between television shows of flowing streams, condors flying, salamanders playing in the water, or somebody ringing a bell for three minutes. There could be billboards that say things like, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” or, “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
7. Reading the Navajo and Hopi Creation Stories: The Navajo have a book called the Dine Bahane and the Hopis have The Fourth World of the Hopis. These books were written by Native-Americans with stories that take place in America. Instead of American children reading Gilgamesh and Beowulf, they could learn exciting stories from their own land, and in turn learn to love nature and see the world they live in as a mystical, beautiful place — not a place to destroy for the sake of profits.
8. Cram school culture in Japan, China and Korea: Cram schools are after school programs where kids go to get really good at something, like math, another language, piano or martial arts. In America we don’t send kids to tutors until they’re failing, but in Asian cultures they believe that humans should reach their highest potential. There is a huge difference in attitude between Asians and Americans concerning what should be done with children. Americans think childhood is for games and play, a form of nostalgic moment building, while Asians think they are ‘building adults.’
9. Vision Quest: A vision quest is when Native-Americans living in the western part of America would go out in nature for four days without food and only water. Before they would go they would sit in a sweat lodge to sweat out the toxins, and get blessed by a medicine man. Then they would sit in nature, which means they would be completely surrounded by silence except for the sounds of bugs and animals. Since there were no people to judge them, they would be forced to see themselves, and have a mystical vision of what they needed to do in life. I think Americans badly need this.
10. Slovenia has the lowest income-inequality: I have no idea why Slovenia has the lowest income inequality, but America ranks 43, therefore somebody should send a team over to Slovenia and find out what they are doing to make people equal.