I’ve honestly never researched it. I’ve seen some things I like in the Nordic countries for example (not all of them) and yet, they have their downsides as well.
Parts of Japanese culture are intriguing to me: The population is very walking/public transportation friendly which I like, yet, I wouldn’t want to be a family man in Japan nor go to the schools there. Too harsh. One of the Nordic countries has a very progressive education (and prison system) that I approve of… can’t think which one though.
Ultimately though, the reason why I don’t generally think about such things is simple: If I began to fall in love with a particular area’s culture/government/ways, I’d move there.
I suppose, oddly enough, India. Messy India. Not by the borders – no no.. but perhaps in a city.
In ’93, I had a co-worker whose father ran a HUGE shoe business (rich family – that’s how he ended up in the USA temporarily – he was curious about the USA and his dad said, “fine”. But, he set his son on a task as well – he wanted his son to come back with somebody and start up a new business manufacturing computers and eventually get into software.
I was to be that somebody. Imagine starting up a computer business in 1993? Before Windows 95 blew on the scene? While the internet was still uber young?
Anyway, after weeks of thinking about it, i turned it down, even after talking to his father long distance a few times.
It was going to be five years and then I’d come home (n theory), but i knew what would happen: I’d fall in love with India and never come back to the states. I know how I am.
So, that’s why I don’t dream *too* big – I know I’ll “do it” and then stay.
Go for it man. I grow where I’m planted mostly. I occasionally have thoughts: I have two friends that work in the school system in South Korea (two diff parts of the country so they don’t know each other), one’s a psychologist and the other is a teacher and all-around “do stuff” guy.
I’d also considered Brazil a few times. Made a bunch of Brazlian friends about 7-8 yrs ago on Orkut. I learned a little Portuguese (forgot almost all of it), and we’d talk back and forth using the early Google Translate in the Orkut chat (teaching them how to do it was fun).
For there, it’d be Sao Paulo, just because I know a lot of ppl there now. (probably about 150 or so – we stay in touch loosely online since then – their names pop up on each social network and I pop up on theirs).
But it wasn’t ever a serious consideration, just “Yeah, that might be interesting to try”. I’m just careful about committing. Once I commit, I’m married to the idea and there’s no turning back for me. I’ve done that many times and likely continue to.
Mid 90s, was in a monastery for a little bit. Russian Orthodox. Converted for a few years, mostly for the theology. Learned tons, got deep into it. Taught myself Russian. Was going to go to Jordanville Seminary in NY (which was 100% in Russian) to get priest training and then be a priest-monk. I was all in. But grandmother started dying, so I agreed to stay around for a few more years, which I did.
Never had any regrets about the “roads not chosen” because they were 100% fully my choice to consider them and say “no”. I could give you a dozen more potential alt.futures I didn’t pursue and I’m grateful for not pursuing each of them.
I found my most freedom right here years ago anyway. internet. always been my freedom, my society, my people, my government, my community. everybody who gets online. I just can’t believe so many other people joined through the years and like it too.
I’m doing it. My mission’s my own. Never found an ecclesiastical body to support it yet but I know it’s … ok, I can’t say it. Sat here for 30 seconds. Almost said “God’s work” but can’t in good conscience because I don’t know the mind of God.
in the Orthodox tradition (and I consider myself agnostic now because it’s the closest to accurate at present – but not atheist) – they make a distinction between God’s essence and God’s energies.
It’s a big deal and spoke to me strongly. We can’t know God’s essence. It’s beyond spacetime. Might be including all of spacetime (a pantheistic view) – I don’t know. But as much as I can’t know God’s essence, I can participate in God’s energies. That’s where Jesus is the template – the healthy human – the example of the theosis that’s possible for all humans, a process that can transfigure the very physical Universe.
I don’t talk about it much, almost never. But I know (gnosis) when the direction I’m pointed in is proper or not. I don’t know how I know, or even what it is. It just is.
Imagine you’re a node on the internet in constant communication with a source node which is also in contact with other nodes whom you also are afforded the opportunities to connect with as well.
This is how I see it. Is that prayer? Well, it’s communication. That much I can say.
The closest to that stuff I had when I was growing as a kid in the Methodist church was the thing about the “still small voice”. Same idea.
I just don’t talk about it much ’cause it ‘sounds weird’ or arrogant or that somehow I’m in some special position. But it’s not – to me, it’s physics.
I see each person as unique and special while also just as continually connected. But sometimes people have blockages. I have them. As far as I can tell, most people have at least some and some have many. If I see it in someone, I try to remove the blockage through attempting to reach some sort of mutual undertsanding – whatever the topic, whoever I’m writing to.
When i see that point, I can relax. I can’t know their relationship with anybody else but I can at least have some proof that they’re capable of some kind of connection – and a reminder that I’m capable as well.
Around the age of 12, briefly considered being a doctor. Blood/gore/vomit never bothered me and still doesn’t. The idea didn’t last long but this notion of doing what I can to remove blockages to allow natural healing to take place was always some sort of ‘need’ – a thing I had to do.
Apologies for the constant “i” but I don’t want to speak for God nor for other people and not for all of humanity. They’re not me, I’m not them. Yet, the connection’s still there regardless. I just feel the need to allow people to have their own voices. I dunno – I’m babbling here