When I was in South Korea, the most striking thing I found was that there were no homeless people anywhere. I wondered about this during the 10 days I was there. Then I saw my first and only drunk man jesticulating on the streets but even then there was a friend there watching over him. I suppose in this sense I was more impressed with South Korean culture than I have been with any culture I have observed in my life worldwide regarding not being accosted by either crazy people or homeless people or drunk people at all during my time there.
The most trouble I saw in any country was likely in India in 1985 and 1986. Then because the conditions were very different from now, dead bodies often were being run over in streets and being eaten by crows, birds and insects and at that time I also saw thousands of people who were lepers one day begging for alms (Baksheesh) from the visiting religions pilgrims to this holy place in Bihar State one day.
I think the social system of a developed country is usually going to do a better job than where there is no social welfare system at all. Also, I learned specifically the reason why people aren't picked up off streets then when they die is if you do this you become financially responsible completely for anything to do with that person's life there. This was the legal system there. So, if you helped that person by burying them you might wind up going bankrupt for it then in India because of existing mores and laws.
So, hiring someone for a job was more like adopting a child or something like that than anything else in India then in some ways because by hiring them even you sort of become more responsible for them in even doing this.
So, by the time I left India I better understood the mores and the laws in the society than when I arrived. When you have too many people in any society things can get this way when you don't have a social welfare system in place. But, in order to have a social welfare system in place you have to have compulsory public education for this to actually work and this requires the average person being rich enough to pay taxes to create this outcome.
Most children that were not going to school in India I was told was because their parents could not afford shoes and clothes for them at that time. So, at least in 1985 and 1986 between 60% to 80% of all children did not attend school in India at that time. This likely has changed a lot since then because now it is 30 years later.
Later: I left you above with the wrong impression because at least in regard to being safe from physical violence I found India in the 1980s Probably much safer than anywhere I had been from being killed murdered or mugged.
However, there was a reason for this. The main reason is everyone there believed in Karma then pretty much. So, if they killed you someone would be likely to kill them, if they harmed you someone would be likely to harm them. So, you saw really poor people then not resorting to violence even if they were starving because of this belief. So, Physically, I was very safe from violence. However, I wasn't safe from food that might give me giardia or potentially amoebic dysentary, the 2nd being sometimes fatal. So, Unless one was extremely careful what one bought for food, they could be dead or maimed in some way.
Even I could say that giardia maimed me because it caused my hypothyroid condition from what the protozoa did to my intestines which also probably helped cause my getting a heart virus and almost dying from that too.
However, paradoxically I was probably safer than anywhere I had been on the planet from mugging or murder at the very same time. Very unusual place in this way then.
Many westerners said to me that they had a Love-hate relationship with India much like one would have with a lover. The people were so magical and wonderful and so open to talking to us westerners. But, the flipside of this was seeing poor dead people rotting in the streets from too many people for the culture to take care of properly at that time in 1985 and 1986.
4 months doing this in Nepal and India and a few weeks in Thailand before and after that completely forever changed my attitude towards everything.
If someone could survive that culture shock and somehow be okay with it they could benefit tremendously in ways beyond your imagination from an experience like that. But, be very careful of the food you buy or eat too!
Here's another paradox. Going to Thailand, India and Nepal were spiritually powerful beyond anything I ever could have imagined before I went at age 37. By the time I was 37 I had owned several businesses, gone to college, been married two times etc. And one of the reasons I went was because I couldn't deal with my father passing on. This really had thrown me a curve I never would have expected. Though I was grown up at 37 and good and making decisions my father's death cut me in two because I was close to my father and he was a very larger than life spiritual John Wayne kind of person out of the Depression and World war II and all that.
I realized though I was very decisive that my father's death showed me I was still a kid emotionally and from 37 to 50 I really was never okay after my father's death and middle Aged Crazy hit me very very hard.
Finally, after almost dying for 8 months I was told I was going to live after all by my heart specialist and just more amazed than anything else. Then, I was grateful I retired so I didn't die for all my children's sake (my youngest was 2 1/2 then) and glad I toughed it out and didn't just give up and die
like most people did then with a heart virus.
So, the last paradox is that likely my longevity was affected upward by forcing me to have a much more mature and efficient and practical attitude towards life. Because the biggest problem I see with people over 40 or 50 is many of them still think they are 20 to 25 and this sort of thinking can kill a person long before their time. You can still have fun and travel all over the world but if you aren't realistic on any level you are just dead if you are over 50. And the last thing is "Never Panic" unless you need to get out of way of a train or bus and need to move very quickly. Otherwise over 50 it will just give you a heart attack or a stroke and then you are gone.
Here's the last paradox I want to share here. Going to India and Nepal and all the amazing experiences I had there made me think like this: "I won't be surprised now (because I saw so many dead people and people with leprosy suffering badly if I die tomorrow and simultaneously I won't be surprised if I'm still alive 10,000 years into the future and living somewhere like Hawaii or Mt. Shasta or Sedona, Arizona or all three.
All unrealistic ways of looking at life that I learned in the U.S. exploded and went away while I was in India and Nepal. Otherwise culture shock this extreme would have made me completely dysfunctional. However, the opposite happened, I became 100 times more practical and functional because of all the deaths and suffering I saw in real life in thousands of people's lives there. Compassion arose in me instead of anything else because of what I saw then in those 4 months on every level, physical, intuitive, mental and spiritual. I was just never the same again. And this is a very good thing not only for me but for anyone I would meet the rest of my life, whether that is a day or 10,000 years. So, I guess I had a Buddha experience if you know what I mean.
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