And then there are paradigmatic differences. People here (at least in Pará) understand the world differently. Some viewpoints are enlightening, some curious, some based on claims I have no basis for judging, and some are simply different. But there are some that seem flat wrong. Certainly in this point in our relationship, I have hugely more to learn from Brazil than it does from me... but sometimes I can't help soapboxing. It may be just cultural differences, but these are big enough differences for me to see beyond. I've heard from quite different sources, so I suspect they're widespread.
- "Brazil (and particularly the north) has the greatest share of natural resources in the world, so it's eventual success is natural."
- This belief holds that Brazil's poverty is to be alleviated by cutting down the rainforest, and the resulting success ought to topple the unnatural economic rule of more urbanized south. Maybe in theory, but in practice, exploitable resources, especially poorly managed ones (and only Norway, to my knowledge, manages theirs well) are the surest path to a corrupt government and an impoverished populace. Resources are like shit to capitalist flies. Besides, exploiting resources is the worst way to make wealth today: its ineffective, damaging, and out-dated.
- "Our combination of black, yellow, and white didn't work out in many ways, particularly for modern democracy and consideration for others."
- Brazil has a vibrant culture, which draws remarkably well on its integrated European, Africa, and Indigenous backgrounds. But people look at the rampant two-faced populism in politics and the large-scale effects of each-for-his-own-clanism and blame their genes. It's time to wake up from history. Even if our culture and our genes make us, so do our choices, and I've seen every seed of a more enlightened deep-democracy growing here, in some of the most fertile soil in the world. Creating our culture is our full-time job, and sometimes its hard work, but it may be our sole god-given right and duty.
- "The poor people here are very simple."
- In my experience, no lack of education, wealth, or social status makes you less cognoscente of the complexities of being. Interestingly, it's easier to recognize an uneducated person in portuguese, because for every right way to do something, there are two wrong but colloquially conventional ways. Like substituting "a gente" (the people) in for "us", and then just using the third-person form. Or dropping the future tense, except by saying somebody "is going to do" something. But colloquialism doesn't beget simplicity, it's just the counterpart of elitism.
- "Brazil might be moving in the right direction, but it will take a hundred years to cleanse the country of corruption and raise its populace out of abject poverty."
- Says who? Whistle-blowing is approaching a tipping point here.
Brazil went from a military dictatorship to one of the most vibrant democracies in the world in 30 years. In another 30, its GDP will pass the US's. At the rate life-changing technology is being developed, and the rate at which Brazil is adopting it, I give it 20 years to rival Europe in mean standard of living.
- "Jealousy is an important part of love."
- I could write a book on the problems in Brazilian relationships. A classic Brazilian couple does everything together; the real couple does most, but the guy can hang out with his friends but will get mad if the girl does the same. Guys in Brazilian typically don't know how to cook; their mother cooks for them until their girlfriend takes over. Love is, apparently, wanting your partner to not have any fun without you there, and intentionally crippling yourself to ensure it. But Jealousy is just Fear's child from her first marriage to Desire. If Desire could dump her, why can't Love?