- Red Beard - To heal people you must put them first before you.
- Yojimbo - Naive interventionism
- The Seventh Seal - What is life and death but inevitable?
- Seven Samurai - The place and order of everything in society. Unrealistic to expect gratitude from one another.
These films remind that death is inevitable, and expecting external things (gratitude, fairness) is not a wise way to live. Live in accordance with the things within your control. Wants to help people? Do it for them (because it is right), not for yourself.
America is a great system of capitalism - and capitalism teaches us: Channel your inner greed, your inner desire to enrich yourself by making society better (compete with the market and innovate/invent).
This castrates us when it comes to values that have traditionally served mankind for years: Honesty, Integrity, Honor, Duty, Responsibility, and Accountability.
Can my fellow Americans even define the word “honor” without looking it up in the dictionary?
In other parts of the world, outside of the West (USA & Europe), there are still people living with such values. Those parts are seldom trodden by traveling Americans, and when encountered, leave Americans bewildered and confused. Like the scene in Westworld - “Doesn’t look like anything to me...”, acts of duty, and acts of honor don’t register - they just look illogical and stupid from the Western perspective.
I grew up in the American school system - and I remember how distinctly alien I felt with my values (instilled by my family) compared to my peers.
Friends betraying friends. People give their word and have no consequences for breaking it. My grandfather taught me: If I give my word that I’ll hit my head against the wall 100 times, then I better hit my head 100 times. My word has consequences. In Mandarin there are two phrases, 一言九鼎 and 一字千钧, both mean ‘one word is worth an enormous amount ‘.
It took me a long time to stop expecting integrity and accountability from those operating from an entirely different value set. I’ve still not gotten over it emotionally. But it’s a different world, with different rules.
Time will tell if these values will further prosperity, or decline, or possibly neither.