Thanks to the experts we know why people behave this way, but we still wonder about the possibilities we could achieve if we chose to not be helpless. The first step is to imagine not being helpless, sort of roll around in it and just feel good.
The first obstacle that must be examined is our shared indifference to making things better. We would have to promote candor on this subject so that we could talk about it. How long might it take to make a real difference?
The resident expert on how people manage to make other people submissive and dependent without appearing to do so is Chris Argyris, who lived to be 90. He is the author of Overcoming Organizational Defenses, Facilitating Organizational Learning.
He explained how people develop strategies for self-protection and then conceal those strategies. It is a classic “Who, me?” arrangement, and it happens in most settings.
Once we have opened the door to improvement the first thing I would fix is our national school system. We could modernize it to make good use of the wonderful resources that did not exist when I was in the sixth grade. We could make it more permeable so that qualified people could participate in teaching without giving up their day job. We would make college affordable, maybe even free.
I invite readers to nominate a category you would change if change were permitted.