Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Tested

A furiously competitive soul lives in some of us but perhaps not in all.

For the competitors, a challenge must be faced perhaps as a test of worth, of fortitude; the challenge is there to confront and overcome. A competitor will have goals like 'winning' and 'coming out ahead'.

There are good and not good results of competition.  Cooperation, perseverance, courage, and camaraderie; those are all good. Self-esteem based on superiority, losers as less worthy, humiliation, arrogance, and hubris; each is destructive to character in the competitor and will affect their life to the end.

Challenges for the individual span both physical and intellectual tasks.  Even test taking.

IQ scores vary by motivation as much as by education.  Some folks care less what the results of a test might be or what others might think of the results.  Others care more.

Often in the social and political world, the challenge is to outmaneuver your opponent, to persuade or manipulate, to forcefully justify for the sake of the win.

Understanding this about the competitive nature is essential when it comes to our goals. Competing to win is natural, but it can be counter-productive.

The position-seekers compete with the solution-seekers
The conservatives compete with the liberals.
The same-ers compete with the change-ers.
The result is polarization and impediment to improvement.

The rich compete with the non-rich.
The result is inequality, oppression, and deprivation.

The 'natural' process of the biosphere is competition for resources and survival.  We hope for better in ourselves.  We hope that the human realm might display a measure of nobility, of understanding, and of common good for all.  There's room for gentleness, objectivity, openness, and compassion, is there not?

Meaningful life is not a competition, but it is a noble goal.  Competition will not take us there.

Competition -- do my goals (and actions) include the good of others, or is staying on top enough in itself?  Do the kids understand?

Update 15AUG; Donald Trump, "We will always come out on top."  That's his forecast for international relations if he is elected president.  It's not a new plan.