Competition is one of the driving forces behind the advancement of humanity. I can just imagine our Stone-Age ancestors:
“If I don’t club that sabre-toothed cat better than Grot, then Grunta won’t let me hit.” Or maybe something like that. It kind of inspires that “improve or perish” impulse within us, and without it we would eventually stagnate and perish, or get pushed aside by someone that WAS more inspired to compete. It’s what happened to ancient Egyptian society, who went from being the dominant world power, to a vassal state, to an ‘also-ran’ culture. Thus, it’s seems all the more confusing when I say I think competition is a problem in society today.
The problem in this case isn’t so much the what as it is the why. While I believe in the social power of competition, and have often found my own successes sourced in competition, the issue is whether the competition is for purpose of advancement or self-aggrandizement. I honestly think that “loathe” is a more accurate term when it comes to how I feel on the “one-upsmanship” nature of competition I see prevalent today. It isn’t for the purpose of pushing yourself to your limits, making yourself the best you can be. No, it seems purely designed for perceptive elevation, i.e. to make someone else feel lower than you. I blame the media mostly, with their claims to be able to take any man’s girl, kill him and get away with it, and then say you’re less of a man for having to work daily while they barely do anything and make it rain like it’s hurricane season. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make anyone better. It just enforces the need to have, not the need to earn. Maybe I’m just projecting, but I think it just magnifies the zero-sum aspect, making someone feel lower in order to make yourself feel better, but no one has actually moved. We’ve got to get to the point where competition inspires us to ALL win, even if only one person get’s the prize.