People give up bread for lent or fast for Ramadan. In that spirit I have decided to give up competitive thought, word and deed for the rest of the voting season. This includes competing with myself.To give up something that is so entrenched in our culture will be a challenge so I have given myself something to shift into every time I bust myself in a competitive mode. I will shift into community minded thought.
compete –strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.
community – a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
There is a flag right off the bat, ‘sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals’. To think with a mind towards community I have to seek what I have in common with others not what I have that is different.
What are the elements of competing that we have in our culture? Well we have testing, sports, games, gambling, being right, worshipping hero’s, masking insecurity by putting others down , market place competition, weighing and measure ourself and others against a mythical perfection, dieting, exercising and that big Magilla competing for attention – in families, the arts, business, charities, conversations, ideas, religions, politics, friendships, body image, status. Our own ideas competing for attention within us.
Is competing ‘just how things are’, is it the truth of human nature? I don’t think so. It feels like a runaway cultural meme. We have downloaded Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ idea for so long that his ideas about altruism and survival can’t find a root.
So I will be scanning myself to see how I come together with others and with my smaller community of me, myself and I with it’s dueling banjo soundtrack.
With my vote I want to reflect what is best for community not competition so while the madness continues I will clean my own house.
Paul Kelman said:
Nicely written, Wendle. To not compete, even with oneself is a hard thing to do or even realize on a day to day basis. I think we are hardwired to compete to some extent within the framework of the survival instinct. What Darwin actually said was that those who are quickest to adapt are the fittest to survive. In other words with change being the constant adaptation is the key to survival in any specie.
The assumption being that as a group a specie must cooperate in order to collectively survive whatever form of change it faces. Competition then can also be a community of us vs. them but within a common framework, ie. Sports. Hockey players and the like as well as athletes of all types respect one another for their skills and ability and are often friends in competition.
The problem I see is when a value is placed on that competition which separates two sides. The value can be monetary, philosophical, religious belief, political ideology, position, physical territory or power.
People often refer to Life as a Game which as exampled above then becomes more than win or lose but a “winner take all”, in which annihilation becomes the philosophy of conquest. A quaint notion from more barbaric times that humankind has not yet outgrown. War is the ultimate expression of that barbarism.
One day War will be obsolete when it is more profitable to not wage it. In the meantime our goal and priority must be to come together as a world community to address the immediate danger of global warming which if we fail to adapt together to find and implement a real world set of solutions Science tells us that it not only all species that face extinction but the living Earth itself.
Perhaps the best road to take is not to alienate people by blaming ourselves and others for inaction but rather to help educate people about the true danger we face. But I think that ‘s been tried and interfered with by other vested interests trying to delay the inevitable for the sake of maximum profit.
I agree with the premise of your recent blog as an exercise in the zen of selflessness and the virtue of service and leading by example is the way to go. Someone like Jane Goodall epitomizes what you are proposing. In the past decades she has accomplished so much. I think however there is a certain level of militancy to being an advocate for change that is needed. I think it is a “stick to your guns”, “straight shootin”, uncompromising from the hip adherence powers that energy based on a vision of compassion.
We are at a critical juncture of our evolution as a specie. It is a revolution of the evolution of consciousness that is at stake and which it seems is our only hope. A leap needs to take place, at odds with with the slow pace of change that is the character of humankind’s history.
Paul, thanks so much for your lovely thoughts that encompass so many ideas worth thinking about. Talking of Darwin I was referring to “Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals” where he speaks of sympathy and
compassion. I wonder if Jane Goodall has weighed in on this issue, I always think of her sitting in the grass
communing with wild gorillas. A remarkable person.
All I have is the way I roll through each day and so far am enjoying the process. A few Gremlins grumbling, to be sure.