On Competition

edit: not relevant to the rant house - ben

I believe competition is unnatural. Competition is an act of self-protection. I believe when we can protect ourselves, we should reach out to others.

The reason kids compete with one another is because they are protecting themselves against others. But it is not selfish, because if they don’t protect themselves, then they are committing suicide.

What is your view on competition?

Competing is natural.

Sometimes you compete for reasons beyond self-protection, such as self-proliferation/dissemination. I suppose you could see that as an aggressive defensive maneuver. Perhaps you compete for virtue-protection or something of that matter.

I do feel that we should help others so that we may help ourselves, but you must sharpen your own wits before you move on to this stage or risk building upon shaky ground. Of course, no ground lacks a vibration of some sort, but preparation should still be valued as a positive aspect of selfishness, and implemented in one’s life.

[ self - ish ]

Logically, ‘selfish’ is a neutral adjective.

Just because competition is natural for us as humans does not mean that harmony is not a natural want for us as well.

Human progression is catalyzed by competition. It is neccessary.

i-zachariah.

I think self-proliferation is an act of self-protection. Because you are protecting your line.

The central issue I am concerned with is whether competition should be used as a sword or a shield?
Competition is neccessary because it a shield for basic self-protection. Self-protection include your ‘private’ property essential for survival. By that, I do not mean big mansions.

Also, the point on helping others as a means of helping oneself is i believe mistaken.

  1. Helping others, in order that others become friendly towards me.
    Instead, we should
  2. Help others, but expect basic return, like respect. And any good, helping other may bring should be treated as an unexpected by-product.

Human progression is not driven by the desire to beat someone else. Scientists are not doing research in order to win the nobel prize. They do research because of their intrisinc love for science.
Musicians do not play music in order to make money. They play music for the love of music.
I believe, for true progression. One should treat things like science and music, not as means by which to achieve certain ends, rather as ends in themselves.

I would argue that it must be used as both. Balance is my ideal.

These seem to be the same concept.

I am consciously aware that a good-natured persona will attract good-natured interaction with others, for the most part. I pursue this because I enjoy the warmth, patience, and other characteristics of ‘nice’ people. How can I forget that kindness reflected back from my kindness is an ‘expected by-product’?

Helping people should naturally gain you respect from those helped. The by-product should be expected. How does one go about de-membering this accumulated knowledge of estimation?

Are we talking human progression from a societal standpoint or individual progression?

What made them choose a scientific profession? They first realized that they needed a profession to earn enough wealth for survival. Then they decided what they could do for money that they enjoyed. Then competition ensued so as to be able to attend the best university that they could possibly attend.

Survival calls for competition
Competition leads to money.
Money leads to security.
Security allows for less competition.
Less competition leads to more free-time.
Free-time leads to human expression beyond survival.
Competition, Money, and Creativity lead to progression.

I agree with your ideal.

In summary, I will compete with myself to progress. When I play music I am competing with my lack of ability so as to overcome it. This enables me to enjoy the art of music more completely and also leads to new aural territory.

If you’re living, you’re competing.

Pinnacle of Reason: What do you think human progression is?

"These seem to be the same concept. "
I think the concepts I mentioned are different, please refer to Kant’s means ends theory. By your argument, we should be actively using other people, which Kant disagrees.

I am just going to touch on the topic of human progression, because we are discussing competition. Society can not progress without progression from the individual.

“They first realized that they needed a profession to earn enough wealth for survival.” This goes back to your definition of survival, i hope survival does not include consuming lobsters for dinner. I agree that people need to pursue a profession that will enables them to stay alive. But academics are not wealthy. If they want money they should have been in business.

“Then they decided what they could do for money that they enjoyed.” Scientists are not concerned with becoming millionaires. The love for their profession is enough reward on its own.

“money lead to security” if so, then why are rich people so worried.

At this point, I want to apologise for not explained myself properly.
For me, competition happens when one person deliberately engage in conflicts with another person in order to become the winner.
example, X and Y are two math students. The reason X studies hard for the math exam is because X wants to beat Y, not because X likes what he’s doing. X wants to be the winner and Y has similar aspirations. In that situation, they are competing.
However,
X and Y are two math students. The reason X studies hard is because X loves what he’s studying. It’s like a person’s love for tasty food. In this case, they are not competiting.

To me, personally, competition happens when people do things for the wrong reason. Reasoning is important. Because in murder and man-slaughter, someone is killed. But it is the reasoning that seperates murder and man-slaughter.
[/quote]

"These seem to be the same concept. "
I think the concepts I mentioned are different, please refer to Kant’s means ends theory. By your argument, we should be actively using other people, which Kant disagrees.

I am just going to touch on the topic of human progression, because we are discussing competition. Society can not progress without progression from the individual.

“They first realized that they needed a profession to earn enough wealth for survival.” This goes back to your definition of survival, i hope survival does not include consuming lobsters for dinner. I agree that people need to pursue a profession that will enables them to stay alive. But academics are not wealthy. If they want money they should have been in business.

“Then they decided what they could do for money that they enjoyed.” Scientists are not concerned with becoming millionaires. The love for their profession is enough reward on its own.

“money lead to security” if so, then why are rich people so worried.

At this point, I want to apologise for not explained myself properly.
For me, competition happens when one person deliberately engage in conflicts with another person in order to become the winner.
example, X and Y are two math students. The reason X studies hard for the math exam is because X wants to beat Y, not because X likes what he’s doing. X wants to be the winner and Y has similar aspirations. In that situation, they are competing.
However,
X and Y are two math students. The reason X studies hard is because X loves what he’s studying. It’s like a person’s love for tasty food. In this case, they are not competiting.

To me, personally, competition happens when people do things for the wrong reason. Reasoning is important. Because in murder and man-slaughter, someone is killed. But it is the reasoning that seperates murder and man-slaughter.

Sorry, I forgot to mention.

“In summary, I will compete with myself to progress.”

You made a good point. But I think what you mentioned has something to do a person’s sense self-inadequacy. As I said in my very first post “Competition is an act of self-protection”. What you mentioned is your own personal inadquacy, you are competing to gain self-protection since you want to protect yourself from inadequacy.

When you have become perfect, will you still perform acts of self-protection? I am not mentioning the real world here, merely a philosophical concept.

You have made your points clear, thank you.

I still feel that people are using one another without being consciously aware of it. Take for example, the Priest, who uses his congregation for spiritual learning, but not to take advantage of them. He offers something to them, but is also receiving something back. Is he using this or not? Wouldn’t it be a mistake to not use this feedback, energy, wisdom, or what have you?

I do not advocate ‘abuse’ which is vastly different than use.

I used my mother for food and security as a child. Not simply for the love of my mother, but the need of my mother. I didn’t abuse her because she was a source of protection and sustenance, not because I appreciated her in some loving manner. I couldn’t yet comprehend the grandiose idea of love that we develop as we grow. We could discuss the nature of love if you wanted… Could get lengthy though.

You’ve got me wondering if I am even competing against myself. Doesn’t it take two to compete? Am I competiting against my human nature, as a spiritual being? Am I competiting against my brain, as my soul?

As for monetarily rich people being worried, is that not a gross assumption? For the most part I agree, but I’m wary of generalizations. I understand what you’re saying by this. They are used to having the power of money and worry about losing their clout. They then protect what they have accumulated through whatever means they deem moral and neccessary. A philanthropist has competed to the point where they are able to give back. This is where I see selfishness as a good quality even in the microcosmic.

I apply selfishness to improve myself, improve myself to improve society, improve society to improve the world, improve the world to improve my relationship with a higher power, and improve my relationship with a higher power to improve the relationship I have with myself, ad infinitum.

How many active scientists would there be if we didn’t value them and in turn reward them for their accomplishments? A nation’s survival spurs this value of the scientist. A nation’s competitive nature with rising and sometimes encroaching populations spurs along progression and value of certain sciences. Take, for example, the Manhattan Project. One’s love for science ultimately left cities in ruins.

Perhaps competition is the wrong reason, but it seems to be one of the most difficult aspects of human nature to snuff. It is instinct. It has purpose. As our species competed, so we progressed. The values intrinsic in American Society can be loved, because we have competed enough to make it this way. We are lucky to be able to focus past competition in times of peace.

Are we in an act of appreciating philosophy or competing over beliefs?

I enjoy looking at this subject through your viewpoint and hope you allow me another glimpse.

iZach[/b]

Very interesting.

I suppose I wouldn’t have a care for self-protection. Perfection seems to be unity with “God”. Fear disperses and love infuses. No need for the gritty earthly emotions when I have clear crystalline love and beauty. Of course, this is speculation beyond the real world as well.

As a human incapable of perfection during this Earthly existence, I feel that I will continue to perform acts of self-protection when I feel that my self is in allignment with a greater purpose.

Selfishness for Unity.

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hehe.

I understand that “people are using one another without being consciously aware of it.” Everyone is using one another to some degree. I am using the keyboard to type. Now, we are getting on a discussion on use. I would like to talk about ‘duty’. Personally, I help people not because I expect a return, but because I believe it is my duty to do so. From the ‘duty’ perspective, I am not using them.

And you are not using your mother, because I believe a mother has a ‘duty’ to look after you.

On rich people’s worry, please try this book. Status Anxiety by Alain De Botton. He says happiness doesn’t not increase porportionally with wealth. To be happy, we need 1.friends, 2.a well examined life (philospher’s life), 3. respect.
To talk about rich people, we need a definition on rich. Because someone is only rich by comparison, an issue also addressed in his book.

Let’s not talk about selfishness for the moment.

Yes, scientists are also human. They also need the above 3 factors mentioned.

I knew you’ll raise this point sooner or latter. No, I am not competing with you. I thought of the refutation last night :slight_smile:
X is taller than Y. They can not possibly ‘compete’ to see who’s taller. Because the fact is unchangable. When they do ‘compete’, they are simply engaging in an act of comparison.
Similarly, when we put forward our view points. One of us, from the beginning is holding the correct point. Through argument, we discover we have essentially the same belief, so no one is taller. When I put forward my view points, I do not expect, nor want to win. Just comparision.
When the outcome is known, people can not possibly compete.
btw. I think the word competition has become incredibly vague through our arguments.

I agree, that we humans can not become perfect. So unfortunately we have to struggle while on this planet.

Competition is neccessary while on this planet, but the action becomes redundant when we reach perfection.

If you agree with my last point that competition is redundant at perfection. Sounds like the limit theory. As x approaches infinity, y becomes 1.

Then we need to argue what is a healthy level of competition. Or maybe we should invent another word.

I believe I’m on the same page with you on Duty.

I enjoy performing acts of goodness. Goodness ultimately leads to good feelings.

When I analyze an exchange of pleasantries in an objective manner, I see both people receiving benefits. Is there such a thing as an equal give and take in a conversation? Surely one does not always leave as the better. That, I believe, is the nature of responsibility and love (what we may call “Duty”). For the sake of man.

If one is aware that they can give more to a shared event/discussion/situation and refuses to offer it, I believe that would be an unnecessary act of competition. It would be detrimental to both parties involved. Offering yourself freely and honestly in a discussion can only lead to good things. Connectedness, relation, humility, etc…

I feel that you’re correct concerning my Mother and her relationship to me as an infant. She was more conscious or aware of her duty to me than myself aware of my need of her. My actions were pure instinct (i.e. the rooting reflex), I assume since I cannot remember it.

I agree that friends, the examined life, and respect are responsible for the bulk of our happiness.

I feel we do need to discover a new word for the concept we are associating with competition. Healthy competion is a good start.

I suppose it’s not others that we ever really compete with. We are responsible for our own feelings. We are responsible for constructing a philosophy so as to ride out the storm (refer to the word’s of Kao Feng). We seem to be competing with our own foolhardy insolence. As I hinted at earlier, the spirit is engaged in a battle with this body of instinct that we are enslaved by or was given as a gift (depends on how your day went). Our way of life must be in alignment with our conscience for us to be at peace. That, and not anyone else’s opinion, matters in the trial of an examined life.

So, do we need a new word for competition, or do we need to discover more about the nature of competition, first?

What is the step beyond competition? Is it not still competition, but competition applied in other areas? Take for example, new hybrid, electric, and solar powered electronics and cars. Competition has led to a victory. Not victory over one another, but victory for the world.

I paraphrase a portion of a Native American prayer:
I seek not to be greater than my brother, but to defeat my greatest enemy, myself.

Here is an excerpt from some of my personal thoughts on competition:
I have a difficult time not feeling like a failure when I hear of another’s accomplishments, especially those that are close to me. I want to snuff the desire to be better than my brothers and sisters. My greatest enemy is myself. I am the one in charge of my feelings. I am the captain of my mind. It’s my responsibility to navigate through the storm that surrounds me to find the island of comfort that is the little piece of perfect that God offers us. The only enemy that I can afford to focus on is the Devil, in all his shapes and forms. If I waste my time and energy worrying about another’s progress and it’s relation to mine, then my path will continue to lead towards painful dead ends. The only thing I want in life is to feel God’s smile; Let the warmth of His embrace take away my loneliness, let His soft voice lull me back into the dream of life, let His eyes reveal the truth and relieve me of my insanity. With His strength, I will subdue these demons that feast on my soul and I will flow forward on the river of time with His favor.

I am a small stream fed by the melting snow of His mountain. With His strength, I may live as the mighty river; carrying nourishment to lands who have forgotten His name.

Thanks for your posts, PoR.

iZach

“What is the step beyond competition?”

i think after we are perfect, there is no need for competition. Just as there is no infinity + 1.
All the material inventions you mentioned like solar cars, are not really relevant.
You are addressing the supply side of the issue. Instead we should address the causes of our own demand.

if you are interested, please read Statux Anxiety by Alain De Botton. He’s a brilliant author. and try my university website

arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/
this was writting by one of my lecturer. I agree with his ideas.