a reply to: YouSir
Competition is actually a good thing, as long as it is taken in the proper context. I have competed all my life. I competed against other students in
college, I competed against other designers when I ran my design firm, and I competed back in the old hot-rodding days to see who had the fastest
wheels and the ability to handle them. Never during any of those competitions did I want to harm my competitors in any way.
I compete with my views and writing ability on ATS every day. That doesn't mean I take any sort of delight in making others lose; it means I want to
test my abilities and strengthen them. There is little more exhilarating to me than to test my logic against another's, each of us searching for that
one little flaw in the other's logical premise. Sometimes I find their flaw first; sometimes they find mine. Sometimes I "win," sometimes they "win."
But I consider it a win for both of us, because we both walk away better than we were before.
I have a friend who I play chess with regularly. He is another engineer who I helped through school, and we collaborate frequently on projects. I
taught him to play chess, and now he beats me more than I'd like. After every game, we shake hands... neither of us really lost, because we both walk
away better at chess then we were at the start of the game. Sure, there's some good-natured ribbing going on afterward, but it's never serious. I
still help him out, teaching him how things really work and helping him hone his skills. Perhaps one day he will be a better engineer than I am; if
that happens, I will take no offense, because I still get better by helping him improve even if he goes beyond my abilities.
I'm going to tell a tale I rarely tell, because it is somewhat embarrassing... it happened in my early youth, around the 3rd or 4th grade if I
remember correctly. I was known as a "straight-A" student back then... my idea of a poor test score was an 85. It came easily for me. I rarely studied
at home; I read because I enjoyed it. I wanted to know why... why is the sky blue, why is grass green, why do things always fall down? I was in all
the offered advanced classes, and was one of the first accepted into the phonetics class... the latest and most advanced class this little school
Then the day of that test came. I looked on it the same as always... just a test, no big deal, but for some reason I wasn't sure of the answers this
time. When I got the score back, it was, I believe, in the 40s. I had failed! I had literally failed the class! My world was shattered... those who
used to make fun of me because I liked learning had outperformed me! I broke down, right in the middle of class, and became so despondent that my
parents had to be called.
I had never failed before, at least not to that extent.
But that taught me something extremely vital: success is never a guarantee. There is always someone better at any given subject. There is always the
chance one will lose in any competition. True success comes only by accepting this and driving oneself to be better than before, always moving
forward, always gaining ground. It comes not from trickery or beating down one's opponent.
I think far too many have never had that learning experience.
Without understanding what success is, that success is about always improving and has nothing to do with one's opponent, people tend to associate
winning or losing with subjugation. The "top dog" always wins, while the others lose and are thus subject to the power of that "top dog." Look at how
society has changed for our children: they are raised more often than not in an environment where everything is theirs for the asking. Those they are
subject to, their parents, provide for their needs. Then they meet the real world, and encounter real competition for the first time. Suddenly, those
who are better than them are no longer providers, but are seen as takers and superior beings who no longer feel a need to provide. So people turn to
trickery and vengeful tactics to "win" at any cost... they know nothing else.
The sad fact is that as soon as those tactics are employed, they truly lose. They lose the drive and opportunity to become better and grow.
Socialism breeds in this environment. Socialism is not about equality or some other such noble notion. It is about forcing those to whom one is
subject to provide for them instead of letting people provide for themselves. It is a lie that builds on the success of limited socialist applications
(highways, public schools, etc.) to claim that only by subjugating others through the power of arms can one be truly free. That is the opposite of the
truth; true freedom includes the freedom to "lose" by necessity. Without the freedom to "lose," there is no freedom to win. I view the recent
socialist pushes in politics as verification of my position... "give us limited success rather than the chance to succeed fully, in return for our
subjugation." Of course those who truly desire to subjugate others will be more than happy to accommodate, and will promise the moon and stars for the
I get frustrated on here at times, I know. That frustration is typically when my opponent tries to resort to that trickery and beratement, not because
I think I might "lose"... that is never a concern because I understand I win even if I come in second place. No, it's because they have already lost
and don't understand it. By losing so willingly, they actually rob me of the chance to improve as they do themselves.
So we're back to subjugation. "Win" at any cost, even if means losing, because otherwise one might lose the chance to subjugate others and be