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Surprising Look at Competitiveness as a Primitive Part of Our Nature

Val has evolved his own model of a happy and out-of-box processing of the reality with different techniques and routinized daily practices.

downside-of-competitive-mentality

Competitiveness only comes with insecurity.

-- Lara Pulver

Yes, It's Primitive, It's Primordial, It's Animalistic

Maybe the best way to approach the topic of competitiveness would be by first defining its origin in our human nature.

A surprise may be inevitable, because competitiveness is not really a gem in our mental makeup. But, let us back up just a little, by clarifying one simple fact about our nature, which is evolutionally still partially animalistic.

Here we are talking about those lower, primitive -- and those higher, more advanced and typically human portions of our brain. In the dynamism of what's going on within our skull, those two parts are constantly interacting.

Actually so much so that many of our cherished and dignified personality traits are merely a refinement of those lower, animalistic ones.

Here are few examples, and their list will be finalized with our competitiveness, for what it truly is.

Like, "love", no matter how divine it may have been refined in our emotional repertoire, is not any different than one of a dog, or any other animal for that matter. Our higher brain, due to its complexity, is merely giving it its own version, or derivative, if you will. Something like dancing around the fire in jungle evolving into ballet.

"Patriotism" is an upgraded animalistic territoriality, a protecting urge for a living habitat that is sustaining us, along with all others "like us" contributing to our survival one way or another. Territoriality is equally seen with animals, just not given such a dignified translation.

"Social ambition" is but a striving for a status of an alpha-in-the-pack. Think of politicians and other leaders -- or think about wolves and the social hierarchy in their pack.

"Altruism" is seen in its own raw form at all herding animals, in some expressed more or less. Like elephants and monkeys are especially known for caring for their own.

While there are others, here we come to "competitiveness", which is -- believe it or not -- merely an upgraded and socially accepted form of animalistic arrogance. From innocent family competitive games, all the way to "necessary military interventions" -- at its core it's just the old good arrogance, a need to overpower.

Ever heard a tiny dog of any kind howling at the sound of a police siren? No matter how comical the truth about it may be -- but it's the wolf's genes in that little mut responding to it.

All in all, we truly are -- to some different degrees -- still living by the law of the jungle.

downside-of-competitive-mentality

There's a part of bohemia I love. The lack of prejudice, the lack of aggression. I love the lack, for the most part, of competitiveness. It's more peaceful.

-- Peter Mullan

Marital Feud

One honest look at the global affairs can't but tell us how, for all that highly advertised cultural values, we are far from living in a coexistence marked by love, friendliness, cooperation, mutual support -- but rather in a fashion brutally defined as "dog-eat-dog".

At every level, from the lowest social institution -- marriage -- up to friends, sportsmen, corporations, religions, economies, militaries, political parties...sorry if I am missing any -- we are witnessing a dynamic, if not rather a fierce competition going on.

And we are proud of being like that.

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To pick out marital competitiveness from that happy mass of competitors, we often see them struggling for an upper hand, in matters of household maintenance, important decisions about kids, and often just in clashes of personal tastes.

Winning and losing is an important concept in our way of life indeed,

Then it may also stretch over their respective families -- like, whose family is more helpful, more educated, successful; but also more meddling, boring, imposing, and in any other way a pain-in-the-ass.

However, one of the ugliest features in all that, is the practice of bribing the kids to take their side in their marital feud, while criticizing or ridiculing the "shortcomings" of the other parent.

downside-of-competitive-mentality

Take someone who doesn't keep score, who's not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing, who has not the slightest interest even in his own personality: he is free.

-- Rumi Jalalu 'l - Din

Friends Who Are Not That

Let's see all relationships in a proper perspective here.

Amygdala, that brain site of our very-much-animalistic survival instinct, is easily overriding our love for our life partner, simply because it's biologically stronger.

And we are totally unaware of its constant checking out "our place in the relationship". So that those folks whose mentality leans toward insecurity, usually have a hyperactive amygdala, pushing them into a totally unconscious need to compete with their partner.

Then, of course, we are not stopping at spouses, but it further covers all other interactions with people -- notably friends.

Friends can be competitive to a disgusting intensity. There are "friendships" that virtually exist only for this very purpose -- to use each other as a sparring partner in the winning game. With a hypocritical sugarcoating on its surface, one will take a holiday if another just came back with all those nauseating photos of their good times spent there.

One will rush to buy a new wall unit if the other is buying a new dining room set.

And then it also involves kids' success in school, in sports, in piano lessons, starting with how physically they are "better" than others' kids, and so on.

downside-of-competitive-mentality

Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.

J. Krishnamurti

Of Sports and Billionaires

Competitive sports are probably the most prominent example of competitiveness -- well, maybe sharing the first place with politics.

Sports fans will never agree with me that there is something "primitive", let alone animalistic" about their passion. It's fine with me, I am not competing with their take on it, just expressing my own and letting them believe whatever they please.

While not all sports are giving my argument some weight like contact sports -- notably those involving mano-a-mano fights -- others, all the way to chess games have that same primitivistic urge stemming from amygdala -- to win, to overpower, to be better.

Jealousy is just another psychological outlet of that same insecurity impulse stemming from an overactive amygdala.

Hoarding means of survival, like in financial super achieving is merely a derivative of primitive and irrational fear that means of survival might go scarce. Have you ever seen a physically and mentally glowing billionaire? Many look downright sick, and it's stemming from that tormenting fear that their competitors might be winning. Market is a battlefield to them, and they are never leaving it, like some obsessed financial gladiators.

downside-of-competitive-mentality

Insecure people only eclipse your sun because they are jealous of your daylight and tired of their dark, starless nights.

-- Shannon L. Alder

Manipulators -- Undisputed Champions on Earth

Saving the best for the last, here we are facing probably the ugliest form of competition -- politics -- and what makes it ugliest is the fact that the most of the world populace are at the mercy of their pervert sense of power.

At the face value it may look totally ridiculous that only a handful is in power of billions, but power of police is not that most prominent aspect of their enormous superiority.

It's their suggestive, brainwashing power that does it all -- having turned those billions into impressionable sheeples. Even succeeded to make them weaker by splitting their unity into political camps.

Religion did another aspect of that divide, weakening people's spirit with fear of evil and fear of god, and fear of their sinfulness.

Medico-pharmaceutical establishment further weakened human spirit with fear of anything from a fart to a sneeze to a passing condition that body could perfectly take care of, without doctors and their magic potions destroying their liver.

Needless to round it up with such a conclusion, but it's the authorities in a constant competition with the masses.

Even nutritional supplements industry has noticed how easy it is to win over scared masses -- so they introduced their own fearmongering -- with air pollution, soil-pollution, water-pollution, electronic pollution, noise pollution, processed foods pollution, pharmaceuticals pollution...

So there we go collecting vitamin bottles in our medicine chest, side by side with Tylenol, Preparation-H, inhalers...you name it.

Some poor bastards we are -- somehow, as if by magic, we, humans, managed to outlive mighty dinosaurs and an untold unfavorable blows by mother nature -- but now. here we are, losing the game in competition with some highly suggestive manipulators.

Good for us.

downside-of-competitive-mentality

If you want to find the real competitors just look in the mirror. After awhile you'll see your rivals scrambling for second place.

-- Criss Jam

Epilog

Now, what about me and my amygdala? Am I competitive too? After all, I am a human, not a robot, and as such I should have this need to win as well.

O.K., yes, I am competitive too.

I have this strong urge to compete with the yesteryears-me, and that's where I am placing all that "need to be better than...". That is not to say that I am in any way putting down those previous versions of me, as if "bad and crying for an improvement".

The focus in all that is not in "running away from" -- but "welcoming the new", while leaving my previous developmental stages behind where they belong, together with toilet training, and anything else that has no say in my present or future model of psycho-physical functioning.

With that love and acceptance that we give to kids who "don't know any better", I am accepting and loving the past-me. It's that feeling that I owe it to that baby who I used to be, to advance myself beyond a senseless repetition.

So, that's what my competitiveness is all about.

And yes, I am not a sports fan.

I just don't see it as "my" victory--or--loss, the way that my favorite team would be doing. I don't perceive myself as either better or worse human being than anybody else on this planet.

We are all just who we are, not in a relation to anybody else.

© 2022 Val Karas

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