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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

Something’s been on my mind lately about competition and how we evolve due to it.  I think about YouTube and 3 million TV channels and the massive increase of awareness of other people’s “best” and how it would make people better.

In my opinion, competition brings out the best.  You get five kids in the schoolyard doing some sport, and they’re each trying to be the best out of the five.  When the scope only includes that schoolyard, or a small city, or a tribe, people who would be considered “legends” by those around them might not even compare to the “legend” from a different city or tribe who had inherently better athletes.

But now the scope is huge.  And growing.  Let’s say I a kid was top trumpet in 9th grade, but the band only had 17 members.  Then I the kid moves to a band with 200+ members.  The top trumpet there was Louis Armstong compared to me the kid.  There’s no doubt that the top trumpet in a 200+ member band is amazing.  But what if was a 2000+ member band?  Or a hundred 200+ member bands?

How far can we go with excellence? 

As we incrementally increase how big “the band” is in all areas of life — music, sports, leadership, ideas, patents, crafts, honesty, integrity, programming skills — it seems only natural to me that the “best” will also incrementally improve.  I look forward to how good our best can be and it fills me with a sense of pride.

And yet we still have the Idiocracy problem.  The best breeders aren’t breeding as often as the worst.   The people having the most kids are low-skilled and entitlement-hungry.  Where you would have normally surmised that the weak branches break off the tree in the winter, making the tree stronger, we have a system that favors the weak branches and stops Mother Nature from doing her job.

It reminds me of Forrest Carter’s “Education of Little Tree” where it says

Don’t feel sad, Little Tree. It is The Way. Tal-con [the hawk] caught the slow [quail] and so the slow will raise no children who are also slow. Tal-con eats a thousand ground rats who eat the eggs of the quail — both the quick and the slow eggs — and so Tal-con lives by the Way. He helps the quail. … Take only what ye need. When ye take the deer, do not take the best. Take the smaller and the slower and then the deer will grow stronger and always give you meat. … Only Ti-bi, the bee, stores more than he can use… and so he is robbed by the bear, and the ‘coon… and the Cherokee. It is so with people who store and fat themselves with more than their share. They will say a flag stands for their right to do this… and men will die because of the words and the flag… but they will not change the rules of The Way.

So while he goes on about flags and men, it still makes me feel that we are trying to change the rules of The Way.

So I think my real question is – how do we balance compassion and competition?

And lo, the people did comment thus:

7 Comments

  1. Christine says:

    Why such complex thoughts?

  2. whall says:

    Christine, no special reason or timing – I’ve just been thinking about it and couldn’t come up with how I wanted to word it until now. I think maybe Caitlin’s excellence at flute playing has nudged me a little this past month.

  3. Christine says:

    Wouldn’t expect anything less from you!
    I find it very interesting how your mind works.

  4. Dave2 says:

    So. basically, you’re equating how wealthy somebody is with how fit they are to breed… because, when it comes down to it, outstanding education is what’s responsible for excellence in these areas. Those who are poor get basic (i.e. sub-standard) schooling with few prospects for continuing education down the road. I note that you also seem to be attributing traits like honesty and integrity to those removed from the “low-skilled and entitlement-hungry” gene pool. Fascinating.

    Oh my gosh! Wait a second… are you a Republican?? I would have never guessed! 🙂

    How to solve this problem? Well, Republicans seem to be on the right track… first continue to cut sports and arts programs from schools so that more and more poor kids won’t be able to excel in music, sports, and leadership. Then keep slashing education so that poor kids can’t compete with new generations from other nations. Instead, they’ll be trapped into menial labor jobs that barely pay enough to survive. Then just continue to cut their health care programs so that they start dying off. Viola! Problem solved!

    Of course before you can “stay the course” in eliminating the over-breeding, resource-stealing poor people… you have to get a Republican elected in 2008. You should start courting non-partisan voters like me with bribes and fabulous prizes as soon as possible! My vote can be bought… start spoiling me now!

    😀

  5. Avitable says:

    We can’t just focus on intelligence. There are plenty of intelligent people out there who are close-minded and completely retarded in other way.

    Only people to whom I give my blessing should breed. I think that way works best.

  6. whall says:

    Dave Thanx for the comment. Bribes are on their way. 🙂 Although, now that I think about it – I’m pretty sure I didn’t mention “poor” or “wealthy”. I may have used some words or phrases that were probably not as clear as I’d like. I see now that “low-skilled” was such a word. Poor choice of words. I meant “refusing to learn.” And by “entitlement-hungry” I meant “refusing to help self.” I would rather ALL Americans be educated and assisted until able to help themselves, regardless of income or geographic location. I want the band to get bigger and not just with whites, the wealthy, the “good ol boys” or whatever connotation you get with republicans. I don’t equate “entitlement-needing” with “entitlement-hungry.” The first is where I give my time, money and passions towards and the second is where I give my spit. The moment someone *expects* to be taken care of at the expense of someone else is the moment I turn cold. But when someone needs help, I’m there with my shirt. I think that’s why I’m asking — how do we balance compassion with competition? At one extreme you have King Leonidas and the Spartans in the movie 300 and at the other you have Idiocracy and parasites, crippling society. Maybe it comes down to a clearer definition of the “basic necessities” we should be granting to those who either cannot or choose not to give to themselves. Top-notch education? absolutely. Basic health care? sure! Enough food to live on? go for it. But a “right” to live in top real estate locations? Cigarettes? Alcohol? TV, cell phones, cars, lottery tickets? Nope. If we agree on these tenets then we’re a lot closer than we are far apart. The concept of giving has no political party; the party just seems to dictate WHO should do the giving.

    Avi, I think that’s the way it used to be, but then you got busy or something and forgot to give blessings for a year or so. Way to go, ‘tard. You ruined it.

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