How to compete without being enemies?

All Writings, Blog, Observations / Tuesday, April 24th, 2018
Though we race, we do not hate each other
Though we race, we do not hate each other

It seems the most common of tendencies, and almost instinctive for us to compare ourselves with another.  We are competing in appearances, in words, in wealth, education, nation, or some other reason that human society has developed to put a division in the family.  Our comparisons produce envy and jealousy, but also the aspiring to outdo the other in a competition.  These competitions have led to achievements, and then those achievements have led to other competitions in turn.  This is how we have built our world by a surreptitious, subtle implanting of enmity among the children of mankind.

Embracing the idea, not the enmity of competition

A competition requires comparison and one can make the case for doing away with the idea altogether.  Or we can also promote the competing of one man against another, each person uses all of his ability and talent to outperform another.  It would seem, human enmity is entirely unavoidable.  To see how competition can exist apart from enmity, it is better to take an example.

Think of a sport like running.  For those athletes who have simply learned to enjoy running for the pleasure of it, to give free rein to their God-gifted bodies to go as fast as they can, they do not need the added motivation of competition.  However, when those men or women stand together to compete on a track, then, they must compare.  It is possible for runners to train together and even support each other’s training, but on the day of the competition, there has to be one winner and one loser of the race.  Those who were friends in training, temporarily become fierce enemies for the race.  In the end, after crossing the finish line, the winner and the loser can shake hands again for having run fairly and done the best personally.

This kind of a relationship gives the possibility for human beings to express the complexity of their inner feelings and thoughts.  No one is boxed into the rigid category of friend or enemy.  In accord with the need of the situation, the athletes train as friends and compete as enemies.  They wish to do their best, giving each other a fair chance.

Our society needs competition but needs to also be aware of entrenched enmity

Just as individual human beings do within a society, societies also compete.  However, in either case, the thing to guard against is the kind of bitter, entrenched enmity that causes one to wish or do harm to another.  This unhealthy, malevolent spirit is what we need to stay on guard against.

Human relationships are a balancing act because human beings are complex.  We can be many things at many different times.  The confidence that we wish to have toward another and want another to have toward us is, that there will be fairness.  This fairness is seen when we see one we are competing with getting injured, and for that time we forget the competition and just focus on trying to help.  I know, one might think at this point: What if my competitor is only pretending to be hurt?  What if he misuses my kindness and concern to take advantage of me?  Yes, these deceptions, too, are manifested among human beings.  It invariably leads to the spoiling of a relationship, as the principle of fairness is broken; consequently, trust is broken.

The simplifying of human behavior is greatly desirable.  Especially when we consider that the modern human has interactions with more others through social networks than was ever possible in history, it would really make things much simpler for us to have clear, honest, and simple exchanges.  This is what a lot of people try to do, and what people want too!  We should still remain aware of how complex humans potentially are.  Even though, there are some very simple, basic driving forces in human behavior, the manifestations are very complex.  It is only when we deeply care to understand each and every word or action of another that we get to see the full range of such complexity.  A simple conclusion about a human competition that we wish to arrive at in the present is: To accept and even support competition, but not let it become the reason for entrenched enmity in our hearts!  Wouldn’t that be what you also want?