Saturday, September 18, 2004

Why I Dislike Competition

I know that in many of my homeschooling/unschooling posts I rant against competition. When I speak of my disdain for competition, it is because I feel that it essentially pits us against one another; its alienates us for each other and, as a result, from God, for I imagine that in His admonition to love one another as ourselves, competition is not very pleasing to Him. How can I love as myself that which I am trying to surpass or vanquish?

To read more, click on the Xs

How often is the winner of a competition a subjective determination? The Olympic judges don't always come up with the same scores for a particular competitor (nor are the scores always pure, uncorrupt -- reference to scandals of the IOC). What about grades and admission choices made by colleges?

Even absolutes may not be true measures of who wins -- salary, profits... For what profits a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? For the non-religious, they might recognize that money does not buy happiness, often, it simply buys further concerns about money.

I'm always refecting on the place pride plays in my life. I find it to be a destructive force, leading to competition. I was watching The Question of God on PBS recently (thanks to Rob's wife for alerting me to it). In it, an actor playing C.S. Lewis gives a brief discourse on pride and competition which resonates with me. The excerpt is from Lewis' Mere Christianity, a part entitled, The Great Sin. The link will take you to a fuller excerpt, but since its long, I'll clip the part that is most on point to my ramblings:

"Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive - is competitive by its very nature - while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone."

Crying children tear me from my keyboard, so I'll just leave you with those thoughts for now...

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