Survival of the fittest: If competition was a determining factor for survival, people would probably be extinct. If people continue to use competition as a strategy to survive, that same strategy could cause our extinction. Becoming one of the privileged, to be born has more to do with environment than with genetics. The environment survives, or the life it sustains dose not. The survival of people, depends on the quality of their environment. People do not survive as individuals in a hostile environment. Our strategy for survival is to control the quality of our environment as the most effective way to enhance our existence. We have the ability to use natures gifts for improvement, and the ability to ignore its gifts, at our peril.
People individually are relatively helpless. Our quality of life, and our very survival depends on a fragile social network. Many other species have similar dependencies. We humans are unique in that our species exists on a behavioral time continuum. We can manipulate situations in a manner that has a measurable effect for all subsequent generations.The generations who come before us determine who we are, who we can become. What we do affects other generations profoundly.
Besides passing our genes to coming generations, we pass diverse cultures including beliefs, knowledge and behaviors. We are capable of learning and do learn. When our knowledge and beliefs align, we are content. That contentment can be disrupted by what we perceive to be real danger to ourselves, to other humans, and to coming generations. ,When we are content, our diligence is keenly focused on preventing harm and providing benefit for others.
Beliefs that fail to align with reality are superstitious notions. When our knowledge and beliefs are not in alignment we become despondent, even desperate. We do not take good care of ourselves, other people, or other generations. Knowledge seems to be the enemy. We mistreat ourselves, other people, and other generations to protect superstitious notions that do not happen to coincide with reality.
Superstitious notions about how best to serve and protect humanity can evolve over time. The way this evolving is proving itself to be as ineffective now as it was 4000 years ago, and with good reason. Using superstitious ideas to conduct civil society has a long history of needless failure. We have tried to model economics on superstitious notions which predict outcomes that the experiments scribed into history have repeatedly proven ludicrous. Competition means that some people gain at other’s expense. We are competing to profit from injustice. How does this align with reality?
We in the United States hold, as our core value, liberty and justice for all. Justice is for all. That is what justice is. As for liberty, the poor are free to pursue happiness in a place that they are legally excluded from justice. The quest for illegal happiness has proved harmful to civility since there was a quest for civility. We send our children to school to learn to compete. Whether they become winners or losers, they lose. They lose access to an essential nutrient to personal and social health, contentment. Injustice harms everyone, the perpetrators. the victims, and the bystanders. That harm is accumulated across multiple generations.
Beliefs are societal hypothesis. Compare them to facts. If they are incompatible, it is the belief that needs modification. Reality is unlikely to bend. There are two choices. We either modify the superstitious notion or accept the natural consequences. Bending toward the acceptance of reality produces benefit. Rigidity causes harm. Social competition is the distribution of injustice, the consequences of which have sabotaged civility for as long as written records have been kept. The natural consequence of competition as a way to serve and protect humanity is incompatible with reality.
After thousands of years, injustice, poverty, and war still exist. Superstitious notions about the benefits of competition will not make them go away. We all share one environment. When we do not share, that is injustice. It is reality that we live in. Substituting superstitious notion for fact is a personal health risk, and a health risk for humanity.
Injustice, war, and poverty are as prevalent today as they have been at any other time in history. There are at least three ways we hide this discrepancy between our belief and reality. The first is that we blame history. It is history’s fault that it keeps repeating itself. Injustice and inhumanity are our predetermined destiny. The second excuse that we give ourselves is that bad people, who are different from us, are causing all of the trouble. We need to change their beliefs and their behaviors. If we are richer, more powerful, more knowledgeable or more terroristic than they are. We can force them to believe as we do The third way we ignore reality is our belief that we have plenty of space, plenty of resources, and that our conquests will make our life better. The distasteful behavior we exhibit is pardonable because we are God’s favorites. The earth is ours to plunder. Those who lose are less deserving than we are.
Humankind can care for itself. Its institutions must be mandated to provide care and protection for its individuals. Leaders must administrate with compassion. In competitive societies individuals either fight for service and protection, or get little of either. Competitive institutional leadership dispenses injustice. Competition is for the benefit of some. It brings the demise of others, at a huge cost for everyone. Competitively, where is there a safe place for trust?
There is an argument that people work harder in a competitive environment. The facts do not bear that out. Competition is an incentive to cut corners or cheat. Work has a purpose, to serve and protect humanity. Its benefit is nutrition for contentment. The purpose is the problem. It must coincide with reality to produce benefit and do no harm.
When we sailed past the horizon we didn’t fall off the edge of the earth. The world isn’t flat. Alchemy did not create gold from other metals, or produce magic powers. The moon turned out not to be made of blue cheese. We throw out superstitious notions quickly when they fail to align with what we recognize as truth, but…
Superstitions that we learn from authority figures are harder to get rid of. We may be punished for disbelief. We will be punished for attempting to protect vulnerable people from harm inflicted by authority. Authority uses propaganda to make superstitious notions appear to be true. Facts are hidden to dodge authority’s blame for destroying contentment, but try hiding 4000 years of injustice, war, and poverty in an age of expanding communication.
There is a reason why you or many of your friends are depressed. There is a reason why everything looks like a conspiracy. There is a reason why children’s grades are considered more important than the children who receive them. There is a reason why democratic elections are not democratic. There is a reason why the size of your bank account is given more importance than the content of your character. Competition is not an economic strategy. It is a superstitious notion that is unnaturally devolving us toward extinction, toward the direction of inhumanity
In spite of our individual helplessness you are a member of our human family. Each of us needs to be protected from harm and provided benefit. Not even one of us should suffer injustice or poverty. It is time for our institutions to serve and protect us. We operate our institutions to benefit us and protect us from harm. Competitively our institutions use us to benefit themselves. They bully us. They use our vulnerability against us. Our health and welfare is being traded for their power at the expense of both justice and reason. When knowledge is eclipsed by superstitious notion the environment that we share will not sustain human life. Competition is economic cancer. It is a debilitating, life threatening social disease, but it is one that we can prevent and cure because we know exactly what the superstitious notions are that cause it.
Competition is not an economic strategy because it is not economic. Justice is not a competitive achievement. It is a value that can not be stolen. Justice is the environmental tent that we need to keep in good repair. Economics is not just how we make those repairs. It is why we make them. We make the repairs to the fabric of civilization to serve and protect humanity.