“We are the Champions, my friends and we’ll keep on fighting to the end.”
“All I do is win, win, win no matter what.”
“Anything you can do, I can do better.”
We are a society with a focus on being the best, on beating out the competition at all costs. It is survival of the fittest, Darwin’s natural selection, that is biologically ingrained in humanity. But does competition need reach into so many different facets of our lives: the political, economical, social and emotional? Or do we exaggerate this urge and perpetuate our need to always base our worth compared to others?
Rivalry between siblings seems to be innate, an idea explored in a personal reflection about the complex relationship of being a twin (Double Trouble?, page 17). However, experience with competition among peers at a young age is not limited to family relations but is actually getting even more fierce in the world of higher education for both college applicants, and universities and colleges trying to attract these applicants (Collegiate Competition, page 18).
Contention extends greatly into the cultural and political spheres, something that can be seen through the debate for indigenous people’s land rights (Mapping the Native Landscape, page 13) and through the representation of women in media (Objectification On Every Station, page 21).
The world of competitive eating is another example in our country that thrives off of our love of extreme sports. It’s a sport where success is measured in not points, but in hotdogs (Clean Plate Club, page 29). But in the land of reality television, the merit of a show can depend on the ratio of real to fake drama that keeps characters battling for attention and ratings (The “Real” World, page 30).
We are told we need to fight for what we believe in. We are told we are not successful if we are not the best or No. 1. We are told we must be combative and aggressive to get what we want or be who we want to be. Still, natural selection is the key mechanism of evolution, so maybe competition is necessary for progress and growth.