THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
The next few weeks will dive into a discussion about competition and its relationship with self-esteem.
We live in a society and a culture where we set benchmarks and expectations in the social arena. It's not even about who makes the most money or who is the most successful in life. Instead, it's about whether you have moved out of your parents' home, whether you've found a partner, started a family, etc., and having accomplished all of these things as quickly as possible. The person who lives on his own at 21 years old is apparently more successful than the person who lives with his parents at 35 years old in the competition of life.
This relates to the idea of independence vs. dependency. The person who is able to support himself and do everything without the help of others is, according to the above standard, winning. The person who needs the assistance of others is losing. It's not an exact science: surely, there are people who are taking advantage of the system. But in a vacuum, we are judging others (even subconsciously) based on accomplishments rather than character.
Not only is this line of thought a fallacy based on moral judgment, but now it has scientific evidence. Studies show that cooperation (dependency) actually leave people feeling better about themselves, as opposed to the alternative of competition (independence). Cooperation promotes control within oneself, whereas competition does the opposite. As such, people who work with others (as opposed to against them) find themselves feeling more in control of their own lives. So if the goal is to be in control of your own life, the solution is not to compete within society to meet those standard benchmarks of independence, but rather to cooperate and accept the necessity of dependence in certain areas. After all, don't we rely on others to do things for us in order to allow us to be successful? I don't have the ability to dry clean my clothes, compound my own prescriptions, or perform all four parts of my jazz quartet; I depend on others to do those for me.
The sooner we accept dependency and cooperation as the way of life (as opposed to life being a competition to gain independence as soon as possible), the more independent we will actually be.