Why People Don’t Understand (whatever it is that they don’t understand) – Part Four

10. Competition. I remember the year when we were trying to teach kindergarten children that “everyone can be a winner.” What normal kid would fall for that hogwash? If everyone were a winner, then everyone else would be a loser. You’d think the teachers could have figured that out.

Or, and I suppose that’s what they had to do, we could make-believe that the word winner is not about winning, or at least not about losing. But the fact is that is exactly what the word is about, and if anything it has become much more brutal since that time. And so here we are, in a culture where everyone is trying to be a winner because they believe it’s their “constitutional right,” though they haven’t read the constitution since 8th grade, and then they weren’t listening. Or were illiterate. I have some pocket editions if you want one.

And the people who you want to spend time with, because they share your interests, you can’t, either because you are trying so hard to be better than they are that you can’t share, or because it’s their profession and they can’t share. You have to spend money even to talk to them. OK, if you’re rich you can do anything you want, but I have had this experience many times, especially around horse-riding, but probably the most obvious was when I tried to share something with an attorney and she billed me for the phone call. Competition kills community in this and many other ways.

If you do try to share, rather than compete, you are likely to find yourself a stepping-stone on someone else’s road to winning, and this is fair only if it is honest, which – we wouldn’t say something like THAT to a person we are using for our own benefit. It does happen that two may be on the same road, but more often the result is very painful to one of them, because what we really crave is community, and real community is not compatible with a win-lose approach to life.

The other day someone who is more insightful than most people suggested to me that: “You are selling yourself short.” I’ll admit that I am trying to sell the fact that there are facts in this world, and we will ignore them to our peril, both personally and communally, if we try to change the meaning of the word fact. But that’s not short. It’s a real fact, and I gave up trying to sell myself. It’s an impossible and demeaning aspiration. It’s like cleaning house. You think you will get somewhere if you do all the “selling” that the culture tells you is necessary and you learn all the right ways to say things, and you do whatever else they tell you to become a winner, but you never end up winning, because mutual winning is only possible in the absence of competition. At least, cleaning house you end up with a clean house from time to time. Competition is all about the 0.01%. Everyone else loses.

Selling one’s self is basically impossible because nobody will listen anyhow (see part one of this series) unless you are better at something than they are and I don’t even want to do what they are doing. Selling myself is demeaning because it assumes there is something wrong with me that I need to hide behind a wall of propaganda; and because it requires me to gleefully participate in the immorality of our social system in which I would have to learn the whole complicated system of socially acceptable ways to “put down” everyone else so I can feel good about myself. Say that again? I’m not OK unless I can prove that other people are not OK?? That’s about it.

I know where that idea comes from, because I spent the whole first part of my life being told that I had the choice of being a secretary or a wife or a teacher. So I got a PhD in science. The PhD was easy, moving from California to Maine was not. Then I spent quite a long time being flown around to different places and interviewed for employment as a scientist.

I was finally hired because of the Rule of Law, which of course is why the corposystem is working so hard to destroy our Rule of Law. At that time they made a law called Title Nine that said they (the corposystem) couldn’t reject women applicants if their qualifications were higher than those of the male applicants. So I got hired.

Then the corposystem created “women’s positions.” Women would be hired and given a list of requirements for tenure and then they would be fired on the basis of not fulfilling a different list of requirements that they didn’t know about in the first place. And they would hire another woman into the same slot (because of Title Nine, they would have to) and do the same all over again. We didn’t know; we thought they wanted competence. It set the women competing against each other and relieved the pressure from the men. At least at first. But when I figured this out, I told the women who followed me, when I moved on, and the next time round we all made it in to the University, and the system of “women’s positions” started to break down. The corposystem hates tenure because people with tenure tend to not be slaves of the corposystem. That’s why the system was created in the first place. To carry the wisdom from one generation to the next so that the whole community could adapt to changes as they came down the pike.

So now the corposystem is resolving the problem by trying to make sure nobody gets tenure. It’s a part of their campaign to control the educational system – to use the experts for their competence, while at the same time keeping the real information inside the top ranks of the corposystem and not available to the general public.

But I had to take a few years off science to go the rule of law route. When I won, the EEOC put some requirements on the University, forcing them to hire some minimum number of other women. It’s true I would never have been able to do all those things if it were not for the some of the men who already were part of the corposystem, but nobody else did it. I thought I had changed the corposystem for the better. HA! By that time, the corposystem was turning out women for the jobs who were if anything worse than the men – oh, well, they were much better if the criteria have to do with toxic competition, rather than (or in addition to) good science. And then the women who came in after me started telling me I wouldn’t have had all those problems if I had been a competent scientist. (Read The Colors of Mice: A genetic network.” Wiley-Blackwell.)

So then I had a chance to actually do some science, after spending a few years getting over the trauma, and the whole next part of my life I actually got to do science. (Check out the genetic model I created that the government has preserved for future generations of scientists.) I am not selling myself short, dammit. Other people are happy to do that for me.

And now I am working full time trying to explain that competition is how the corposystem enslaves you. By making you believe that you should sell yourself on behalf of the corposystem. (Isn’t that known as pimping? I call it slavery.) I am able to do this now because of Social Security. That, of course, is why the corposystem, having nearly eliminated tenure, and co-opted the school system up to graduate school, now wants to eliminate Social Security and whole, intact communities. To separate the elders, the source of real wisdom in any community, from the uninformed, well-intended youth that the corposystem can easily control simply by getting them to compete with each other for prizes that do not exist, and getting them to explain to their elders that the same old process that didn’t work last time around, somehow will magically work this time because we have more technologies than we did before.

But if we do conform and compete, then nobody will be a winner, because everyone will be alone, surrounded by enemies, or at least surrounded by people who do not want what is in their best interests, and we cannot survive on that basis as human social creatures in an overcrowded world.

Now we are out in the streets stealing and killing, out across the oceans stealing and killing, because the corposystem tells us that these behaviors will solve the problems of our real, finite planet. That’s one way, and I can tell you, based on biological reality, that the result is most likely to be either our extinction as a species (that’s really how evolution works) or the perpetuation of a much smaller, much more Spartan and cruel human species.

A better way (defined as the least suffering) would be to recognize that life on earth is an interconnected reality that operates according to basic physical processes that we cannot change with ANY technology, and work together to resolve our problems by growing a more fact-based realistic humanity that understands that people do not really need or want to be better than each other, or to be better than all the other organisms on earth that create the air, water and rich soil. What we really need is to care about each other, and about the source of our life on earth. To be a significant part of that interconnected whole.

But we can’t become a significant part of that interconnected whole on the basis of fairy tales – there is nothing wrong with fairy tales. They are meant to explain and inspire. But they can’t change facts, and if we are using them to compete – to prove that we are better than other people or to make believe that we can control the whole of living nature so we don’t have to face up to our real responsibilities to life – it won’t work. Life on earth is an interconnected reality that operates according to basic physical laws. We do understand these laws quite well, and our current crises relate to our choice to try to compete with natural law rather than to fulfill our responsibilities to the community of the whole.