People – ever since we developed willful agency and recognised our finite existence, and thus extract ourselves from the jungle of animalistic ignorance – have developed increasingly nuanced systems and procedures for competing with one another.
We compete for resources of all description, and our veracity in this endeavour depends primarily on our geography, our personal inclinations, and the style at the time.i
By competing successfully, we’re able to demonstrate our fertility and our wealth, that is, our superiority. Manifesting this power through art, architecture, refined manners, children, enterprises, as well as the number and objective quality of our mates and companions, we seek to signal our importance in society. Certainly, anything that we can reasonably call ‘a civilisation’ displays a wider and more impressive array of such signals than do the tribal cultures that lack even the most basic chronology, but all cultures maintain a competitive element, something to separate the lemma from the palea, even if there are differences in the degrees of complexity involved.ii
This being said, not everyone has the capacity or the inclination to compete. Some people are not only incapable of fending for themselves, but they’re even perfectly content with their absence of gusto to the extent that it doesn’t result in their starving to death.iii
The vast majority of people are only motivated to compete to the extent that need to be. That is, when their incentives to compete are eroded by familial or state-backed safety nets, they don’t bother. I mean, why should they ? To what end ? This and this alone is what makes socialism such a counter-productive force in this world: it robs Peter to pay Paul so that Paul doesn’t have to try as hard. I mean, God forbid Paul fails !
If this sort of perversion persists, for lack of an extenuating (and iatrogenic) emergency, it seems inevitable that not competing would even become fashionable.
mircea_popescu: TBH, that is the only logical end game : US of Best Korea, where everything is banned not because they can’t afford anything, but for Ideological Reasons. Honest. I used to know poor people like that. All the things they couldn’t afford, they didn’t do not because they couldn’t afford them. But for Other Reasons.
asciilifeform: We already have this. In slow motion.
mircea_popescu: Pretty much yeh.
So what do we see ?
And so on and so forth, all of which is merely poverty masquerading as aristocracy. Because if it weren’t so cool to be poor, it’d have to be sad; and since you’re waaay too narcissistic to be sad, it has to be cool !
Because Reasons. Always, because Reasons.
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- This is ultimately what determines that state of advancement of a culture and a society: it’s ability to deal with and appreciate complexity. Yes, it’s very impressive that children can draw pretty pictures, and with such colour and such verve, just as the Native Americans do, but both groups are in point of fact at an earlier stage of development, which is to say more primitive, than even a high school student who can solve basic differential equations.
It matters not a whit whether “they ‘owned’ this land first” and whether you think that “they can teach us how to live sustainably” anymore than it matters what 6-year-olds want for breakfast. Of course they want frosted flakes every goddamned morning but if you put that kind of retardation on a pedestal, everyone and their mothers will, by the end of the decade, have a noggin full dental caries, and, since kids hate the dentist, septicemia.
So unless you’re unwittingly trying to solve overpopulation… Holy shit, you are !!! [↩]
- “Starving to death” also includes shelter, clean air, water, etc., all of which the modern socialist state is all too happy to provide. Oh, and if that’s not enough for you, there’s always free prescription drugs ! [↩]
- The “inhumanity” of eating animals is little more than the “inhumanity” of being rich. “Oh, how terrible it must be!” Well, I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to be a bed of roses, but I’d certainly rather have the options and opportunities that wealth provides that not have them. Being rich can be all kinds of things in all kinds of places, whereas poverty is by definition the lack of things. I ask you, where’s the fun in a choiceless existence ?
The “coolness” of not eating meat is exactly the recognition that you’ll never be a Brahmin. Of course cows are sacred, there aren’t enough of them to go around ! [↩]
- Renting real estate, however, makes all kinds of financial sense. Buying a house is far from the Guaranteed To Double Your Money investment vehicle that most North Americans imagine it to be. Plus, renting an abode is more flexible and bears lower transaction costs should you decide to pick up and move to, say, Rio de Janeiro.
sharing economyfeudalism ! [↩]