Friday, March 26, 2010

Childhood brainwashing

In my first post, I casually asserted that there is unnecessary competition and conflict in society, with showing proof of my accusation. This was wrong. In order to make up for this, I am here to show you: "My proof of excessive competition in society today". Maybe that's a little long, but it's informative.

Before I begin, I'd like to say that not all competition is bad. In fact, if it weren't for the competitive nature of science, we'd still believe physics was completely figured out with Newton. It's also useful in the market. If there was no competition, there'd be no choice of quality or price. My post today, is about the excessive amount of competition in society.

From a very young age, we are brought up to believe in the usefulness of competition. One of my earliest memories was watching a childrens program, and hearing about a competition they were running. You send in your best drawing, and if yours is the best you win a prize... I think it was a toy of some sort. I spent days working on my drawing, and when the prize was finally drawn, I didn't win, because someone else was better. Far better. It seemed like it was drawn professionally, thought that's probably because of how my mind was. This was sometime before I started school. It might seem minor, but the things children learn in childhood stay with them their whole lives.

In grade 1, we were taught (not directly) that in order to do well, we'd have to be better then the others in our class. This idea is fundamental in society, because without striving to be better then others, we'd only be average (Like everyone else). This also may seem minor, but considering that humans must be taught how to learn most effectively, and it's easiest to learn in you schooling years, this contest for good grades, and approval becomes so ingrained, it's hard to separate it from anything else in life.

Within the classroom was not the only competition. And I'm not speaking of P.E., despite the fact that it's technically not within a room, it is still a class. I'm talking of school houses. In my schools, both primary and high school, there were four houses, within which, every student and teacher was placed. Once every year we'd head down to the oval, and have race after race after race, starting with the youngest, and ending with the eldest students. The houses were given points based on the students who won. Not only that, we were taught different chants, depending on our house, which we'd yell at the top of our lungs, in an attempt to drown out the other teams, and score a few more points.

There was no point to this. Everyone got a little ribbon for participating, and the next day, every thing went back to normal. There wasn't even a prize! This was an annual occurrence for 12 years. 12 years! Then there was inter-school sport, where various sports teams were picked, and sent to other schools to prove that they're better then the others. Competition within competition within competition. Whether or not it was designed to be that way, childhood is a time to confuse us, while we're told to work together, but are rewards for working against each other. The end result is today's average adult, which I'll describe in length in my next post.

Until then - fui fides tantum in testimonium.

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