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Eagleheart
11-26-2006, 04:32 AM
My answer to this question has been positive ever since the time I have been able to link the words properly...However in the light of some persuasive arguments of one of my friends, I am inclined to review it at least if not to accept it readily/ which took him some months to achieve/...And I thought I may introduce it as a topic...
If in a considerable number of people competition is lacking even in conditions, carefully prepared to provoke the expression of competitive traits, that are supposed to be natural- does it prove anything? Keep in mind that regional psychological accomodations cannot account for it, I am talking about scattered groups-Can a specific mode of domestic education of an individual completely stifle an innate characteristic, so as not to appear when the favourable time is set? What is the fault of competition- that it is too often equated with self-preservation or that it stands in the way of our ennobling the modern man?
Could it be that competition is present as a forced phenomenon only?...Positive answer to the question maybe somewhat economically-threatening? Now what are we to do with an economically dependent world with economically independent minds...

Acolyte
11-28-2006, 12:03 AM
Interesting question. Although I'm not sure that I fully understand it.

The first part seems to set up a senario. There are a considerable number of people living in conditions that foster competitive behaviour. Competitive behaviour is considered to be "natural." However, competitive behaviour is lacking. The question then becomes: Is competitive behaviour actually natural?

"Can a specific mode of domestic education of an individual completely stifle an innate characteristic, so as not to appear when the favourable time is set?" I think that it depends largely upon the characteristic. Education has some sway certainly over the human mind and make up, but that it can alter the natural way of things seems open to doubt.

"Could it be that competition is present as a forced phenomenon only?" This is possible given enough evidence.

Here is my question. If competition is a forced phenomenon only and so brought about by the effects of education, what innate characteristic is it overpowering?

Anyhow if I've misread please set it right =) Cheers!

Eagleheart
11-28-2006, 12:24 AM
Welcome to the forum Acolyte
By forced competition I meant, artificially provoked in people who are somehow disadvantaged, whose striving to overwhelm the disadvantages is alleged competition, but the question still remains if anyone could force any principally non-existent mode of behaviour. No, not really- so.. there is either competition only too inherent or there is twisting of definitions...Today self-sufficient rural peasants in Bulgaria have somehow competitive approach on some obscure grounds according to the agricultural surveys, but this is not the case. It is economically lacking and highly probable to be lacking in their personal matters too. The innate characteristic I was refering to was exactly competition

dramasnot6
11-28-2006, 03:45 AM
very interesting point about economical disadvantage leading to competition(if i read correctly). Perhaps all types of disadvantage are what give way to competition? An instinctive urge to fight against others, and getting a bit Darwinian here, place yourself in as high of ranks as possible in a more relative perspective of Survival of the Fittest? Or to be more specific, as when we as a species began we were often exposed to limited food supply, shelter, etc. and needed to "compete" to have all of our needs met. I think i will settle with the idea that disadvantage(the levels of serverity of disadvatnage may differ between individuals) may be what evokes competition but it is a trait embedded into everyone's Ego. So when it is neccesary or practical to be competitive, all would succumb to it.

Eagleheart
11-28-2006, 08:12 AM
The question:

Perhaps all types of disadvantage are what give way to competition?
The answer:

often exposed to limited food supply, shelter, etc. and needed to "compete" to have all of our needs met.
Does disadvantage provoke competition that is innate or we are throwing men on the verge of poverty, letting him struggle for subsistence and then what is self-preservation is declared competition? How natural is to present a man with unquestionable principles of conquering to obtain food rather than cooperating when opportunities to do it only by yourself are insufficient?
I speak of disadvantages that preclude the meeting of the basic human needs , ranks do not dwell on this ground...Still the will to power is a considerable argument in favour of innate competitive approach and from it comes the major difficulty of introducing our new refined man, devoid of any instinctual desire to subjugate his fellowmen...

dramasnot6
11-28-2006, 08:50 AM
Self preservation could be seen as competition. Stuggling to survive in the desert, man competing against nature. Preserving your sanity under emotional strain, man competing against himself. Who is this "we" you speak of also? Originally humans didnt limit eachothers food and shelter. They saw what was there and fought for their fair share. And some fought for more. I would think power competition and basic needs would be interlinked. Originally having the ability to fulfill basic needs was enough to give one power, because there was not much else to empower people. Basic needs were all they had, strived for, and competed for. I'm interested in your argument though, you seem to portray competition as negative, what alternatives would you suggest for the earlier humans to have gained their needs when times were rough?

Eagleheart
11-28-2006, 10:39 AM
Ballanced power, in which no one overwhelms the other in any endeavour is not empowering people, because the power in the case is only a means- fulfilling basic needs is an objective not directed by the eyes of the conqueror- these hypotetical non-competitive people are not seeing man as a factor to be subdued, but as a comrade striving to achieve the same ends, their objective is the fulfilment of needs itself and as long as scarcity is not evident they have no reason to be conquerors, but would live peacefully in cooperation

what alternatives would you suggest for the earlier humans to have gained their needs when times were rough?
We are said to live in deteriorated conditions-so suitable ones would have had to exist from which to appear deteriorated. Why were the times rough when suitable conditions were providing basic necessities? Perhaps competition is a modern phenomenon and civilization is proffering humans but no humanity...I am thinking about this/and wondering how harmful to mankind Niezsche would have deemed the title of the thread/

dramasnot6
11-28-2006, 07:32 PM
Balance of power doesnt negate the existence of competition, in fact it confirms it. The same impulse that before led to struggling for food, shelter, etc. enters today when those basic needs are satisfied.You havent mentioned the competition of ideas, the history of scientific thoguht shows the neccesity of competition. Without various philosophers, scientists, and writers competiting agasint eachtother with clashes of ideas and theories, we would not have all the wonderful ideas of today. And perhaps not even your beloved Niezsche

Virgil
11-28-2006, 08:29 PM
Why is it one or the other? I believe there are times and conditions were humans cooperate and there are times and conditions where humans compete. Society does best when it set up the conditions where competition to advantaages and cooperation leads to other advantages. In summary, both are natural.

subterranean
11-28-2006, 09:27 PM
No, competition and cooperation are not natural. They are socially constructed.

Virgil
11-28-2006, 09:28 PM
No, competition and cooperation are not natural. They are socially constructed.

That is an interesting statement, Sub. Can you elaborate?

Eagleheart
11-29-2006, 12:19 AM
Are we arriving at the point when every struggle will represent competition, dramasno6t? The history of ideas especially displays the fact that if humans were driven by the impulse to be better than others and not by that of improvement of society in general, we would still be in the transitional period in which powerful ideas/powerful for various random reasons and perhaps the advantage of the moment/ were gaining momentus? If the driving force was competition, then we must question the objective of the introducers of these ideas-man would compete man for the ideas to be powerful, just with the same governmental approach as in other spheres, not because of ideas themselves as a means for development. I do not equate any struggle, regardless of objective with competition, exactly because the objective determines if it is mere competition. If we assume that when some Africans are struggling to escape the tents in favour of some more 21-century flat they are competitive, then I am shifting my position. But remember I do not still take any of these positions for myself, I want to see how the conversation would progress with a defender of the unnatural competition.

And perhaps not even your beloved Niezsche
Now, you are particularly uninformed of my tender feelings toward Niezsche

No, competition and cooperation are not natural. They are socially constructed.
?

subterranean
11-29-2006, 07:27 AM
?


That is an interesting statement, Sub. Can you elaborate?


Etymology of compete: Late Latin competere to seek together, from Latin, to come together, agree, be suitable, from com- + petere to go to, seek --

I was just thinking, if my mother never told me that there's only one 1st rank yet there are 30 students in the class (and that she promised to buy me new toys if I became 1#), would I study that hard to be the first? Didn't I consider being the 1st student in class as a very important thing only after my mother said that I must fight the rest 29 students to be the best or only after I see that the teacher plays favorite and give great prizes to the best student?

Would I compete with myself if there's only me in the room?

On a different note, my mom never really told me that when I'm hugry, I should eat. Somehow I learnt that since I was a baby. There's no outside factor that construct that ability (that I need to start looking for food when I'm starving) within me.

IMHO, among a bunch of fools, a smart lad would never thought about competition. Only when he is surrounded by people of the same kind that he'd tought about striving to beat the others. This reminds me of this saying that me and my friends used to say in our classes about the international politics in Asia Pacific, "if you can't beat Japan, join Japan".

But I'm just a registered babbler, hence I might be wrong ;).

Eagleheart
11-29-2006, 09:22 AM
Here is another story:

Stuck thirty people in impregnable four walls, make only a tiny opening in the window for the air to come in, watch them running to the opening and then you can readily call them competive...

subterranean
11-29-2006, 09:48 PM
No, you're talking about life and death there. If there's only you in that room, wouldn't you still go to the tiny window in order to breath more freely?

Competition is there because there's reward or gain involved.. prizes, recognizition, acknowledgement from other people. You call beauty peagant as a natural thing? I think it's only after society put values on something that people will start competing for it.

Eagleheart
11-30-2006, 12:31 AM
Competition is there because there's reward or gain involved.. prizes, recognizition, acknowledgement from other people. You call beauty peagant as a natural thing? I think it's only after society put values on something that people will start competing for it.
Man has a choice / we would not have dissenters in the other case, who have been ascribed "aesthetic" distortions for their time for example/...Are we always competing according to you/there are always values/? Perhaps competition is still natural given the driving forces of recognition from others is natural? After all the best way to acquit a force is to declare it natural...

subterranean
11-30-2006, 01:26 AM
Please excuse me, but I don't understand your post. Please elaborate.

one_raven
11-30-2006, 08:06 AM
Interesting thread.
Someone pointed me here because just yesterday I posted the following thread, entitled "Competition - Human Nature?", on another forum:


“Humans have an innate sense of competition”

You hear this all the time – it has become almost axiomatic.
Get into an argument about Capitalism, this and it will be offered as proof that Socialist and Communist systems will always fail, regardless of how they are implemented and administered.
It seems to be (or at least is claimed to be) at the root of war, religious persecution, consumerism, sports, games and no one seems to question whether or not it is true.
People say that humans simply would not have progressed as far as they have if it weren’t for competition.
Leaving the whole issue of what constitutes “progress” aside for now, I don’t accept so readily that:
a.) Intra-species competition is innate in human beings.
b.) Competition drives progression better than cooperation.
c.) Encouraging competition is what is best for society in general.

“Intra-species competition is innate in human beings.”
Is it innate human nature, or is it fostered and cultivated by the social structures we have built?
The best way to determine this, in my opinion, is to observe children.
People will, of course, point to how children love to play games and how children are possessive over their toys and such, but is that really competition at work?
Children, above all, are driven to experience – to learn by exploring, observing and doing. They are just as keen to play a game that is designed to not have any “winners” or “losers”, just because it is their thirst for knowledge and new experience that is being fed.
They don’t care about challenging OTHERS, they care only about challenging THEMSELVES.
They will sit for hours on end and play a one player game, constantly pushing themselves to achieve for the simple sake of accomplishment.
They don’t know how to compete until we teach them to.
As for not wanting to share, that doesn’t seem to me to rooted in anything but a lack of comprehension that the whole world does not exist for their sake alone.
It takes time for children to develop the sense of empathy, simply because the whole world belongs to them and is there for their own purposes.
I have never met a child who has progressed passed that stage and has realized a sense of self and does not revel in helping others – helping Mom and Dad clean, cook, fix things, take out the garbage – that often fades eventually, but whether and how much it fades is entirely dependent upon external influences.
Humans are a relatively weak, slow, inefficient animal whose only claim to fame and ability to adapt to new environments are our intelligence and social cooperation.
If it weren’t for social cooperation, we would have been extinct a very long time ago.

“Competition drives progression better than cooperation.”
While that may ring true in a certain sense, that is only the case because we have built a system that rewards competition.
Think about this for a second…
Take two groups of ten people each and offer a prize to compete against to get some task done within a month.
If you take the group of twenty and have them cooperate to accomplish the same task, doesn’t it stand to reason that sharing resources, knowledge, experience and work would get the task done faster, more thoroughly and more efficiently?
Advances are driven when different groups, different schools, different nations cooperate, share information, share efforts and strive toward a common goal together.

“Encouraging competition is what is best for society in general.”
Encouraging competition encourages selfish, myopic, and short-sighted actions.
I fail to see how that is beneficial to society, community, the human race as a whole, the environment or anything else.

Eagleheart
11-30-2006, 10:38 AM
Please excuse me, but I don't understand your post. Please elaborate.
Aham...sorry...I tend to have difficulties with sentences generally/ Expressing thoughts is somehow more difficult than having thoughts/
I'll make another attempt:
You mentioned in your explanation recognition as a driving force for competition. So I was asking you whether competition could be in this case natural if we are to accept that this driving force is natural

Is it innate human nature, or is it fostered and cultivated by the social structures we have built?
You can foster and cultivate s.th that is already exiting. But your observations give a valuable perspective...The examples with the children for example are posing interesting questions. How exactly is the co-player transformed to a competitor? What features of the development are indicative of the change that gradually appears?...Threatening imperatives that you would not make much of a bread-winner if your income is not higher than the neighbour or that you need a title to fulfill the requirements of a sucessful person as subterranean proposed?... But in both these cases, man is disposed to act according to threats and what is worse to assume they are the vital foundations of life.
Doesn't yielding to threats mean their contain is exactly what you are afraid of? In this case - afraid of someone being ahead you...If man yields than perhaps this one of his desires of advancement is natural...

one_raven
11-30-2006, 11:38 AM
Doesn't yielding to threats mean their contain is exactly what you are afraid of? In this case - afraid of someone being ahead you...If man yields than perhaps this one of his desires of advancement is natural...

But do you think that fear of someone being ahead of or better than you is an innate trait?
I think, rather it is a false fear brought upon by outside forces.
Fear certainly leads to competition.
What draws man to fight is an unfulfilled need, what draws him to compete is the fear that the resources that will fulfil his need are limited.
If man is hungry, he will eat.
If he is hungry and there is limited food, his fear of starvation will force him to fight for food.

If he is hungry, has plenty of food for tomorrow and no fear that he will run out of food, he has no need to compete for it.
Someone in a desert will compete for water.
Someone living beside a constant source of fresh water in a water-rich environment has no need to compete for water.

If you live in an area where the game is limited and other food sources are scarce, you will certainly want to hunt better than the next guy.
If someone is better than you at hunting, but you still have plenty of food and no fear of that food supply diminishing, so what?

Eagleheart
11-30-2006, 01:47 PM
But do you think that fear of someone being ahead of or better than you is an innate trait?
No, I do not
How I see the problem:...Fighting "for" is too often assumed to be unrealizable without fighting "against"...

one_raven
11-30-2006, 02:46 PM
How I see the problem:...Fighting "for" is too often assumed to be unrealizable without fighting "against"...

Unfortunately, yes.

subterranean
11-30-2006, 09:37 PM
Aham...sorry...I tend to have difficulties with sentences generally/ Expressing thoughts is somehow more difficult than having thoughts/
I'll make another attempt:
You mentioned in your explanation recognition as a driving force for competition. So I was asking you whether competition could be in this case natural if we are to accept that this driving force is natural


Hey, it's ok :).

Well, I'd say it's the value and the presence of other party that create competition/cooperation.
You can get arouse, without the presence of anyone, by imagining things in your head. But can you get competitive if there's no one around? And I'm not sure whether value is a natural thing because it changes (modified or even gone) and it may differ from person to person.

subterranean
11-30-2006, 09:49 PM
But do you think that fear of someone being ahead of or better than you is an innate trait?
I think, rather it is a false fear brought upon by outside forces.
Fear certainly leads to competition.
What draws man to fight is an unfulfilled need, what draws him to compete is the fear that the resources that will fulfil his need are limited.
If man is hungry, he will eat.
If he is hungry and there is limited food, his fear of starvation will force him to fight for food.

If he is hungry, has plenty of food for tomorrow and no fear that he will run out of food, he has no need to compete for it.
Someone in a desert will compete for water.
Someone living beside a constant source of fresh water in a water-rich environment has no need to compete for water.

If you live in an area where the game is limited and other food sources are scarce, you will certainly want to hunt better than the next guy.
If someone is better than you at hunting, but you still have plenty of food and no fear of that food supply diminishing, so what?


I like your examples. And as I posted before, I personally think that competion and cooperation are 2 things that are socially constructed, means that I won't consider doing one or both of these acts until there is other party involved and when both parties give the same value to it. I mean, if I consider being the 1st student in class as something valuable but the other party doesn't, then most likely there won't be any competition.

Rampant
12-03-2006, 06:38 AM
A very intriguing question, but one that can always be taken multiple ways.

First, we have our definition of natural, which is of or regarding nature, and then without artificial additives.

Thus I say that competion is entirely natural, it exists outside of any additives, regardless of if it an innate quality it was one created by humans with no external aide, unless you consider environment external aide. I realize though that that is not what the question is truly about, still my position remains the same. I say it is a natural characteristic, and one that is instinctual, I look as it this way, just because something is instinctual does not make it necessarily always present. A good example of this would be vegetarians--and I don't mean to insult vegetarians in any way--but the fact is that meat eating is an inherent trait, and if presented with nothing else to eat besides a tender steak, I'd have to say they would choose to eat rather than not. Now this may be the argument in question, if competition is only present under conditions in which it is advantageous. I have to say that it exists outside of this, taking the capitalist system for example, many people meet their basic needs, and yet they still compete. That same example could be said that it is unnatural too though, and that because it exists outside of necessity it is therefore unnatural. I disagree with that notion, for as instinctual as eating is, you still have people who do it far past their own needs. I believe to answer the original question, it is very natural, and there are various ways to consider it as such based on varying semantics. Though I have to proceed with the question; If this were some such utopian society in which there was no need to compete, would we be posing the question is competition unnatural?

Eagleheart
12-03-2006, 01:03 PM
Welcome to the forum Rampant...

taking the capitalist system for example, many people meet their basic needs, and yet they still compete.
The validity of this example, though decidedly indisputable, does not determine how we are to assume that competition is natural...Aggression produces crimes in certain conditions and aggression is assumed to be natural, but should the next step be to proclaim the drive for killing natural?..I think we may explain the capitalistic foundations with this same example... Aggression may be natural, but it is evidently designed for our need of an instinct of self-preservation; the degeneration of this aggressive instinct into other forces and hence actions/killing for example/ evidences how the natural itself does not appear to corroborate the naturalness of the actions it provokes...The need to supply the necessities in life may have easily degenerated into capital accumulation- in this way an accepted innate trait/the struggle to meet the needs/ introduces a mode of existence, based on constant competition, which is not necessarily natural...
But the answer to the question how degeneration is itself occuring is of course unlikely to be given easily...And this again proves how handy we can be with arguments when we explain what question should be answered...but quite impeded when the answer to the question is to be given...

Rampant
12-04-2006, 12:19 AM
I see what you are getting at, but I am not sure how we establish what is considered natural competitiveness and unnatural competitiveness, it is a very vague subject. Is competing for basic needs the only natural competition, which was derived from necessity, and that competing past the point of meeting basic needs considered a degeneration of the instinctual proclivity to compete? That may be true, but I still believe the need to compete is indeed an innate quality of humans, we have ranks and classes and the like because people are not all equal, and I doubt that those who do not have the given ability to be the best would simply be content with that status even with basic needs met. I think humans have a need and lust for a certain level of esteem; this would cause the person in a lower rank to needlessly compete. Again there is much skepticism to the state of ranks being natural, so perhaps my last statement is a bit of a circular argument. The only way I can precisely answer the question is looking at it semantically, in which case competition is natural, having occurred by way of humans without additives, the environment cannot be considered an additive because it is naturally occurring. In their own environment humans developed the need to compete, thus I agree with the resolution that competitive nature is natural.

Eagleheart
12-04-2006, 08:51 AM
we have ranks and classes and the like because people are not all equal
People are unequal only because they employ their equality differently...But they have inherent rights, which only make them equal...Differency does not contradict equality I think you will agree; various traits are variously encouraged in different people, but different ranks stem from artificiality because ranks presuppose inequality in rights. Hence competition aroused by rank striving is unnatural, the objective itself/occupying that rank/ is unnatural...Thus I can only conclude/ though making conclusions does not reinforce the idea that the analysis is argumentatively completed - I admit this/can only conclude that the unnaturalness of the objective determines the unnaturalness of the struggle toward it. Given that a large part of competition involves titles and ranks I may safely assume that this competitiveness is not an encoded trait...

I think humans have a need and lust for a certain level of esteem;
But if ranks are designed to be the means to this esteem this does not make them natural - in this I suppose we agree...But how is competition indispensable to esteem? Having independent merits or being better than others is compulsory for recognition? Being better than others is not a merit in itself, so competition in this case is not to be justified by the desire/ I would even say passion / for recognition...

Outlander
12-04-2006, 09:20 AM
I will respond to the original question.............


Can a specific mode of domestic education of an individual completely stifle an innate characteristic, so as not to appear when the favourable time is set??

Yes, I think so.
Competition like any other trait, innate or otherwise, is something that should be encouraged/cultivated. The supression of competition, such as, a child who has been taught to step aside and let the others win, will destroy the all so improtant trait in that child and it will not grow up to see importance or even the reasoning behind competition. They did not get the oppurtunity to know what sucess feels like or the rewards that come with it.
(like self-esteem)
Domestic education has everything to do with the growth/development of an individual.
Nature or .........? The latter, I think.