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Vort

Competition is wicked

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I believe competition is wicked, the very definition of the telestial, Darwinian world in which we find ourselves. Competition is about being "the best". It's not about being particularly good, just better than everyone around us. It is the very definition of pride. It is the very antithesis of Christlike behavior. Jesus never said, "Be ye therefore better than your neighbor."

Pride convinces us that unless we are as good as (or preferably better than) our acquaintances, we are inadequate. Worse, pride tells us that tearing another person (business, etc.) down it acceptable, because it increases our status in the pecking order.

I understand that our world functions on competition. I understand that the man (or woman) who utterly refuses to compete will be eaten alive, figuratively or perhaps literally, by the world. I understand that our economic system is defined by competition, and that maintenance of "healthy competition" is vital to our way of life.

I also understand the attraction and even benefits of sports, which are completely defined by head-to-head competition. My sons wrestle, and I doubt there is a more deeply and fundamentally competitive sport. It is a "team sport" only in theory. In practice, it's you and the other guy, each striving to win mastery over his opponent. And I support and encourage my sons' efforts, despite the fact that it's pure competition. When my middle son won his district tournament, he did it by climbing over other boys, boys who shed tears on losing and who bravely tried to smile despite their deep disappointment -- as I have seen my own boys do on many occasions.

I really do understand all that. I still say that competition is wicked. It leads to jealousy, discontent, and lack of unity. You cannot love and support your brother or sister as you ought if you're constantly striving to be better than they are.

Note that "competing with yourself" is an oxymoron. I'm talking about actual competition, not verbal games. I am convinced that competition is wicked, and is a feature of our fallen world and NOT the celestial realms where we hope to be -- and which we are supposed to emulate to prepare ourselves for such glory.

Responses and reasoned disagreements most welcome.

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I only have two words to add:

I win! :D

I don't know that I'd classify competition as evil, per se. It seems to me to be an inevitable part of our existence. When I applied for my job, there were two positions open and about 8 candidates. This was, in essence, a competition. I was fortunate to win one of those spots, and I'm happy that I did. But that doesn't mean I take great joy that someone else didn't.

That may be one of the fascinating aspects of competition--it is laced with dual emotions. For the winner, the joy of winning, but the (hopefully) empathy for the loser. For the loser, the disappointment of loss, but the appreciation for the opponents' efforts.

What becomes problematic is when we only feel one of those emotions upon winning or losing. Which, perhaps, is why sports and other competitions are an important part of growing up. We need to instill a sense of sportsmanship. If we never feel that empathy for our opponents, all we do is make enemies, and never friends.

Oh, and I win! :D

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I don't know that I'd classify competition as evil, per se. It seems to me to be an inevitable part of our existence. When I applied for my job, there were two positions open and about 8 candidates. This was, in essence, a competition. I was fortunate to win one of those spots, and I'm happy that I did. But that doesn't mean I take great joy that someone else didn't.

It's much more pervasive than that. The dating world is relentlessly competitive. This world caters to our Darwinian instincts (and as a believer in organic evolution, I mean that literally). Finding a spouse can be the most competitive thing we ever do. For me, fortunately, it was not. My wife was being pursued (in a dating sense) by several other guys, but I was the only one she liked. But what if I had "won" my wife away from some other guy who was pursuing her and who she liked, but I convinced her I was the better catch? Where is the Godliness, the Christlike love and compassion, in such a scenario?

I cannot make sense of how competition should fit into our existence. I did not say competition was "evil", as in Satanic or devilish. I said it was "wicked", as in a part of our fallen state. I abhor competition, even as I engage in it and occasionally revel in my victories.

Bottom line: The observation that competition is pervasive and is a part of the reality of our existence is granted, but does nothing to diminish my belief that it is wicked.

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I did not say competition was "evil", as in Satanic or devilish.

You're right. My apologies for synonymizing. Crap...I lose!

I said it was "wicked", as in a part of our fallen state. I abhor competition, even as I engage in it and occasionally revel in my victories.

What? You? Say it ain't so!

Bottom line: The observation that competition is pervasive and is a part of the reality of our existence is granted, but does nothing to diminish my belief that it is wicked.

Hmmmm...I'm not sure I have any opinion on this at all. If I were to argue the point, it'd simply be for the sport of it. I do enjoy sparring with you, Vort. But on this subject, my heart really isn't in it.

One lame attempt...does it matter at all that competition has the ability to motivate us to be better?

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You're right. My apologies for synonymizing. Crap...I lose!

I was specifically trying not to criticize your word choice. In general usage, I think the two words are largely synonymous. I was drawing a fine (and perhaps artificial) distinction to try to explain my point.

If I were to argue the point, it'd simply be for the sport of it.

Oooh. A subtle thread self-reference. Well played, sir.

One lame attempt...does it matter at all that competition has the ability to motivate us to be better?

Perhaps this is the essence of my feeling on the matter: I am not sure that competition does motivate us to be better, at least not in any meaningful eternal sense. But I think in many instances, it does motivate us to be worse, to engage in wicked and destructive behavior toward our brothers, or even ourselves, in the name of "winning".

I still intend to watch every BYU football game this coming season. I simply don't pretend that my craving to watch BYU win is motivated by a deep spiritual desire to spread the gospel.

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Guest

I thought the Holy Ghost was in competition - to win our spirits...

What did I miss?

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I thought the Holy Ghost was in competition - to win our spirits...

What did I miss?

If the Holy Ghost is "in competition", it is with Satan. Satan is not a child of God with infinite worth and divine potential who might be injured by the competition.

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In a true free-market society, competition is the BEST way to ensure that quality goods are brought to that market and continue to serve the public.

Monopolies are generally NOT good for society... but that's government getting in the way. There are always ways to improve a service and collect a reasonable profit for doing so. (Unless you are the government setting up the monopoly...)

As far as comparing oneself to another... you need to be careful. The Jones's are up to their eyeballs in debt... or they pull in 7+ figures per year. You only see the surface of the story, not the income and balance sheets. Don't compare yourself until you can do a full comparison. (Good luck getting access to those books.)

But if someone is doing a better job than you, you have two options:

- Whine, complain, sulk & moan about how unfair life is.

- Do something to improve the job YOU do.

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If the Holy Ghost is "in competition", it is with Satan. Satan is not a child of God with infinite worth and divine potential who might be injured by the competition.

Ah, but he once was of infinite worth (which leads one to wonder if you can ever lose your infinite worth), who was injured by his loss in the competition with Christ in the premortal existence.

Which, I suppose, is actually justification your point. If not for that competition, there'd be a whole host of spirits who wouldn't have lost their chance to enter mortality.

Look at that! competition is satanic! :lol:

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I thought the Holy Ghost was in competition - to win our spirits...

What did I miss?

Interesting point. Both God and Satan strive, or compete, for the souls of men. Obviously that Satan does something is not an argument that it is celestial, but if God engages in something does it not then occur in a Celestial realm? Though one could of course argue that the competition does not occur amongst those in a Celestial realm because the source of is obviously from a lack of unity between Satan and God (which would be a cross 'Kingdom' contest of sorts). I suppose it probably boils down to how you define competition and how you want to split things (If everyone in the Celestial Kingdom is competing in unison towards a common goal against a non-Celestial 'force' is there competition in the Celestial Kingdom? Or only outside of it?).

Edited by Dravin

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Ah, but he once was of infinite worth (which leads one to wonder if you can ever lose your infinite worth), who was injured by his loss in the competition with Christ in the premortal existence.

Which, I suppose, is actually justification your point. If not for that competition, there'd be a whole host of spirits who wouldn't have lost their chance to enter mortality.

Look at that! competition is satanic! :lol:

Joking aside, I think you are spot on. We know very little about the exact nature of the premortal "competition", with vague and somewhat nonsensical ideas about "competing plans" and such. But what we know for sure is that the being once called Lucifer wanted God's power and honor:

"urely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor...Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down" [Moses 4:1, 3]

This is unadulterated pride. Satan was in competition with the Father, and the reason was pride.

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For the most part, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment. I have always had a hard time understanding competition and remember someone once telling me it was because I "didn't have a single competitive bone in my body". I just don't feel the thrill of competition. I don't enjoy it. I don't hate it. I just don't feel it at all.

When I play a game with others, I enjoy the game for the game. I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I enjoy the physical or mental strain (depending on the type of game we are talking about) strain, but I never really "push" myself as others do. If I am capable of "winning", but my loss would make the game more enjoyable, I lose. If I am not capable of winning, that is probably when I "push" myself the most, because I see an opportunity for my own growth- like when I'm playing chess against my dad. I never really feel disappointed about "losing", and I never feel particularly "victorious" about winning. I care more about making sure everyone is having a good time than about the outcome of the game.

I do believe that competition is "wicked" in the sense that it is a part of our fallen state. However, I still don't think "wicked" is quite the right term to describe it. Sure, quite a bit of wickedness can result from overcompetitiveness, from using competition to put ourselves higher than others and throw them down in the depths. But that does not make the competition itself anymore wicked than say... a gun is wicked. Both are tools that, when used properly, get an important job done that would not be necessary if we were not in a fallen state, but can very very easily be used improperly.

Competition begets growth. It culls out the weaker "individuals" to make the "all" stronger. Take for instance nature's "survival of the fittest". A herd of deer will compete for mates with displays of strength and speed, both necessary skills for survival. This allows the strongest, fastest deer to pass their genes on, making the herd stronger and faster. The wolves "cull" the herd by hunting the weak and sickly deer, also encouraging competition and strengthening the overall herd.

We have been placed in this lower state, where competition is necessary for survival, so that we might grow and be strengthened. I do not think "self-competition" is oxymoronic here, as we can cut out our own weaknesses to make ourselves stronger. Physically, when we exercise our bodies resistance is necessary to build stronger muscles and "cull" our fat and flab. When we have a particular spiritual weakness, or "favorite sin", we are faced with temptation and resistance that could pull us down OR make us stronger if we turn to the Lord for help in developing an "exercise program" of sorts to make our weak things become strong.

Where we see a problem is where we incorporate competition in areas that do not need it. Even nature is not 100% reliant on competition. There is a sense of cooperation and protection of the weak in many species. Wolves, again, are heavily cooperative and coordinated. Without a well-oiled team, they would not be successful in their hunts. They do have a sort of pecking order but do not necessarily compete to be the "best". Each wolf helps in different areas depending on its own particular skills, and they help those who are injured or ill, because every member of their team is important. Other species have been known to help their sick or injured compatriots, even when it would not necessarily be in their best interest to do so. If this were "pure" competition, these animals would not do this. They would leave the weak to die and continue to pursue their own strengths. When they became weak, they would be left to die while a new strength rose.

When we are so competitive that we cut others down and leave them in the dust of our "success", then we have used competition to act wickedly. We have upset the balance in favor of personal endeavors instead of charity. When the weak "individuals" we are cutting out are people, competition has gone too far. There is a balance of competition and cooperation necessary so that all may face the "resistance" of this life and grow stronger instead of being left behind.

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I don't believe competition is inherently evil unless it is practiced with an air of superiority rather than respecting everyone for doing the best they could.

Can you expand on this? How can I honestly seek to best you and come out on top while still honestly helping you to do the best you're capable of doing?

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Can you expand on this? How can I honestly seek to best you and come out on top while still honestly helping you to do the best you're capable of doing?

It's simple. You don't have to cut anyone down to be best, although many people do. You just have to build yourself up to the task.

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If you are bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled than I am, then I will never beat you unless I find a way to pull you down. That's competition.

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Vort,

Where we diverge in our principles about competition is in the idea that winning is always good and losing is always bad.

I don't subscribe to that thinking.

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Yes, competition is wicked. But shopping for the best deals on shoes is vanity.

"Take no care for what you wear..." -Jesus.

Let's face it. It's fun to play, but I play to win. I don't care if I loose. If you are a good sport you play to win and enjoy the game any way if you loose.

It's not about winning it's about having fun. But when the question comes up...who won? You will normally answer with "we did or they did"

We are grown ups, we can handle it.

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I think in coversations such as this we can easily get caught up in semantics.

I see little to no difference in the terms "evil" and "wicked".

I did pick up on the word "discontent" in the original post thought and in the case of competition I find that to be more positive thann negative.

When we are discontent, the normal reaction would be to change what is making us discontent. Often doing this means taking on new challenges, higher education, learned academic and social skills and yes even inprovement in our spiritual quest.

I don't think competition is the problem, rather poor sportsmanship within a competition is.

I used to teach job interview skills for a specialized vocational training school so that adult graduating students would be able to compete for the job. Let's face it, you can have 20 people with a 4.0 education but three position openings. The three that land the jobs are the three that can best compete for the job and impress the employer that they are the better choice. And more often than not the ones that are chosen have the most poise, confidence and interpersonal communication skills.

So lets say thre are chosen and there are 17 left. If there was no competition and everything was just random selection, then no one would have motivation or incentive to better their skills and increase their opportunities.

On several occasions in my life I have had similar conversations with people some LDS, some Jews, and some secular regarding the afterlife. There are many thta have no literal concept of what is most (outside LDS) referred to a heaven. I can tell you countless people are not that focused on "heaven" because their vision of walking around playing harps and living in a state of bliss but no optortunity for challenge, fulfillment and individual purpose is not attractive.

I believe that if we are competitive then we strive to be the very best that we can be, and in so doing yes we will be better at certain things than others are, (which just may motivate them). If we reach our highest potential we must not be condescending to others that have not reached theirs though. And when we do emerge as winners, with that achievement comes responsibility of sharing our ideas, our time and our resources.

As for sports, again it is not the competition that is unhealthy, it is the lack of good sportsmanship. Those that don't win a game or competition should lose gracefully, congratulate winners and strive to improve to become winners. And the winners should not sit on their laurels, but use the celebration of their win to uphold others who stive to become winners too.

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