Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Competition = Life

Thomas Paine's Corner


By Sylvain Lamoureux


If all people are competitors, competition is just business, and business is equal to livelihood, then competition must equal livelihood which equals life. Self-preservation is the most basic of animal instincts. When cornered, human and non-human animals will do almost anything to live.

This is the ultimate form of control. The system that has prevailed for centuries has done everything to reduce humans to their lowest common denominator: “look out for number one!” (Divide and conquer) In doing so, everything becomes a competition which has been reinforced through the teaching in schools, the daily work ethic, and mainstream media. ‘Dog eat dog’ competition is portrayed as virtuous and inevitable. Don’t question it, just accept it.

Competition is good, it drives forward innovation (define innovation– it should not mean the next great cup-holder) and provides incentive. Incentive for what though? It seems to me it is solely to make money. Therefore I would be remiss if I did not conclude that:


When something as horrific as the above statement is generally accepted through propaganda, media and schooling, it essentially becomes an unspeakable truth. To speak it brings a denouncement that one is “over-simplifying” things—backed up with statements such as, “One cannot live without money,” “we all have to work,” “you have to do your share,” “you gotta eat” and “there are no free rides.” All of these canards have been spoken over and over during conversations with ignorant, educated and uneducated persons throughout the years. An education level does not matter in seeing the truth, or in spouting programmed responses. Therefore one can be highly educated but ignorant. I have even tried to explain that these knee-jerk justifications are the same, word for word, across the board—programmed, to which came such memorable response as, “Well then, it must be true if everyone else says it”. My favorite though is still “And in your Utopian world, who’s going to dive in the shit?” I just don’t bother with such brain-washed boobs anymore, as they will defend ‘their’ system to the death.

This separation of the self from the collective frame of mind, society and nature itself has led to where we are today and what we have become. This blind acceptance of our circumstances and the notion that “capitalism must prevail” is a collective mind that is being controlled be another collective mind. The wishes of the few are carried out by the many in that the few control MONEY and therefore control LIFE.

Through fear and intimidation the few enact laws and protections for the “property” that they have amassed–all at the bequest of the many. “This could happen to you.” “He seemed like such a nice man, bit of a loner.” “Lock your doors.” “Put valuables in the trunk.” All such admonitions are intended to protect ‘you’. NOT!! They are designed to protect property. And while amassing property we all go crazy. One can insure property against theft. Let that sink in. I want to pay someone MONEY every month just in case someone else wants to steal it. Or better yet I want to insure (MONEY) my property against the likelihood that the company that manufactured it screwed up and it breaks prematurely.


Now let that sink in and let’s take a ride to the early 1900’s in a Ford. Now Henry liked the idea of making money by having people buy his stuff so much that he came up with the concept of “planned obsolescence.” Or ‘how to have your shit break so that the customer will have to buy a replacement.’ With this also comes the parts shortages due to change and factory upgrades, yadda yadda. There is a cycle though for buying of goods and that has been shortened over the years, especially with gadgets – think of the “i-universe”.

Now for some calculations–let’s say that the average person pulls in $40,000 a year (yeah right). That person has 3 weeks off (again, yeah right) and works 40 hours a week Monday to Friday (oh boy). That works out to about $21 per hour. That means that $21 = 1 hour of your life. If life expectancy is 72 and one applies that to every hour of life a human life is “worth” $13,245,120. Last I heard in an old GM memo it was $200,000. Hmmmmm.

That means that $1500 MacBook that you just purchased is worth roughly 71.5 hours or 3 days of your life. If someone steals your MacBook, how much time should they spend in jail? There are said to be 20 million people doing time in the U.S. And that number is increasing by 1000 per week. How many did crimes against property? And will they ever change their ways? I read news articles on people who get released after serving 25-30 years in jail. Are they rehabilitated? Probably. Will they survive in this new world? Maybe not, but the public at large loves to demonize them and hold their past over them forever. Good luck.

Where does this mean streak of competitiveness come from? Why must people always try to make themselves look better than others? Is it that they have no control over their own lives and therefore need to control someone else, even as indirectly as holding a grudge? Is it that the fear of loss of life and possessions that has increased over the years is causing rational thought to be consumed?


Why within all the advancements that we have made in our own humanity and our environment can we not reach for commonality and humanity rather than the self? Have the few really devolved the many to the point where they are merely surviving, acting on base instincts, and desperately trying to protect what little they have accumulated in order to feel fulfilled as a life force?

What are the answers? I wish I had them. There are those who say that if you don’t know how to fix it, then shut up. For them I have no time. In order to find solutions, problems must first be identified. And in order to find the correct solution, the root problem needs to be identified. The competition does not end at the individual level; there are many groups that have similar agendas yet compete against each other.

Do we all come together and live in a ‘communal’ community (with establishment hacks scaring us with reminders of Koresh)? Do we prepare a covert or overt revolution (with visions of activists and terrorists)? Or do we simply accept and carry on? Which path shall we be able to live with? How do we mobilize? What do we need? How do we escape the insanity?


Also see more of the latest from Thomas Paine's Corner:

Zoo Culture: Superficial Relationships of Domination and Control

Britain's Digital Surveillance: Hiding from Her Majesty's 'Black Boxes'


  1. Thanks for hosting my article.
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  2. Thanks for your links Sylvain.
    I've got you bookmarked and will be back.
    Take care.