react at ix.netcom.com react at ix.netcom.com
Sat May 16 12:17:56 EST 1998

Horter wrote:

>  I agree there is a lot of chimp in us, I've been known to grab bananas, too.
> Another important aspect is that we primates are tribal beasts.  A lot of us are
> seeking validation or a sense of community.  Humans seem to have a greater need
> to belong to something successful, to receive some sort of respect or acceptance
> from the community.  I think the so called "attack on the middle class" is
> actually a shift in the middle class sense of community.  We are constantly told
> that the "in group" use specific types of products, engage in specific types of
> activities, dress in a particular manner.  So, we who do not have these things
> want them - mainly to be part of the community.  However, there are people on
> this planet that have little more than a shirt and sharp stick and have achieved
> this sense of community.  Yes, extremely poor people can be happy, go figure.
> Kind of deflates all politico-economic arguments.
> Today's competitive economics appears to exacerbate loss of community.  One is
> either a loser, which is a community to NOT belong to, or one is still
> competing.  The only community we seem to have now is to be an economic winner
> and we all want to belong.

Yes - otherwise you lose your house and can't buy food.

>  Unfortunately, we don't know the definition of
> "winner".

The concept of what constitutes a winner has changed, but it's
definition is clear.  The most money is top dog.  Gates is top dog.  No
money is the epitome of loser. 

>   So, as I alluded in previous messages, we carve bigger sticks for
> use in our economy and keep competing until we lose to infirmity, age, or
> whatever.  We beat each other to economic death.  Even Bill Gates, who many see
> as the biggest "winner", keeps swinging his sticks - so is he REALLY a "winner"?
> I dunno.

Yep.  There are no other winners.  Gates is 'the' winner and the
prototype for what the economic powers that be expect the remainder of
us to worship.

> So what's the point of all this metaphysical crapola?  Its what my "old man"
> tried to tell me when I was a snotty nosed kid but wouldn't listen.  Find what
> you enjoy to do and do it well because the only competition that really counts
> is with yourself.  Michael Faraday is attributed as saying " ... always strive
> for success but never expect it" - which is essentially the same.

Our economic and political environment has made this very difficult to
do.  Try being a theoretical physicist without a job in academia.

>  Build your
> own community by gracefully accepting the successes of others and humbly sharing
> your own.  ALWAYS respect others, no matter what transpires.  Yep, sounds pretty
> cornball, I thought so too.  TRY IT.  It will take all the personal discipline
> and courage you can muster.  I fail all the time but I keep trying.  Maybe in
> the end that is the difference between humans and chimps.

Nope.  It takes all the character you can muster because you'll be
pitched out on the street and looking starvation in the face every time
you turn around.  It will take all the character you can muster because
when you do quality work and people don't like what you have to say, you
make enemies and get fired during the next round of downsizing.  It
doesn't matter whether you're right or not, or how good your work was. 
It doesn't matter whether you respect others.  It doesn't matter whether
you 'share' or 'gracefully accept' success.  

And the difference between man and chimp?  A matter of degree more than


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