26Aug

The Pressing Need to be Better Than

This universal pressure here in America permeates everything, in almost every way.  People have a need to be better than someone, almost any one will do.  Most of the time, this need manifests itself blatantly.  Men who buy the biggest truck, they may have no need for a truck, but they must display the largest truck.  Women who spend an entire paycheck at the spa, getting manicures and pedicures, as if to say, I don’t have to work, look at my manicure: perfect.  In these situations, for the most part, it is a matter of successful marketing and is harmless, except perhaps to the wallet.

However, there is nothing harmless about the crushing need that certain sectors of our society have to be better than entire races and cultures.  This “being better” ideology allows a belief system to justify harsh and hate filled judgment of others.  This harsh judgment separates humans from each other and consequently allows cruelty to proliferate.

What I don’t understand is where does it come from?  In almost every conversation, particularly in business and social settings I see the conversations slipping into comparisons of wealth, status, intelligence, to say nothing of displays of wealth and privilege.

Not all societies have this need, and certainly there are gradients to the need.  This need is causing more destruction than can be counted.  One-up-man ship is a relationship killer, so we can readily acknowledge what it is doing to the melting pot of America.  Throughout our short history we have punished and denigrated all new cultures, indeed, beginning with the genocide of the American Indian.

Long term world peace is a real goal.  The attainment of such peace must begin with the individual who is willing to be equal in rights and privileges to all other individuals.   That can be a scary thought, as we can’t seem to imagine the abundance that is enough for everyone.  We want our own wealth and an assurance of survival.

As long as America grants person status to corporations and idolizes wealth and the wealthy, we will struggle with equality.  That is shameful for a nation founded on the tenets of equality and emancipation.

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