What are reasonable goals in life and how do they effect our species and maybe a few others? That’s what I want to clarify and try to understand. I’ve made my bed and lie in it, but I wonder what’s ahead for others, especially given the temper of local, state, national and world culture.
Among us animals, males compete over the most fecund females due to the strong innate drive to replicate their genes, and females who will reproduce are preferred.
In humans, competition as a drive or motivator is evidenced between the sexes, races, religious beliefs, team sports, political parties and nations. It is most jubilantly experienced in team sports. Altruism can be seen as competition’s opposite, but some have discounted that as being evidence of seeking reciprocity or improving one’s self image.
A young man looks around and is swept away in the rush and push of cultural activity. Where he places himself initially is in his family’s niche of beliefs and status. He may be initially hammered down by his family’s cultural and financial status, or heightened. Where and how will he live out his life? What is possible and important for him? Where can he fit into the mishmosh? Could he really be the leader of the pack somewhere? At home he vies for his mother’s attention, in school for grades and maybe the honor society. He knows he’s not athletic, so he’ll put that personal competition out of mind. Has he been accepted into a clique at school? Can he find a compatible wife, and if so what kind of house can he afford? Car? Will he work for himself or someone else? Does he have a family support system or no? What do his parents expect of him? How does his race help or hinder him? Will he be a good guy or a bad guy, or perhaps a good bad guy or a bad good guy? It isn’t so easy these days to clarify slots in society and to either fight against them or occupy one’s allotted place.
Perhaps he saves his money earned after school and is gifted with a small inheritance. Over a few years and family support he graduates from community college and starts a small grassroots fast food restaurant that takes off in several counties.
Now he has a wife, an average 3-bedroom house, a good used car and two children. He has turned out to be intelligent and goodlooking. It’s dicey trying to keep up with the new generation, and his wife seeks employment. Will her job reflect well on him? Television and the magazines overrun with stories about million dollar homes and new dream cars–daily, hourly. People are getting wealthy by hook or crook, many by crook.
Maybe he can expand his statewide food chain, perhaps go national. Should he go for it? Should he try to be a leader of his pack? Put his eye on bigger and richer? What else is there to shape a life, really? Surely not settle for the status quo with others scrambling over him! When he looks to the future he sees others miles ahead of him, driving expensive cars and doing the country club bit. Does he have it in him to fight his way up the corporate ladder? Can he really become a leader of the pack, or at least someone he and his family can respect? What else is there? He’s seen too much barbarianism in church, and he does not do drugs, alcohol or infidelity.
What else is there? What can he make of his life, and why, and how?