Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wot's the difference?

There is an understanding that people are 3rd world or 1st world, "white" or other, male or female, rich or poor, literate or not, primary, 2ndary, tertiary educated or not, married or single, hetero or homo. And no doubt more dichotomies. But are these the best way to sort people, if that is what you need to do?
In our society "married" or "single" seems to have become fairly irrelevant. Once I used to, from curiosity, discreetly gawp for a wedding ring: I don't think that I have even thought about doing that for about seven years.
Once, a hyphenated name was a rather snobbish indication of exalted status. Now, I just assume that it means that the parents are not married, and I couldn't give a figurative.
The biggest differences now seem to me to be between the aggressive and non, the vindictive and non, the competitive and non,........but mostly, the ambitious and non.

"Fling away ambition," says one of Shakespeare's bods. "By that sin fell the angels. How can man then, the image of his Maker hope to win by it?"
Irrespective of whether or not you are hoping to win the image of your maker, I find a piquant attraction in the idea that competition, aggression and ambition are inborn negative traits that we should aim to educate out of children.


Penny said...

When we’re younger, we categorise or judge people, I think, because doing this also categorises ourselves and by giving us a niche to fit into we feel more comfortable with who we are and our own place in the world.
I don’t mean that most of us do this in a snobby or negatively judgemental sort of way, although there are many who do.
Then, I think as we mature and discover more about ourselves and feel comfortable with who we are, we find that we no longer categorise others.

I believe competition, aggression, and ambition are inborn traits that are in all of us to greater or lesser degrees. They can be covered with a veneer of civilisation and education, but remove them? I don’t think that’s possible or necessarily desirable. Isn’t it better to concentrate, as good parents try to do, on channelling these traits into more civilised ways of expression?

Competition, aggression, and ambition are not always negative; they are also responsible – the impetus and the catalyst - for everything beautiful that humankind has created.

Charlie said...

Once we get past the "what" we are, we are able to see "who" we are—both in ourselves and others.

Purple Cow said...

There was a time when ambition did not enter the spectrum. People just accepted their lot in life without expecting to ever leave the status they had been born into...Perhaps ambition is a negative result of the industrial age that wishes people to be slaves to work. Interesting post...Thanks for sharing your concerns. I agree with what Charlie says.

Frances said...

Hi Penny: You have left creativity out of your line up, in creating the valuable.
I should have said that I had an "interest" in rather than "attraction".
Yes, it's just because these qualities are innate, that the issue arises as to whether we should encourage or modify them. Western society promotes them. Should we hose them down a little?
Dr, you know the great missionary I mean, who actually ever made only one convert,.. found soon after arriving in Africa, that to convert them to Xtianity, he first had to implant into communities the concept of individuality, selfishness, and the concept of sin.

Frances said...

Purple Cow:
Achievement is not the same as ambition.
Achievement is thumbs up, and the industrial age agreed.