Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Competition and Suicide

Just out of the blue...

I think Competition is the single most powerful engine of dehumanization in the modern world - this idea that people can be reduced to their skills, and that we can measure the worth of their skills in quantifiable terms and then rank them accordingly feels like an affront to me and yet what can we do if we want to survive, other than to acquiesce to all this Darwinian struggle? Competition drains out all the life and humanity from people.

I was also thinking about Fassbinder's film In a year of thirteen moons for some reason (even though I haven't seen it recently) specially the question whether Suicide is an act of affirmation (saying YES) or an act of negation (saying NO). Fassbinder thinks it is the former and I seem to agree or else if it is a negation of a negation, which is ultimately same as affirmation. Life to me feels like an act of constant resistance - resistance against this impulse to say yes, ultimately futile but that doesn't matter. The Melancholy of Resistance - that's life.


Kubla Khan said...

Isn't everything that we lament about, every desire our own creation?
then why lament, why moan?

these words like negation, affirmation.....they sound hollow sometimes. i think if one is not physically well, then everything else is useless. even great art for if it exists after us and inspite of us, then what use?

Alok said...

I was actually wondering if it is something that can be thought of in impersonal terms, something that is independent of one's personal subjectivity or feelings... is there a way to see this impulse to die and resistance to it in a objective manner...? Most likely not.

Anonymous said...

Competition and struggle are the way of life. We live to compete and struggle so as to propagate our genes. That is all life is all about.At least competition gives you a momentary joy sometimes.
Otherwise imagine a life where there is no need of any competition, how dull,boring and full of melancholy it would be. At least competition and daily struggles take our thoughts away from the sad realities of life.
I think a hard working and ignorant peasant who just knows to struggle and earn his daily bread is much more happy than "happy and rich" people whose brains are always struggling with painful realities like love,separation and existential confusions.

Alok said...

We live to compete and struggle so as to propagate our genes. That is all life is all about.

not a very cheerful notion but probably true. I am surprised how my own views have changed over the past few years. After reading Dawkins, Pinker et al I used to feel liberated by this notion but now it feels cruel and inhumane. life as a cruel and senseless sport.

Life struggle is a little different from what I meant by competition. I was just thinking about how we agree to reduce ourselves to quantifiable criteria just to compete with others, all the while knowing that we are much more than the aggregate of any such criteria.