support not struggle
April 22, 2020, 3:24 pm
Filed under: chronotopes, the sweet life | Tags: , , ,

The totality of life it seems, in the contemporary world, is competition and struggle: family life, education, work and career, even friendship. For the most part competition today is seen as a good thing: it keeps us on our toes, makes our work and thinking sharper, is good for the bottom line. But for many competition and struggle is less than ideal – I for one can’t see the point – and there’s lots of evidence that the positives are easily matched and often outweighed by the negatives: the unequal outcomes of the meritocratic system logically end in jealousy, fear, and despair.

We are told that competition is not only good but also ingrained in our natures. Is that true?  Below is a counter argument: humans are motivated, throughout our evolution, by love and shared connection. And in our evolution and by our affinity one for another, we don’t naturally struggle against each other, on the contrary we naturally support each other.

Man is appealed to to be guided in his acts, not merely by love […] but by the perception of his oneness with each human being. In the practice of mutual aid, which we can retrace to the earliest beginnings of evolution, we thus find the positive and undoubted origin of our ethical conceptions; and we can affirm that in the ethical progress of man, mutual support not mutual struggle — has had the leading part.

Peter Kropotkin, 1902, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution