Our age offers us two views of competition.
We can choose to accept the war of all against all, in which no man survives but the most unforgiving. Or, we can choose the anti competitive view in which no man can be allowed to fall, nor succeed too greatly.
The former suggests a cold, evolutionary logic toward our fellow men. Each is a tool that might hinder or increase our success. Accordingly, no relationship is real beyond its value. No rivalry exists beyond its threat to resources. There is no honour, only life and death.
The latter view seems to drown us in a warming blanket. Competition is neutered so as to become a toy game to play at. As a result, the fruits of virulent competition are killed. Work that results in total success is pointless, and the motivation to preserve one's life is needless.
But we all feel a sort of admiration for elements of each. The powerful hero, relentlessly conquering his foes unapologetically winning. The man who picks up his fellow man in battle, even when he is at his weakest. These archetypes ring true on both accounts.
They ring true for a reason. Our instincts do not point us toward a transactional world of competition, nor do they point us toward a soft and cushioned realm of ease.
Rather, they point toward strength. Strength does not see a fellow man as an enemy to be defeated. This is insecurity, borne of a desire to translate honour into a cash value. But nor does strength adore weakness. It knows when a man must fall to pick himself up, and when he can be given a hand.
Competition is a beautiful and essential thing in our soul. Not just competition in a fun environment, so too competition of a vital kind. But competition is not a measurement of resources. It is a battle to become the most good, strong, reliable, and to be wholly sincere in their pursuit.
Men who refuse to compete will wither. They will watch the world pass them by without a second glance. And when there is no strength there is no helping hand. But these values are never too far from our grasp. We must merely reach out and take them.