Rivalry

Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.

Emulation is not rivalry. Emulation is the child of ambition; rivalry is the unlovable daughter of envy.

He is no true man who ever treats women with anything but the profoundest respect. She is no true woman who cannot inspire and does not take care to enforce this. Any real rivalry of the sexes is the sheerest folly and most unnatural nonsense.

Insatiable ambition, the thirst of raising their respective fortunes, not so much from real want as from the desire to surpass others, inspired all men with a vile propensity to injure one another, and with a secret jealousy, which is the more dangerous, as it puts on the mask of benevolence, to carry its point with greater security. In a word, there arose rivalry and competition on the one hand, and conflicting interests on the other, together with a secret desire on both of profiting at the expense of others. All these evils were the first effects of property, and the inseparable attendants of growing inequality.

Rivalry of scholars advances wisdom.

Unless growth is traced to its basic source — competition in a grow-or-die market society — the demand for controlling growth is meaningless as well as unattainable. We can no more arrest growth while leaving the market intact than we can arrest egoism while leaving rivalry intact.

Our form of government does not enter into rivalry with the institutions of others. We do not copy our neighbors, but are an example to them. It is true that we are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not of the few. But while the laws secure equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, the claim of excellence is also recognized; and when a citizen is in any way distinguished he is preferred to the public service, not as a matter of privilege, but as the reward of merit. "Neither is poverty a bar, for a man may benefit his country whatever be the obscurity of his conditions. There is no exclusiveness in our public life, and in our private intercourses we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes; we do not give him sour looks which, though harmless, are not pleasant.

The rivalry of scholars advances science.

Peace is an armistice in a war that is continuously going on.

And so the arrival at new possibility, at new reality, by the de­struction of the self through facing up to the anxiety of the terror of existence. The self must be destroyed, brought down to nothing, in order for self-transcendence to begin. Then the self can begin to relate itself to powers beyond itself. It has to thrash around in its finitude, it has to "die," in order to question that finitude, in order to see beyond it. To what? Kierkegaard answers: to infinitude, to absolute transcendence, to the Ultimate Power of Creation which made finite creatures. Our modern understanding of psycho-dynamics confirms that this progression is very logical: if you admit that you are a creature, you accomplish one basic thing: you demolish all your unconscious power linkages or supports. As we saw in the last chapter—and it is worth repeating here—each child grounds himself in some power that transcends him. Usually it is a combination of his parents, his social group, and the symbols of his society and nation. This is the unthinking web of support which allows him to believe in himself, as he functions on the automatic security of delegated powers. He doesn't of course admit to himself that he lives on borrowed powers, as that would lead him to ques­tion his own secure action, the very confidence that he needs. He has denied his creatureliness precisely by imagining that he has secure power, and this secure power has been tapped by unconsciously leaning on the persons and things of his society. Once you expose the basic weakness and emptiness of the person, his help­lessness, then you are forced to re-examine the whole problem of power linkages. You have to think about reforging them to a real source of creative and generative power. It is at this point that one can begin to posit creatureliness vis-a-vis a Creator who is the First Cause of all created things, not merely the second-hand, inter­mediate creators of society, the parents and the panoply of cultural heroes. These are the social and cultural progenitors who them­selves have been caused, who themselves are embedded in a web of someone else's powers.