I wonder if the modern man is infected with a dangerous disease, observing the misery he is into. Let me name it "Competitis" (Is there any such disease with this name already?). Keep in mind that I am not a Doctor by profession. I use "Competitis" solely for the sake of this article to convey my thoughts.
Some symptoms of Competitis:
1) The patient has unending ambitions toward increasing his wealth. The patient keeps worrying about how to earn more, primarily for proving that he can earn more than others. He will not bother compromising his integrity to achieve this.
2) The patient's main point of discussion with others revolves around questions like "How much are you making?" or "What are your savings?".
3) The patient is unusually obsessed about 'social status' and may get offended quite easily if someone makes a negative remark about his 'status'.
4) The patient may pursue other women even though he is happily married. He does this for his ego gratification, or to show off that he is 'talented' than other men.
5) The patient has no concern about what is truly good for his family members. What matters more to him is whether he projects his family as 'respectable' to the society, and what a 'respectable' person he is.
6) If the patient finds anyone living a righteous life, he will not be contented until he makes himself convinced that there is something wrong and weird with them.
7) The patient worries excessively about the future and is not able to enjoy the present, even though things seem to be 'in place'.
8) The patient tries to gain attention to himself in every single aspect.
Though the infection of Competitis may bring in pleasure initially, it can eventually lead to:
- Losing peace with the self
- Turbulence in conscience
- Compromising honesty and justice
- Deterioration of health
- Losing soul
The causes of infection for Competitis can be many, though it comes down to one thing; self-centeredness. Some of them are mentioned below with a brief example.
1) Man of 'Common sense'
The man of common sense thinks that anything which does not produce worldly benefits, is not practical. So he encourages others to pursue what he is pursuing; to settle comfortably in life even at the cost of being dishonest. This man thinks that life is all about a nice home, a comfortable and secure job and a hefty savings account, and nothing more. To make things worse, he looks down on people who are living a life of integrity, and regards them as ignorant, idealistic and impractical.
2) Family members
Sometimes family members are so much concerned about living up to the 'status' that they put a lot of pressure on themselves in order to obtain more land and gold. They do this so they can boast of their possessions before their relatives and friends. At first, this may seem to be of 'love' and 'compassion', but this can get extremely dangerous depending on how greedy a particular family member is.
Our society does not seem to appreciate the creative learning among children. For example, this happens when children make intelligent, creative and sincere efforts in learning more to discover something new. Our society only admires the 'successful' results and how well these results can pay off in getting money. This can discourage people from pursuing what they are genuinely passionate about, and force them to compare themselves with others and succumb to an ugly rat race.
Getting help with Competitis:
The healing process will begin when the patient realizes these facts:
1) Life is much more than food and clothing
2) Not everything is under one's control
3) Success means living a life free of sin
4) What is the point in winning the world and losing one's soul?
100% of us will die someday. If we keep that in mind and try not to compete with others in order to please selfish and immature people, and instead learn to respect our unique identities and gifts, the healing process will begin. Then our lives will be filled with more joy.
To derive my conclusion, I will borrow from the writings of C S Lewis which he called as "Good infection" from Jesus Christ. This good infection can fully heal the bad infection of Competitis. Those of us who want to resist this good infection because of Competitis, will find it disturbing when Christ said "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it".
Finally I want to end this article with a thoughtful quote from C S Lewis: "If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end. If you look for comfort, you will not get comfort or truth; only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair".