Posted by: angmlr007 | 29/04/2011

Facing the Harsh Realities of the World around us – You’re either on the top, or at the bottom

I’m turning 21 in a couple of days, and the world is becoming one step colder. Well, not in the literal sense, but still…

We live in a dog-eat-dog world, where the motto “survival of the fittest” rules the day: Athletes compete ruthlessly to be the strongest, fastest sportsman in the world. The rich and powerful rule entire nations and move people beneath them like pawns on a chessboard. In the process, the weak find themselves at the receiving end of a slew of unrelenting punishment: poverty, oppression, bullying, and constant mindf*ck. It’s unfair. No one likes it. But we have no choice. In the words of Morpheus from The Matrix: “Welcome to the real world.”

Ooh. Morpheus. =)

Natural Selection – The Survival of the Fittest

“You heard about survival of the fittest? Guess what? We lost!” – Alex, Metro 2033 (game)

If there’s one thing that all animals know, is that there is only room for the fittest in the future ahead of them. Only the fastest gazelle will evade the capture of its predators to bear offspring that are just as fit. Similarly, only the most colourful (and therefore fittest) peacocks will be able to attract peahens and mate with them. Cheetahs that are not fast enough to hunt down their prey would not survive till the next season, and therefore would not have the opportunity to reproduce. Such is the way of life in the animal kingdom.

In Biology, biologists refer to this natural phenomenon as Natural Selection: a driving force that automatically eliminates the weaker organisms in each species with every passing generation, leaving only the strong to reproduce and pass their genes down to subsequent generations. As cruel as it may sound, it is a true reflection of the world we live in, and the survival of a species of organisms: A population of lions would certainly want their offspring to be capable of hunting and catching prey for food, so females will seek out strong males with superior genes to mate with, in hope that their offspring will have a higher chance of survival.

Drawing the parallel of this concept to be applied on the human race, I’d say that natural selection no longer becomes as evident as it is in animals. Hence, the term “survival of the fittest” is surfaced. In life, all of us are working towards a successful life. Success encompasses many aspects in many areas, but most of them would include at least one of the following: fame, popularity, prestige, pride, career development, money, wealth, family, social highlife, etc. He or she who is capable of achieving success, would be able to get ahead of his or her peers, and is able to rise higher in the ladder, above the rest whom continue to struggle amongst themselves at the bottom. Such is the life of our competitive, cut-throat, fast-paced world today.

An Interesting Conversation

I had an interesting conversation with a friend. It just so happened that this friend of mine placed a trust in someone and that trust was “broken” – how it was “broken” still escapes me to this day, but it doesn’t matter. I tried asking for more information, but it seems like my friend didn’t want to tell me. So she was having this conversation with me that goes something like this:

I shall refer to this friend as ‘X’, and me as ‘Me’

X: There are people in this world who like to place themselves on a moral high ground, but eventually reveal themselves to be self-centered snobs serving their personal interests. Such a disappointment.
Me: That is perfectly normal. The world around us is filled with such people, particularly the rich and successful. They like to paint themselves to be better than they actually are. Ironically, it’s the normal people that have a lower chance of behaving like this.
X: But I’ve a friend – a normal friend – who misplaced my trust and played mind games with me. I don’t like being lied to.
Me: Oh. Now that’s a shame. Who likes being lied to? No offence, but at the end of the day, we are responsible for ourselves if we find ourselves at the losing end. We let ourselves get taken advantage of if we don’t put on the necessary protection.
X:  What nonsense! Do you think it’s acceptable for someone superior to you to play you out, just like that? You are clearly at a losing end; you won’t be able to fend for yourself! It doesn’t help if there has been misplaced trust too…
Me: … and such is the sad reality of life. Face up to it. That is how the powerful triumph over the weak. You are either at the top, or at the bottom. You are either the hunter, or the hunted. Meritocracy is but an excuse to allow the powerful players to exploit the weak. Sure, not everything is equal in life, but that doesn’t mean that it is unfair. You will only get taken advantage of if you let yourself be.
X: I’m not talking about working life. I’m talking about basic humanity. That’s why it’s people with such concepts as what you mentioned that cause this sad move towards such an unfair world. The idea you mentioned is but being used as a comforter to ease your natural human instincts.
Me: But it doesn’t change the fact that the world we live in today is like that. This is reality, not your utopia. It doesn’t matter whether it is about work or life. The same skills of survival carry through with us everywhere we go. You will only be exploited if you let yourself be.
X: Oh come on, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that it sucks to know that my friend is behaving in such a way, taking advantage of my trust and all…

Till this day, I wonder if I had been a little too harsh with my friend. The world is certainly an unforgiving place, not an utopia filled with sugar, spice, and everything nice. Perhaps there could have been room for a little sympathy and compassion, but I guess it wasn’t forthcoming in this instance. In that aspect, I feel a little guilty.

Regardless, that conversation left me thinking about the harsh realities of life. I thought about the words exchanged, particularly what my friend mentioned:

“… I’m not talking about working life. I’m talking about basic humanity. That’s why it’s people with such concepts as what you mentioned that cause this sad move towards such an unfair world. The idea you mentioned is but being used as a comforter to ease your natural human instincts…”

It’s sad, but it’s true. There is no room for second-best. Someone has to be losing out, and someone has to take the bottom-feeder position in a ladder. It’s not unfair. It is life, and we live with it. Rather, you either live with it, trump it, or bite the dust.

Footnote: Thanks to Roslyn for the awesome ‘Cat with Mouse in Mouth’ photo idea. Love it to bits. LOL.



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