English 4 Section 21
Competition and Happiness
In Theodore Isaac Rubin’s essay, Competition and Happiness, from his book Reconciliation: Inner peace in an Age of Anxiety, he believes that people’s ability to lead happy and satisfying lives is limited by competition. Rubin believes competition brings out the worst in people. Competition encourages emotions such as jealousy, envy, and paranoia. These negative emotions indicate that competition creates a negative and sometimes hostile environment. The negative atmosphere that competition creates would then limit people’s abilities to lead happy lives. I agree with Rubin’s views between the links of happiness and competition because I feel people cannot lead happy lives if they are feeling jealousy, envy, or paranoia. According to Rubin, “Competition is a residual of a primitive past, and it is not a genetic residual. It is passed on to us through training in our society from generation to generation.” (Rubin, p.312) Rubin refers to children being brought up in a competitive environment that may lead to them growing up with a competitive mindset and passing it on to their potential offspring. It would be a repetitive cycle. Competitive parents encourages competition on their children. They give their children the mindset to excel in academics and sports. For example, my aunt is very hard on my cousins. She encourages them to always do well in school and to be active in sports. Any grade below an “A” is not acceptable to her. She believes raising hardworking and successful children is an accomplishment. Having smarter children also means having more bragging rights to her. My aunt encourages my cousins to do well in school also because of her competitive personality. She competes with my other aunts and uncles by discussing how well each child is doing in school and their accomplishment. The negative result was my cousins felt pressured and stressed to achieve the goals my aunt encouraged....
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