Evolution favors winners. During our evolution people who successfully contended for food, shelter, mates, and other advantages produced more descendants than others. Competitiveness was thus strengthened and became an intrinsic trait of our species. We reinforce this quality today by further rewarding those who successfully compete with money, respect, and fame. Highly skilled athletes, business tycoons, war heroes, and even dictators, such as Napoleon, are respected and admired. Many of us value success more than personal qualities such as kindness, honesty, knowledge, and wisdom. Consequently, our society is highly competitive.
This competitiveness spills into arguments and discussions where we are usually more interested in winning than in coming to a rational conclusion or in learning something new. Arguments often end up as shouting matches, each side trying to convince the other, without hearing what the other side has to say. Most of us really are not all that interested in truth; we like to win. We see personal prestige as hanging on it.
While worldwide cooperation is now essential for resolving environmental problems, our drive to come out on top makes cooperation difficult. Most people and governments focus their concerns on their own nation and feel that going beyond that is sacrificing their national sovereignty. People do not reward leaders for international cooperation. The refusal of nations to collaborate has led to massive overfishing and our inability to effectively deal with climate change. – Peter Seidel, Excerpt from Book; ‘THERE IS STILL TIME!’