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Winning


OK Andrew,
        Let's talk about winning. I've won some and I've lost some, so I've tasted the joy of victory and the ashes of defeat. I have learned that they aren't really all that different, and that often it's just a lucky break that makes the difference. That's not the important lesson though. What really is important is priorities. A contest of skill is fun, but it doesn't really matter much if you win. Sure, try hard, give it your best, but when it's over you're not a better man or a lesser one. It's just something you do, not something you are. There is some real value in driving yourself to the edge of your abilities and you can grow in that, but ignore the important things in life and not only you but those who depend on you will suffer for it. If we all took your approach to everything in life, we wouldn't be sharing knowledge about seedings and hybridizing now in the seedling discussion. We would be keeping our knowledge like a poker hand for the edge it could give us against our "competitors", right? There would be no real discussion here or on your forum because we'd all be looking at how to beat our competitors, not how to help them.
       The lesson you are missing here is that by cooperating and sharing and working together we can all go further than we could if we go it alone. There are walks of life where competition rules, where the weak are left behind, and the strong free to take whatever they can. If our overall society were like this we would never have progressed beyond feudal times. What stops someone bigger and stronger than you from taking your wallet or your car?  Or someone with more financial smarts from transferring your bank account into his own? Too improbable? How about this one----What stops people with better computer skills than you from hacking your website? If life is about being top dog, and everyone felt that way, are you that sure it would be you? Even if it were you your life would be spent defending your turf against an unending supply of challengers. No, you are protected, defended, and served by others and if you were not you wouldn't be able to sit at your computer putting forth this argument, you'd be too busy defending yourself against the stronger, the smarter, and the more ruthless.
       That town with the horse droppings was built by people who cooperated with each other to build something bigger than they would have been able to build themselves. The cars that replaced those horses are built by large groups of people working together, not by the one guy who was top dog. As for Hitler, if the only difference between us and the Nazis was who won and who lost, then we lost too. If Hitler had won, and we were writing this in German, would you celebrate him as a winner?
      Social animals fight out their dominance battles. Horses, wolves, apes, and others slug it out to see who will be top dog, who will get the pick of the females (or all the females), who eats first (or at all if there's not enough to go around), who get's to decide what the weak must do. Only humans are smart enough to rise above this and work together for the benefit of all. That's why we have nice houses, and cars, and cities, and everything else. Without this ability to cooperate for the common good, we would be little tribes of cavemen led by the whims of the strongest. 
      You can dismiss this as silly altruism, but take a good look around you. How much of your material possesions would even be available if people didn't work together to produce them. They weren't made by the losers who were beaten and forced to make them. They are made willingly by free men and women who are paid for their efforts so that they can buy the things that others have made. That is how we do things here in America, and in the other countries where a high standard of living has been attained. That is the only way to achieve that high a standard. That is how WE win-----as a group working together for the good of all, not separately for our own gain. When we fall back to the level of animals, of every man for himself, then we all lose and we all start going backwards.
                                                                                                        ..........Bill Meyer




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