The Arms Race in Our Lives: How to Avoid It and Live a Good Life

   Many young people believe that going to college is a prerequisite for a bright future. From a general point of view, the starting salary of a novice with a college degree is indeed higher than that of a person without a degree. However, excluding the money and time spent on college, the real income of some college students is not high, even lower than that of those who have not received higher education. So what is the value of this investment of time and money?
   In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice through the Looking-Glass”, the Queen of Hearts once said to little Alice: “In this world, you must run as fast as you can to let yourself go. Stay where you are.” This phrase precisely describes the dynamic environment students face, an “arms race” phenomenon. “Arms race” was originally a military term, but now it has appeared in all walks of life: people copy each other, are forced to arm themselves, and in the end, the whole process is meaningless.
   John Cassidy once wrote in The New Yorker: “If everyone has a college degree, it doesn’t make you special. To get your dream job at this time, you Attendance at elite universities is required. Education thus becomes an ‘arms race.'”
   Few people caught in an “arms race” are aware of it. This will lead to every step they take and every investment they make is meaningful in their own eyes, but the overall effect of their actions is zero or even negative. If you’ve been caught in an unexpected “arms race,” you need to get out early. I can guarantee that you will not get a good life out of this fight.
   How should you withdraw? The answer is: try to find some areas that are not affected by the “arms race”. You need to find a field that is comfortable and easy for you, and is not affected by the “arms race”.
   An “arms race” is going on in many people’s workplaces. Once your colleagues extend their working hours, you also have to extend your working hours in order to prevent yourself from falling behind. In reality, it’s just a waste of time. As long as we compare ourselves with those hunters and gatherers in primitive society, we will find that they only work 15-20 hours a week, and the rest of the time is their own leisure time. It’s simply a life in paradise. If we can get rid of the “arms race”, then we can live such a life too. No wonder anthropologists refer to the age of hunter-gatherers as “the first affluent societies.” At that time, the comparison of wealth did not occur, because people were still living in no fixed place at that time. Bows and arrows, furs, children… As a nomad, there are already enough things to bring. Do you want to add extra burdens to yourself? Thanks, forget it. So at that time, there was no social system that could stimulate an “arms race”.
   Times have changed, and today, in our personal lives, we can be caught in an “arms race” if we are not careful. The more time other people spend on social media, the more time you spend trying to keep yourself from being forgotten. The more friends you have undergone plastic surgery, the greater the threat you feel, and you feel that you have to be stabbed a few times. And other social “rules”, such as clothing styles, accessories value, housing area, car horsepower, amateur sports performance, etc., why not?
   Today, humans publish two million scientific research results every year. A hundred years ago, the number of scientific research results published by human beings every year was even less than 1% of today’s. However, the frequency of “ice breaking” in the scientific community at that time was comparable to the current one. The “arms race” also exists in the field of scientific research. The salary and promotion opportunities of scientific researchers depend on the number of articles they publish and the number of times their articles are cited. The more articles published by others, the more they have to work hard to avoid falling behind. Such competition has little to do with the pursuit of true knowledge, and academic journals are the beneficiaries behind it.
   If you want to be a musician, you should never choose the piano or the violin. Pianists and violinists are the unhappiest musicians on earth because the competition between these two fields is the most brutal. Every year, tens of millions of emerging pianists and violinists from Asia fill concert halls around the world. Please choose a slightly less popular instrument, which will make it easier for you to join the band. If you’re a pianist or a violinist, people compare you to Lang Lang or Anne-Sophie Mutter, and you compare yourself to them, and that comparison affects your happiness.
   You need to get out of the “arms race”, but this undercurrent is sometimes difficult to detect, because each round of “arms expansion” seems reasonable. So, remember to step outside of your “unit” occasionally and get a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield. The “arms race” means a series of costly “tough victories”, and you’d better stay out of it and not let yourself become a victim of madness. The good life is only possible in areas where there is no “arms race” between people.

error: Content is protected !!