Saturday, October 13, 2012

Competition vs Unity

Last night my wife and I were flipping through the TV channels.  I do not like TV.  I can rarely sit there for even one program without feeling almost nauseous. The commercials really tire me out.  They are around 42% of the total air time.  The decibel level for the commercials is sometimes 50% louder than the programming.  I looked up these stats, they are readily available from the Federal Communications Commission.

While flipping through the channels here are some of the shows available to watch.  Survivor, America's Got Talent, American Idol, Dance Moms, Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, Top Chef, X factor, Abby Lee's Dance Competition, Toddlers and Tiaras, The Voice, So you think you can Dance, Celebrity Apprentice, The Amazing Race.... the list goes on and on and on and on and on.   

What do all of these have in common?  They are all based on competition.  All of them. And there is no shame in extremely young age group participation.  Some of them can hardly walk and they are fully inundated in the mindset of competition.  There is clearly a trend on TV, there's more competition than anything else.  There has to be a winner, and a looser.  Kelsey and I got to talking about how competitive our culture is and how it seems to be getting worse.  As a society we seem to love it.  

Unity is more and more absent.  It's the opposite, people are always against each other.  Someone HAS to be the best.  In Sports, (and I love sports), the team you root for is "us"  and the opponents are "them".  "They" even start to take on distasteful qualities even though we can't see them across the stadium, the camera hardly shows them, and we know nothing about them. I think sports have a great place in society, I love them and support their underlying purpose.  However, something is happening that isn't so good.  This "raging" competition thing has started to define almost everything.  A form of excessive competition seems to have become the foundation for everything we think, say, do, watch, believe, participate in, and look to for entertainment.    

We are indeed a highly highly highly competitive society.  Unity is not even part of our orientation.  And when bits of it show up in the media it's often false unity because it's only to further one's own agenda.    

Today I read something that took this discussion about competition somewhere I wasn't expecting.  It's about the prophesied false churches of our day.     

The quote is in context of 2 Nephi 28:8:

"Nephi explains these latter-day false churches accomplish the opposite of Zion. In Zion everyone is to become "one." Zion is unified in purpose and in heart. In these false churches people become competitive with one another. This leads to dishonesty between them."

Here I was a little disgusted at TV, but then I read about how in false churches people become competitive with one another. Which leads to dishonesty. I had to consider this in my life. It hit deep.      

As I look around at the competition that sometimes playing out among the members, I can't help but agree that this occurs in our day.  Whether it's clothing and looks, or people's income level, or the kind of calling they have.  I'm lucky to have a very good Bishop and Elder's Quorum President currently.  I'm grateful for both.  However, I cannot argue that Nephi's words about latter day churches are pretty dang accurate.  

1 comment:

  1. TV (and other media) are merely a reflection of the fierce level of competition that I have personally witnessed and experienced in our schools/universities, politics, and work places. Unfortunately, this spills into the Church (e.g., the pressure put on missionaries to make their numbers). As a consequence, I believe the Church has never been further from Zion (not that the Church is really trying to build Zion in the true sense of that word).