Our institutions are riddled with conflict.
Schools promote competition with each other over the joy of learning, politics pit opponents against each other raking muck and shelling dirt, businesses try to outdo one another rather than find unique ways to express value, and social rules stifle free expression by having us conform to norms that might be out-of-line with our natural desires.
And of course, most dangerous of all, glorifying war and violent conflict on a global scale.
As J Krishnamurti says, it’s not a sign of good health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Yet, that’s what seems to be called for us to thrive, or simply survive, on this planet.
This sound abhorrent. So instead we paint it up with more lighthearted versions in the form of fun games, competitions, awards, and titles. But anytime we aren’t looking at ourselves, and instead finding our value by comparing ourselves against the world around us, we’ve fallen into the trap of human conflict.
So it’s important to be partially aloof from this pull. No we don’t need to be, nor should we be, completely aloof. If we were completely aloof, we become disconnected with the world as it is…and our value won’t be felt.
It’s simply important to be partially aloof, by remaining committed to our higher ideals but still feel the pull of society. We must buck the pull of social obligation and societal institutions to define value that comes from our ideals, rather than that which puts us above (or below) someone else.