The Way of the Competitor
being a competitor
Most people today live their lives without thinking of themselves as competitors. There is nothing wrong with that. It simply isn't true. We are all in competition with one another, whether or not we want to be, and each of our actions affects the outcome of the competition of which we are part. It is also irrelevant to talk about what we should be doing, as competition is an inescapable fact of life.
There are two distinct types of human competitors. There are those who think of themselves as such and those who don't, the non-competitors. Non-competitors are necessarily controlled by their genetic and memetic programming. Every thought, every movement, and every word spoken by them serves to sustain the microcompetition of genes and memes. That is the whole meaning and purpose of their lives.
The competitors understand microcompetition and see it everywhere. That is to say that they see pointlessness and meaninglessness everywhere. Yet, they also see microcompetition as a stage in the evolution of the universe, and they see the potential for the next stage in human evolution. Beyond a state of adapting to present circumstances, lies the possibility of a decision-based competition.
cloning and sex
Back in the days when adaptive competition took shape, replication or cloning was overshadowed in importance by organisms that reproduced sexually. In the absence of reason and intelligence, a promiscuous mingling of competitive traits is most likely to yield increasingly competitive being because a greater number of random changes result in a higher probability of useful changes taking place. This bias towards promiscuity is deeply embedded in contemporary human society, in that both genes and memes mix constantly, making it highly difficult to control them through conscious action.
This point is crucial in that it is a limitation in today's competition that is waiting to be overcome. Sooner or later, someone will be the first to use reason to effectively and deliberately breed humans with particular genes and memes. The question is not so much whether or not this will occur, but whether the technique is pioneered by non-competitors, such as Adolf Hitler (I hesitate to use him as an example because I can imagine much much worse non-competitors than him, yet he tends to be thought of as the worst), or by competitors.
The introduction of this technique by non-competitors would send us into an era of much tighter microcompetition, possibly similar to a kind of stalemate. The key point to realize is that once someone employs an effective means of designing and replicating traits in humans, the remainder of the population must either join in or die out. One can imagine a world of cunning businessmen and brilliant engineers who compete over money and utilize genetic and memetic engineering to create people who are better and better adapted for this type of activity. One can imagine hundreds of religious sects trying to convert as many humans as possible to their religions using any means except violence. Or one can imagine a world of physical warfare. No matter what the scenario, those who choose not to engineer people would be at a severe disadvantage.
trying to avoid breeding
The reason I think it is highly unlikely that humans will avoid breeding humans is that you can't draw the line anywhere and expect people to agree. When genetic engineering enables us to make smarter kids, there will be those who object and those who don't. Those who do will benefit and pretty soon nearly everyone will accept it, the same way that we accept material greed and education today. Money and college degrees are keys to success, that's why people covet them. Over time, breeding will become a key to success. The way society is heading now, I expect that at each point in time, there will be moral limits to prevent any drastic changes, but over time more and more will become acceptable, since people already believe that there is no moral absolute, and once we modify our emotions, we modify the basis of our morality, at which point it will become clear that morality is an empty concept, an illusion of non-competitors.
omnipresence of microcompetition
The human being was designed for microcompetition. He eats, sleeps, talks, walks, laughs, hates, fears, and thinks because at some point in the history of human evolution, these activities allowed him to reproduce more successfully than his peers. Natural selection occurs at the level of genes to determine the human "hardware", which is the portion of ourselves doesn't change throughout our lives. It occurs at the level of memes to determine the human "software", which are the ideas, values, and beliefs that are programmed into us by our environment.
Our genes have been selected for entirely based on the likelihood that they contribute to making us have sex with another person to create children who will grow up to be likely to produce more successful offspring than the rest of humanity. There is no other meaning to our intelligence, bodies, and emotions. They exist because of their power to crush the opposition, to outcompete them, and to seize advantages over them because it is only the value that new genes add relative to everyone else that results in natural selection taking place.
Thus we are capable of feeling love because it results in a collaboration of the male and the female to help both of their genes survive through their children, to have them grow up better, stronger, and smarter than other children, so that their own children will be able to get the best mates before other children take them away, et cetera, et cetera. Love has turned into a strong emotion only because it has reduced the relative ability of the millions of humans who felt it less strongly or not at all, to survive and reproduce effectively.
Likewise, we are capable of feeling happy because it signifies a state in which most of our natural drives are sated, implying that we are in a better position than others to bear successful children, and happiness says that we should strive towards this and maintain that position of dominance. Happiness is a strong drive only because it gave those who felt it more strongly a competitive advantage over those who took the state of being better off than their neighbor for granted or thought it was unfair, and so on and so on.
We are capable of feeling concern for others because it helps our tribe fight and survive more effectively than our neighboring tribe. In other words, concern for everyone else would never be selected for because it doesn't increase the concerned people's likelihood of survival over everyone else. And I could go on and on for pages to demonstrate that every human emotion is nothing, but the exact same equivalent identical indistinguishable microcompetitive trait. Some may make us feel good about ourselves, but the goodness is an illusion.
Memes evolve exactly the same way as genes, in that they are selected for entirely based on their probability of being transmitted from one host (human mind) to the next. The difference is merely that genes program our bodies to fight with one another, while memes use our bodies (our brain in particular) as hosts to fight among themselves.
Out of all possible sounds we can store in our mind, we store mostly music, which are those sequences that are most likely to be perceived as pleasurable. Of all possible music, those gaining the most popularity will survive and be passed on. If such music can acquire money and fame, it will encourage more to listen and create more of it, if it can get us addicted to music so that we don't want to live without it anymore, its chances of survival are greatly increased as well.
Out of all possible ideas we communicate, we communicate those that have become widespread on the market. Ideas that cling to our minds are selected for, ideas that are generated and spread quickly are selected for, and ideas that assume a variety of other presently popular ideas are selected for. The purpose of our communication is to help the ideas spread, that is all the meaning you will see anywhere today. 99% of communication is filibustering. If an idea does not take the initiative to dominate a portion of the market, some other idea will fill in the void.
Teenagers, nowadays, have their morals backwards. They are worried about being considered easy or immoral if they sleep with too many others, even though genetic selectivity is nearly irrelevant today, and contraception is widespread anyway. Yet at the same time, they indulge in a nearly blind memetic promiscuity, taking in every type of information, the more the better. This is demonstrated by the fact that they are busy, meaning they have all their time occupied taking in information, and no time to sort it out.
My analysis may seem one-sided, since memetic microcompetition is strongly influenced by our reason, which is our only possible defense against it. A scientist whose goal is to find the truth could be one of the most primitive examples of a person who is defying microcompetition. He might be aware that the world is governed by microcompetition, and believe his actions (to advance knowledge) to be the most promising in advancing us to the next evolutionary level. For a person living in an earlier century, I might agree that despite the highly inefficient nature of this approach, it might be the best choice available. Today, however, I have no problem labeling all scientists as well as all other people in the world who do not see the need for a strategy to force society to overcome microcompetition non-competitors. Such people are clearly being controlled by microcompetitive forces, and they have no non-microcompetitive characteristics worth pointing out. In a world that is so obviously and completely controlled by microcompetition, it makes no sense not to constantly dwell on this fact. If you do not spend every minute of your life trying to eliminate it, what better things could you possibly occupy your time with? Every alternative to trying to eliminate it effectively promotes it. This statement applies only to this particular world, and a thousand years from now I can imagine myself arguing the opposite, that further concern with microcompetition is irrelevant detail, but I wouldn't, since the people in that society would be able to judge this much better than I.
defiance of microcompetition
Microcompetition can be defied by striving for complete independence and immunity from one's environment and one's genetic and memetic programming. This can be done by having no wants, provided we define wants to be feelings we follow simply because they are there. The competitor must think of himself s a pure decider following pure logic, uninfluenced by wants. He tries to realize this using a human body that was not designed to do this. This is a challenge not too difficult to overcome. Humans use their bodies in many such ways, such as when writing or doing mathematics. We are quite inefficient at performing these tasks, yet at the same time we are the most efficient beings there are for them, which is why we can get away with being highly inefficient. The same applies to living without wants. We will never be very efficient at it using our present bodies, yet we can do it well enough to advance to the next stage in competition.
Every specific goal in the world that one sets only for the sake of that goal is motivated by want. The competitor is therefore not concerned with specific goals. This leaves only the non-specific goal, or NSG, to pursue. The way to attain NSG is to render everything specific, which means that the unknown must cease to be. The consequences of this must lie beyond our imagination, and anything that is not is not worth pursuing, as the imagination itself would be enough. For example, I can imagine being a superstar, so it does not qualify as a valid goal.
While NSG is non-specific, it is assumed attainable. Furthermore, if any sequence of random actions is assumed to have equal probability to achieving it, it does not matter what we do, so all is meaningless. If all we observed in this world was random patterns, then indeed, life would be meaningless. However, even in that case, one would not stop looking for consistency in patterns that could be used to create a strategy for attaining NSG. Hence, at any point in time, the competitor is not aimless. He is always aware of NSG as the single goal, and if he does not have a strategy for attaining it, there is no excuse not to be working on one.
The competitor must master specific goal attainment (SGA). SGA is the realm of non-competitors, and competition for specific goals is tight, so there are no clear and distinct advantages that the competitor can seize to stand out. However, practice of SGA is good for training oneself for greater goals. It helps one to practice and apply the competitive mindset. While the competitive mindset is usually not important for pursuing SGs effectively, it is one of the primary reasons why the competitor pursues them. He is not interested in the SGs themselves, only in competitive thought, tactics, and generally useful habits.
Fundamental to the competitive mindset, I think, are the following. Efficiency - this principle is mastered by constantly asking oneself how the theoretical limit of something can be attained. Impartiality - this principle is mastered by constantly thinking of oneself as having no true preferences. Strategic emphasis - this principle is mastered by constantly thinking at the most fundamental and general level possible, about those things on which all depends (example: instead of thinking about how to get the best deal on a car, one first tries to think of eliminating the need for one, which could eliminate the less fundamental task of acquiring one entirely). This is all I will say on the topic, as SGA wisdom is not unknown in the contemporary society, and I have nothing new to add. Basically, you seize every advantage you can and take every measure needed to achieve success.
macrocompetition - NSGA
Outcompeting non-competitors cannot be done using techniques of SGA. Doing so will place the competitor an inch ahead of the rest of the pack at best. There is no substitute in competition for having a clear and distinct competitive advantages and capitalizing on these to the limit. Therefore, competitors must pursue SGs that no one else is pursuing. Such SGs can be found easily by asking oneself what SGs will create the greatest long-term strategic advantage for competitors. If society's microcompetition has become so tight that everyone is forced to pursue the same SGs, it will be extremely difficult eliminate. For this reason, microcompetition must be eliminated now.
how to create a clear and distinct difference
All contemporary non-competitors believe in individuality. They could cease to do so and remain non-competitors, so this weakness cannot be taken for granted. The term individuality is almost synonymous to microcompetition. The difference is that while belief in individuality is a sufficient condition for being a non-competitor, it is not a necessary conditon. Individuality means that each of us is separate and competing for his own sake. That is the only thing it could mean, since the world is competition. So even though there is no reason to pit ourselves against each other, individuality states that we should do just that. Everyone is supposed to have his own interests (that is wants) and is supposed to be unique (no two people may have the same interests).
(Individuality is also cause of a common confusion among non-competitors. They think of themselves as independent agents whose genes are given, but who choose to adopt various memes. Their philosophies are based on the idea that there exists a separate self, which is equipped with genes and memes. However, if we take away the genes and the memes, what is left of a person?)
The non-competitors who spend their whole lives competing with each other as individuals have little long-term viability. All the activities they perform as a group can be done much more efficiently without the internal struggle for dominance.
That individuality is a severe handicap is clear from the mere fact that we vote. All bureaucratic inefficiency today is sustained by those who disagree for the sake of disagreeing, who see nothing wrong with two humans having two contradicting opinions on the same topic. Yet even more impressively, our entire economy is essentially one that produces goods and services for contrived needs. We are all working towards little more than nothing.
The question will be raised why I do not discuss what the future will be like in concrete and specific terms. How does one imagine a decision-based competition, and what will be so different about it? The answer is that I do not know because until it starts happening on even the tiniest scale, every prediction will remain without any solid basis. However, it is easy to demonstrate what it will not be like. It will be nothing like what we have today, and it will not contain the qualities that I have been criticizing in this text.