Because my name was mentioned by Kwang Guan, I cannot escape the responsibility of a decent discourse on ‘comparisons’ as he has pointed out. While his entry is on something entirely different and probably something too mature for my understanding, the part where he raised my name and concluded about the whole idea of reference anxiety, needs to be reviewed. As Wensi has intelligently pointed out, the entry seems to be inspired by reference anxiety and I sure hope this post of mine doesn’t seem so.
In the entire of humanity’s history and as far as society is concerned, there has always been a tension between competition and collaboration. The very fact that a society is formed at all is enough to demonstrate that a high degree of collaboration is possible and essential for the advancement of all man but more importantly, it fosters the correct environment for healthy competition. Therefore, ‘comparisons’ essentially is a manifestation of the 2 forces at work. While comparing seem to be all about competition, in that we are trying to show how one is superior over the other in terms of something, it can also be for the sake of collaboration (why else would we have ‘comparative advantage’ for trade and specialization). In any case, there are many perspective that has not been considered in Kwang Guan’s critique of reference anxiety and more importantly, the habit to ‘compare’ has never been ‘strange’ at all. Friction in relationship can arise out of pure incompatibility and not to be attributed to comparisons because comparison places everyone at the same level, just like comparing prices of the products on the market. A society, with humanly comparison is merely a microcosm of the economic forces at large that governs almost every aspect of our behavior and while we cannot help it, the increasing flow of information and connectedness of the individuals is making things more fair and equal.
The world has always been unfair and it is all of our responsibility to make it fair to us, by working to its requirements, by relentlessly pursuing what it considers to be merits. Sometimes, the world is just not meant for us – but neither is it meant for anyone else. So go on, attempt to change the world to suit yourself, or more easily, shape yourself to suit the world and you will be on the better end of the comparison, the one to cause others to shy away upon thinking about you. It takes efforts, and the process is not going to be too comfortable. More essentially, at the end of the day, you might even think that you have been slogging for something you never wanted. The fact then is, you haven’t discovered yourselves enough.