Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Not a Race

Commuting to work by bicycle is interesting. I'm far from the only cyclist on the road--there is usually a line of bikes next to the line of cars. The thing is that I am a fairly slow cyclist compared to the twenty-somethings passing me on racing bikes, while my fifty-eight year old legs pump my fat-tired mountain bike.

Unfortunately some of the folks seem to mistake the morning commute for the 'Tour de France'--jockeying for position and cutting one another off. (Not to mention bombing through red lights--I may be one of the few cyclists that actual stops for red lights.)

As I'm biking to work I started thinking about the saying 'Nice Guys Finish Last'. For a moment forget about the sexist language and questions about what 'nice' means. Just think about the implications of this for a minute. Finish what? What are we in a rush for?

I hope it's not about life, because I'm in no hurry to finish that. That would be a nice thing to finish last.

But there seems to be a tendency in this society to view life as some sort of race. We are impelled by urgency. In a capitalist economic system, everything is about competition and getting ahead of everyone else. A few months ago Harvard Square Station (in Cambridge) was decked with signs claiming "You're Either Fast or You're Food" and decorated with wolves, big cats, and guys in racing shoes.

Is this the way we want to live? Instead of 'Nice Guys Finish Last', how about 'We Travel Together and Help Each Other'? That's the difference between rampant individualism and building community.

Quote of the Day: "It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly." - Mabel Newcomer


Joe said...

Your blog shows a great need in this society for community. The Capitalist System leads the people down the path to individualism and competition!With the economic melt down we will all need to build community to survive! It is better to travel than than to arrive!

MoonRaven said...

Welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment.

I certainly agree that with the economic meltdown, we will need community in order to survive. I only hope that enough people realize that...