Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Seeking advantage

In my 5 July 2017 blog, I concluded that seeking advantage is what “separates humans from anything else on this planet”. It’s the fundamental force in human behaviour. To some extent, I was wrong. Seeking advantage is the main driver of all Life, including animals, humans, plants, trees. Why? Seeking advantage is a coping mechanism with Change, an absolute force.

If you look at any plant then you will see that it grows towards sunlight. It adapts to Change. In a garden, each plant strives for competitive and comparative advantages (eg, colours, height, smell). In 1817, David Ricardo formulated the Law of Comparative Advantage within free trade. Competition is a human phenomenon at sports, studies, at work, and even at home.

DNA shows constant minor changes as a result of changes in our environment: an astronaut’s DNA no longer matched that of his identical twin (my 2018 blog). A gene mutation of 5,000 years ago caused lighter skin to adapt to less sunlight in Europe (my 2016 blog). This environmental advantage led to the philosophical belief of White supremacy (my 2015 blog, 2016 blog).

The imminent U.S.-China trade war – and a possible US-EU trade war – is another example of seeking (economic) advantage. Trump does not believe – or understand – Ricardo’s Lawimporting cheap Chinese products is less expensive for American consumers than producing these same goods in America. In Trump’s psychology, life is a zero-sum game of Winners and Losers. Hence, he is always seeking for advantage (ie, winning).

To some extent, Trump is right: we all prefer winning over losing. Most of our efforts are rooted in seeking advantage. Even expressing empathy towards friends or strangers is an example of seeking advantage. Expressing empathy makes us feel better about ourselves. Hence, we win.

Helping a stranger could turn into a valuable friendship. Helping a friend strengthens a friendship and creates a future IOU. Helping your parents removes guilt or cashes an IOU. Networking is perhaps the clearest example of seeking advantage (eg, assignment, info, job).

The above examples may feel cynical but cynicism is something entirely else than a falsehood. I do think, feel and believe that all human efforts are about seeking advantage.

All life forms need competitive and comparative advantages to survive (ongoing) Change. Some more intelligent life forms want these advantages and started using tools (eg, birds). Humans believe in seeking advantage (eg, my blogs on Transhumanism). These basics represent my concept of Needs-Want-Beliefs (excluding Awakening).

The human brain had a vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage – curiosity, creativity and memory. And that brain did something very special. It invented an idea called ‘the future.’ A quote by David Suzuki

Advantage McEnroe (1983) by The Brat – IMDb, lyrics, my blogvideo, Wiki

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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