Is your life caught in an “arms race”

Many young people believe that going to college is a prerequisite for a glorious future. On average, newcomers with a college degree do have a higher starting salary than those without a degree. However, excluding the money and time spent in college, some students’ actual income is not high, even lower than those who do not have higher education. So, what is the value of these time and money investments?

In Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice in the Mirror”, Queen of Hearts once said to Little Alice: “In this world, you must run as fast as possible to make yourself Stay where it is. “This sentence accurately describes the dynamic environment that students face, a phenomenon of” arms race “. “Arms race” was originally a military term, but it has appeared in all walks of life: people imitate each other, are forced to arm themselves, and in the end, the whole process is meaningless.

The “arms race” is taking place in the workplace of many people. Once a colleague has extended his working hours, you have to extend the working hours in order to prevent yourself from falling behind. In fact, this is just a waste of time. As long as we compare ourselves with those hunters and gatherers in the primitive society, we will find that they only work 15-20 hours a week, and the rest of their time is their leisure time. This is simply heavenly life. If we can abandon the “arms race”, we can also live such a life. No wonder anthropologists call the era when hunters and collectors lived “the first rich society.” In that society, the comparison of wealth did not appear, because people at the time still had nowhere to stay. Bows, arrows, fur, children … As a nomad, you have enough things to carry, do you have to put extra burden on yourself? Thanks, forget it anyway. So at that time, there was no social system that could stimulate an “arms race.”

Today, the world is changing, and in personal life, if you are not careful, you will fall into the mire of “arms race”. The more time people spend on social media, the more time you spend, just to avoid being forgotten. The more friends you have for cosmetic surgery, the greater the threat you feel, and you will feel like you have to be hit. And other social “rules”, such as clothing style, value of accessories, housing area, car horsepower, amateur sports performance, etc., why not?

Today, humans publish 2 million scientific research results every year. And 100 years ago (in Einstein’s time), that number was less than 1% today. At the time, the frequency of “ice-breaking” in the scientific community was comparable to the current one. The “arms race” also exists in the field of scientific research. Researchers’ salaries and promotion opportunities depend on the number of articles they publish and the frequency with which they are cited. The more articles others publish, the more articles they have to publish to avoid being left behind. Such competition has little to do with the pursuit of true knowledge, and academic journals are the beneficiaries behind it.

If you want to be a musician, never choose a piano or violin. Pianist and violinist are the most unhappy musicians on the planet, because the competition in these two fields is the most brutal. Every year, thousands of new pianists and violinists from Asia fill the concert halls everywhere. Choose a slightly less popular instrument that will make it easier for you to join the orchestra. If you are a pianist or violinist, people will compare you to Lang Lang or Anne Sophie Mutter, and you will compare yourself to them. This comparison will affect your happiness.

You need to escape from the “arms race”, but this undercurrent is sometimes difficult to find, because each round of “stretching” looks very reasonable. Therefore, remember to occasionally walk outside the “units” and observe the battlefield from a bird’s eye view. An “arms race” means a series of costly “miserable victories,” and you’d better stay out of it and don’t make yourself a crazy victim. Only in areas where everyone will not fight for an “arms race” will a good life become possible.