We generally write at MCNTalk about medical topics. But this article from The New York Times is interesting in its own light; discussing resistance to a common core educational curriculum because it may wound the feelings of those who find it challenging – both students and their parents. But it also relates to a general theme that we find most interesting – a flight from reality that drives so much that we see in our culture and in the medical world, with pseudo-problems that people want to throw labels, entitlements and money at. Fear of excellence at the expense of recognizing the average or mediocre brings down many a business, or an otherwise decent person to loathe themselves or others.
The reality of the world is that abilities and attributes vary, whether how high one can jump or run, how fine a phrase one can write, beautifully one can sing, or how attractive and desirable one is to others. These features are a function of both nature and nurture, practice and effort. But in the end, we all land somewhere along a continuum of capacity and attributes in any number of areas. It sure ain’t fair, when one is on the weaker end, but it is real and it will not go away, no matter how much one may protest or wish otherwise.
Perhaps one of the benefits and attractions of athletics is that at the highest levels, it can’t be faked or gamed. The best teams require great athletes who got that way by birth and sacrifice, and superb coaching leadership. Society loves the purity of sports victories and defeats. We may argue an “unfair” call, or decry the jock who does not play by the rules, because we want to enjoy the simplicity and elegance of a well fought game, or a beautifully run race.
There really are two parallel societies; those who work hard and recognize and honor success and failure, and those who would strive to deny unequal ability and outcome, and avoid the demands of winning or the pain of defeat. The former achieve and transform our world while the latter embrace mediocrity, denial of reality and frequently retreat into victimhood and defeat.