Saturday, November 28, 2009

Success v. Failure

Commonly understood, failure is the flip side of a record called success.

Every being strives toward success in its endeavors, meaning the achievement of some need. In human society it is not only a biological striving but moreover a teleological feature of consciousness, namely a striving after what people or institutions expect of individuals in a myriad of social and economic situations.

Compared with success, failure is a black sheep that hovers over every earthy endeavor like a devil chasing an angel, like nothingness mocking truth, like chaos obliterating meaning.

But is success really all that it is cracked up to be? How many of our successes are gained by luck or by default, by birth, genetics or upbringing, or by any sort of phenomenological inheritance?

Doesn't failure deserve greater respect? Indeed it triumphs more often than it's vain brother while not artificially bloating the ego of its recipient, because it causes us to genuinely reflect on what has been done rather than prop it up as a trophy. And doesn't failure instruct and improve us via a realization of where the boundaries of our strengths and weaknesses lie, and as such prepares us for the next challenge in life?

Nations are prime culprits when it comes to elevating the status of success. Rarely does a nation admit failure, and if it does it generally comes begrudgingly generations later and in the form of an hollow apology coupled with a monetary olive branch. 

In particular nations can't stand to fail at war, because military defeats are perceived to undermine a nation's ability and will to wage future conflicts.

If only individuals and nations were able to accept and integrate failure more maturely, and be less intoxicated by success, then surely we would have a better world.