The Curse of Comparison

So.

Several things are on my mind.  First (and second, and third), this summer has wrought HUGE changes to our cultural cloth:  Marriage equality, the resurgence of racism, The DONALD (for Pete’s sake), the insidious encroachment of ISIS, ISIL, the so-called Islamic State, etc., the tenuous balance of the Chinese economy (and, I dare say, government) which has shaken our own economy (the Dow down 400 points again last week)…  I could go on.

And….  I could draw insightful blah blah and write several blah blahs about the lot of it.

Nah.

I have a “topper” to those headlines:  My brother has started blogging.  For me, this wipes the rest of the news off the front page (puts it on at least page 3 of the SECOND section of the paper – maybe even the “Life” section, next to “Miss Manners” and the crossword).

Why is this a big deal?

First of all – he’s really good.  My brother, the “not quite Ben” all the way through school (sorry, bro), is a deep, careful thinker who manages to draw incisive edges on even the foggiest of issues without making you feel stupid for drawing different edges (or for choosing not to draw an edge at all).  How did this happen?  Well, he went and got a doctorate, for one thing.  If nothing else, those things make you think A LOT about A LOT, and that is undoubtedly (in my opinion) a good thing.  We’ve always enjoyed getting together and chatting up the latest and greatest on current thought and trends while crowning one of us the latest Trivial Pursuit “king” (I think I’m reigning, but I’m not sure), but it is another level of impressiveness to see his thoughtfulness and convictions cogently presented in a few thousand characters of HTML.

The problem?

Now I must compare.  I was sort of proud of my blogging, and now, I have to admit my brother’s might be better.  And THAT is the topic of this entry.

The moment we begin to compare, we invite pain.  To ourselves, to those around us, often to those we love most.  As soon as we decide we are better/worse, richer/poorer, more correct/less correct (choose your comparison) than someone else (a person, a people group, a nation, a religion, a political platform), we invite one of two major invaders:  If we see ourselves on the “privileged” side of the comparison, pride blossoms.  If we see ourselves on the “under-privileged” side of the comparison, the tendrils of envy reach out for what we wish we had (or, more insidiously, we seek to cut the other “down to size”)  Both pride and envy wear the same smugness, by the way.  They are often difficult to differentiate.  Insecurity often looks like pride, even if it’s born of envy.

SCREECH, CRASH.

Please hold while I mourn the loss of a couple hours of blogging.  I accidentally left my browser page and lost everything, in spite of WordPress’s “Auto-save” feature, which doesn’t appear to work so much.  really.  at all.

Sigh.

Instead of trying to recreate what was lost, please check out a couple posts I found on the dangers of comparison that helped feed my brain while writing.  I think it goes without saying that what I had written was incomparably better than, smarter than, and more eloquent that what these people have to say about comparison.  🙂

The Hidden Dangers of Comparison

The Measuring Stick Principle

Next time I will remember to save my draft more often.  Enjoy!

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