All day long, we make compromises. We jump through hoops designed by others — often meaningless and almost alway arbitrary — so as to achieve something that we can genuinely appreciate for ourselves.
We learn from an early age that any individual revolt against the system to which we’re born will be met with less comfort than merely going along with it, and so, excluding a few heroes, we mostly agree to play the game. We turn a blind eye to great injustices, step around challenging authoritative structures, and lead an inauthentic life for the sake of amenity and contentment.
You and I share a lot in common with the guy from The Matrix who sells out his team. We know it’s all an illusion, but we’d rather live undisturbed there than deal with the reality of our situation.
We’re frequently reminded of this by devilish misanthropes, forever eager to broach the subject of a far more disturbing trend whenever we complain of something trivial.
Lines at the airport got you down? At least you’re not in Aleppo being bombed by the Syrian army. Are you tired of the cold weather? At least your child wasn’t infected with drug-resistant tuberculosis. And so it goes.
Recently, I’ve found myself feeling similarly about the ongoing — and admittedly trivial in a grand scheme of things sort of way — NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
It’s a sporting event unlike any other. 68 teams of comparable age and varying talent compete in a massive three week tournament, in which the representatives of a single school have to win six straight games against what’s meant to be increasing levels of competition before being crowned National Champions.