[FOUNTAIN]Live the life you feel is the right oneWho would be better off in society: an aggressive and fierce hawk or a gentle and quiet dove? Experience tell us that the former has an advantage.
How about in the animal kingdom? Say a fierce one and a gentle one from the same group are competing over prey. Naturally, the fierce one is likely to take the food. In the battlefield for survival, the hostile image itself ― that you are not going to avoid a fight ― can be a major weapon. Therefore, the number of hostile and aggressive animals would increase, and the docile ones would diminish.
However, a new problem arises here. The aggressive ones used to have an easy contest against quiet ones, but now they have to fight each other as the number of hostile ones grow. Sometimes, they have to risk their lives for food, and the fight will do more damage than the value of the food. The payoff in being aggressive falls while the risk goes up. From this point, the number of aggressive animals would stop growing. Biologists see that an equilibrium between the aggressive and the gentle has been reached.
American economist David Friedman claims that the same theory can be applied to human society. In any organization, some people are gentle doves while others are hostile hawks. There are also the devoted and diligent as well as the procrastinators.
Of course, the hawks and the procrastinators seem to always win over the wimp. Therefore, everyone will try to become a hawk or a procrastinator. However, an organization full of aggressive hawks would be suffocating. When everyone procrastinates, the organization cannot achieve anything. Fortunately, the payoff of being a hawk or a procrastinator would approach zero before the extreme situation.
Mr.Friedman explains, “Equilibrium is reached when the loss from opponents who do not back down just balances the gain from opponents who do.”
If Mr. Friedman is right, those who are too naive and nice and feel that they always lose in life should have a second thought. There is no reason for them to change their gentle personality or behavior strategically. Hostility and gentleness, procrastination and devotion are meant to reach equilibrium, and there wouldn’t be much difference no matter which side you stand for. In the end, you will have to live your life as you are born to live.
by Nahm Yoon-ho
The writer is head of the family affairs team at the JoongAng Ilbo.
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