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Thread: Human adaptability. Worlds best "achievements" pointless?

  1. #1 Human adaptability. Worlds best "achievements" pointless? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Why is it considered an achievement to be best at something when adaptability is one of the strongest traits of humans?

    I mean... lets take the worlds fastest swimmer as an example. For each group of people that has an interest in something theres maybe 95% who doesent care about it. So "Bob" is the best swimmer in the world. Meaningless achievement. Because there are probably thousands if not millions of people with the same potential, if they actually had the time, interest, diett and training to reach the same goal. Because of the extremely narrowed numbers of competitors, being the "best" at something really just boils down to being the best among a few people dedicating their life to the same thing.

    Lets say this guy "Smith" is the best in the world at standing on one hand while singing the Sweding national anthem backwards while balancing a football on his left foot. Sure... he is the best, but any human could do this with the same training and interest - at this task/"sport" or whatever.

    Is this a wrong assumtion, or am I so right Im just pointing out the obvious?

    This is ofcourse looking at it from a scientific/biological viewpoint when it comes to human potential and context, and not a commercial one. Looking at it this way arent such achievements utterly pointless and meaningless? For each one that breaks a record - there are countless other potentials that biologically could have done it BETTER.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Looking at it this way arent such achievements utterly pointless and meaningless? For each one that breaks a record - there are countless other potentials that biologically could have done it BETTER.
    The point is that those people did not do so. The record breaker had the commitment and dedication to put in all the hard work. As Gary Player said when a spectator told him he'd made a lucky shot, "Yes, it was a lucky shot and you know, the more I practice the luckier I get."

    What these achievements are actually about are the individual seeking to do the best they are capable of in anything. The records are just a convenient external measure of how they are doing. They are really competing with themselves.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Why is it considered an achievement to be best at something when adaptability is one of the strongest traits of humans?

    I mean... lets take the worlds fastest swimmer as an example. For each group of people that has an interest in something theres maybe 95% who doesent care about it. So "Bob" is the best swimmer in the world. Meaningless achievement. Because there are probably thousands if not millions of people with the same potential, if they actually had the time, interest, diett and training to reach the same goal. Because of the extremely narrowed numbers of competitors, being the "best" at something really just boils down to being the best among a few people dedicating their life to the same thing.

    Lets say this guy "Smith" is the best in the world at standing on one hand while singing the Sweding national anthem backwards while balancing a football on his left foot. Sure... he is the best, but any human could do this with the same training and interest - at this task/"sport" or whatever.

    Is this a wrong assumtion, or am I so right Im just pointing out the obvious?

    This is ofcourse looking at it from a scientific/biological viewpoint when it comes to human potential and context, and not a commercial one. Looking at it this way arent such achievements utterly pointless and meaningless? For each one that breaks a record - there are countless other potentials that biologically could have done it BETTER.
    Yes, there may well be people with equivalent or superior potential to achieve the same goals. As pointed out by Galt, it is the fact that some rare individuals choose to dedicate their lives to such achievements that sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. As a real-life example, at high school I would almost invariably achieve A and A* grades in History for homework assignments and as exam scores. One day, a fellow pupil said to me, after having herself received a C grade, 'I could have done that, if I'd tried' ... and I thought to myself, 'Yes, you almost certainly could have done, but what sets us apart - and makes me the more successful pupil - is the fact that I have the drive and ambition that you lack'.

    Also - the value of anything, the meaning of anything in life is subjective. We create our own values and meaning.

    T.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    I do sometimes think that some achievements are rather pointless: "first person to reach the north pole on a unicycle ... while wearing a beret" (because someone had already done it in a top hat).

    One the other hand, they can provide great examples of what can be achieved. And the fact that they are in such different areas just demonstrates the adaptability of the human race.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    I vote Raziell for the world's best at starting pointless threads!
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    Here is another side of the story. You are right that it is practice and adaptability that make people "best in trade". But there are infinite cases out there where difference in practice is negligible. Do you think Messi will be practicing more than Torres. I think they will put in the same amount of time trying to adapt to their trade. But still Messi is way way better than Torres. Why?
    The answer is that some people are made for a specific trade. Their body structure, their muscles, their height, their feet, everything fits in their. That is why they are the best. And when you get professional in anything, it is these traits that make you get ahead or stay behind.
    So it is not only about practice and adaptability. You need to have the ingredients in your body that can make you "best in trade"

    That is my point of view.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Why is it considered an achievement to be best at something when adaptability is one of the strongest traits of humans?

    I mean... lets take the worlds fastest swimmer as an example. For each group of people that has an interest in something theres maybe 95% who doesent care about it. So "Bob" is the best swimmer in the world. Meaningless achievement. Because there are probably thousands if not millions of people with the same potential, if they actually had the time, interest, diett and training to reach the same goal. Because of the extremely narrowed numbers of competitors, being the "best" at something really just boils down to being the best among a few people dedicating their life to the same thing.

    Lets say this guy "Smith" is the best in the world at standing on one hand while singing the Sweding national anthem backwards while balancing a football on his left foot. Sure... he is the best, but any human could do this with the same training and interest - at this task/"sport" or whatever.

    Is this a wrong assumtion, or am I so right Im just pointing out the obvious?

    This is ofcourse looking at it from a scientific/biological viewpoint when it comes to human potential and context, and not a commercial one. Looking at it this way arent such achievements utterly pointless and meaningless? For each one that breaks a record - there are countless other potentials that biologically could have done it BETTER.

    I think Roger Waters would like to get in touch with that guy Smith. What would be a shame is if Smith HAD to do the other gyrations, because Waters would be interested in his singing the Swedish National Anthem backwards and it could be difficult to get the right accoustics mounting the microphone upside down...


    I think the key word in all of this is "dedication." That can easily translate to "inspiration."
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