Survival of the
By Elizabeth Horner
Grade 11, Greenville Senior High School
When I was much younger, my friends and I enjoyed playing superhero. We
loved to imagine what it would be like to have powers, to be the
strongest, smartest protector the world could have --- and to always
triumph over evil. We played make believe that we were the Sailor
Scouts and the Power Rangers.
Recently, I was watching the DVD movie series of the “Godfather”.
I started thinking of gladiators (fighters in the Roman arena),
pirates, and stories of people with power, strength and smarts… and
this saying “survival of the fittest” coined by the British philosopher
Herbert Spencer and used by Charles Darwin as a synonym for “natural
selection” in the “On the Origin of the Species”.
While some people just like the “Godfather” may possess extraordinary
power, they also stepped over a lot of people’s rights in their race to
their goal which is really not what the phrase “survival of the
fittest” is all about --- which to me is struggling to reach the height
of one’s potential and proving yourself worthy.
Bullies flex their muscles to push themselves up by leveraging off
their victims. Looking around me, I see many examples and forms of
bullying that take place. I am a very competitive person but I
don’t think that our world will be a better place if we act like
bullies. The growing shadow of a rival business should be seen as
an inducement to improve and not the motivation to destroy the other. I
believe that at a personal level, the focus and lesson should be how to
bring the very best in oneself. The focus should be how to
cultivate our innate talents, how to apply our skills and smarts rather
than how to defeat and destroy an opponent.
Greenville will soon be holding the Annie Oakley Festival. Annie,
born as Phoebe Ann Mosey, August 13, 1860, is a great role model for us
youth, as she bravely faced and overcame many hurdles as a young person
by using her skills and talents. She did not use her
sharp-shooting skills to hurt or rob a fellowman but to hunt game birds
to bring food to the table. She defeated a renowed sharp-shooter,
Frank Butler, in a shooting match but she did not sought to destroy him
but rather she agreed to test her skills against his. Soon after
his defeat, Frank proposed and married Annie Oakley. The two of
them lived as happy couples, traveling the world, Frank later serving
as Annie’s career manager and agent. Annie became world-renowed
as the great entertainer and star attraction for Buffalo Bill’s Wild
West Show demonstrating her sharp-shooting skills and
talents. Annie’s life story from a young age to her death
on November 3, 1926 is amazing --- inspiring and empowering!!!
Annie who thrived in the worldwide sports predominantly for men helped
open that world to women and indeed, her life is a true example of
“survival of the fittest”.