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Survival of the Fittest
By Elizabeth Horner
Teen Scribe
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”.


 
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