Emerson says, Let the Victory fall where it may; we are on that side. In his inimitable way Waldo is for the human...the WE is all of us and no matter what happens, it happens to us. He also says No matter how often you are defeated, you are born to Victory. So Victory means something more than "winning" to Emerson...perhaps it's simply the greater glory of being fashioned out of the divine spark.
But on this mortal plane we might concern ourselves with winning and losing and what they mean. It is election day after all.
Let's go about this a little sideways--we'll tell this truth slant--and start with this from Ta-Nahesi Coates at The Atlantic:
Surely there are aspects of humanity which are not pleasant. How do our institutions reflect that? Have we created institutions which look unseemly, but actually are addressing some deeply-felt need? In relation to football, what if we--as humans--have a need to vent aggression, even if only vicariously? And what if we do this through other people who will be richly rewarded for their sacrifice, but will also suffer tremendously?
This is in response to a comment about democracy and taking sides and the Jon Stewart thing in DC...and Coates's own responses as a sports fan (football in particular it seems). The analogy extends to we pay folks (a lot) to play for a side and then we revel in their wins/losses and in the process we "vent aggression".
I may be jumbling some things, but things are a little jumbled in the post. I can't say with any confidence that humans "need" to vent aggression--I am in no way an "ist" of any kind with any pedigree. I do get the picture though...and perhaps there is a conflation with the Aristotelian idea of catharsis achieved through these entertainments.
So much is being written now on "taking sides" (Chris Hedges has been working his hardest to create a massive depression in me lately via his work at truthdig that I may need to find someone out there who will present the "manic" side of life for me)--Red/Blue; Right/Left; Christian/Muslim...and so on--that I think I'll try to focus on just one aspect of the US/Them dichotomy that Coates refers to specifically: sports.
Chomsky (a personal rule of mine--always follow Emerson with Chomsky) has written well about the role of sports in inculcating this particular Us/Them dichotomy..."Team" is after all defined only in relation to another team.
This is the institution of sports I'm talking about. Playing games is not necessarily "sports". I hated playing Little League baseball even when winning because it was so full of expectation from parents and coaches and teammates--striking out was an offense, committing and error would result in massive guilt (deserved if you asked other players)...But I loved throwing and catching a baseball, and still do.
That for me is the essence of Sports vs. Play. One inculcates a kind of sociopathic need to WIN and destroy while the other is about physicality and freedom.
Now, Coates asks if this is humanly necessary--but what exactly? Institutionalized aggression? In this there seems no difference in claiming membership in a religion/cult; a tribe; a country club; a fraternity/sorority; a society; an occupation; a specialty; a nation; a state; a family. These institutions exist and their role is to perpetuate themselves. They wish to fund themselves...they wish to exert influence; they wish to be the "right" society/organization; institution. They claim their Victories daily.
I am afraid I am born to Victory and yet daily defeated by the divisive nature of culture and society--which is, after all, just another team I am on.