The Underdog

If you bark at me, I might laugh or jump, startled. And if you continue barking at me beyond the point of the joke, I’ll start to get worried.

Worried for you, because there may be something terribly wrong.

And worried for me, because I now see an animal driven by emotion and instinct, as opposed to a human with a reasonable brain.

The problem is that dogs are not the underdogs. The brains are. We are.

Emotion and instinct dictate much of our lives. We really have to struggle—constantly— to make good, long-term choices.

To brush our teeth a little more thoroughly. To delay gratification, to postpone comfort, to confront the wrong and painstakingly construct the right.

We have to fight a losing battle, again and again, versus a superior force.

Our rational brain is wrapped up around the ancient animal brain, bootstrapped on top of it.

Old money has deep roots; it’s cunning and resourceful and brutal. It can pull more levers.

We really only have one defense—reason—and that’s pretty weak. Especially in the evening, at night, out on the streets.

But all this just to say fear not, for there is hope: it’s far more rewarding to root for the underdog.

Are you cheering yet?


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