The Tao of Losing

Alec Weaver

Alec Weaver

October 4, 2012 2:22 PM CDT

It has become somewhat of a ritual for me, that when my roommate is absent for any given evening, I watch a documentary. The most recent one that I have watched was entitled "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia". The White clan is the essence of hillbilly/redneck/white trash in the best possible way. Almost all members of this family have been imprisoned at some point or another; they drink, smoke, fight and do lines of Xanax in dirty a family. They are what the world might call, losers. During the feature, the sheriff of the town asked why the filmmakers weren't making a documentary on the boy from the town that got a full ride to MIT. Well the answer is simple, because he will be fine. He'll go to MIT, get an education, find a job, start a family and live his life according to plan. He doesn't need his story told. He's a winner.

There is a kind of Zen-like quality to the Whites existence. Yes, they are losers but they are happy. They like to party with family, and that's that. So why glorify these drugged up, alcoholic, criminal redneck family? Because the world needs loser in order to function. As human beings we need someone to look to and say "I may not be the best, but at least I'm better than them". If everyone were a winner, the world, nay, the universe would be thrown into chaos. Losers breed winners. In order for the universe to function someone needs to lose in order for someone to win, whether it is in some sort of competition, or just life in general there is a profound Taoism to being a loser. Look at it this way; The Harlem Globe Trotters need the Washington Generals, without them, the Globe Trotters wouldn't be who they are. This is the way in which things must operate.


Here's the thing. Losers perform a valuable service by making mistakes none of us ever want to make. Being a loser means that you are a kind of martyr for society. Non-losers look at you and say "I don't want to end up like them, so I'll refrain from doing anything that might lead me towards where they are". In this way, winners aka √úbermensch are bred and advance our society, all because of those who the universe has dictated will go through life on a losing streak. This is not to say that if you are a loser, that you have the right to now become depressed and emotional and start listening to the cure. By all means losers, try and improve your station, because the universe never intends for anything to be permanent. Eventually the universe will balance itself, just give it time. Look at it this way; Bill Gates was more than likely a nerd in high school and college, but he is now one of the richest men in the world. Compare this to Jerry Sandusky, who was probably pretty popular and athletic back in the day but is now a convicted child-toucher. It's a prodigal son scenario. No one cares about the son who does everything his dad tells him to because that is part of the plan, but when the loser son gets his shit together, everybody goes nuts and parties like its nineteen ninety nine.

So if you are a loser, take pride in that fact. In a world full of depressed sheep-men you perform the function of keeping them afloat (emotionally speaking). You are a noble breed, who with dedication, may one day improve your standing with the akashic records, but until that time hold your head high and crank up the Chumbawumba.