Being “the very best” and “catching ‘em all”

Young Koh

If you are reading this paper, it is most likely that you are a student at this school. In our millennial generation, it is also very likely that you have heard of, or once were, or still are a fanatic of the Pokémon cartoon series. Pokémon has aired around 700 episodes to date (and counting) in 14 seasons.

We grew up with Pokémon. We know the song: “I wanna be the very best, like no one else was…” As we hail these as elements of our precious childhood, are we submitting to the thought that we have to “be the very best like no one ever was?” We consistently complain about how stressful school is, but did we bit impose the very same stress to “be the very best” when we were merely children? Also, if we are as stressed as we say we are, why does no one fight this status quo that is so oppressing us? It should not be a surprise that with this early introduction and saturation to a world where one has to “be the very best,” everyone wants to “be the very best.”

However, this is not to say that competition is bad. In moderation, competition motivates people to do more and to be more than what is “ok.” Without competition, people would be satisfied to be doing what is comfortable and lack motivation to pursue greater goals. However, if we consistently push for all to “be the very best,” there is potential to put society in an utterly dog-eat-dog situation. Also, consistent and unfaltering pushes for dominance cause a lot of stress! We have quite enough of that, thank you very much.

The best remembered line in the entire song is, “Gotta catch ‘em all!” No, it is never enough to have six, ten or even a hundred Pokémon Ash can never quit on his quest because e never seems to have them ALL. This endless (and seemingly aimless) search for more can often be seen in our lives. It is also seen in a recent advertisement where a little girl declares, “If you really like something, you’ll want more of it. We want more, we want more, like, you really like it, ya want more.”

Although, if we stop to think, what more do we want? Does Ash really need to be ten forever in order to fill his backpack of 99 Pokéballs with Pokémon? When can we look beyond “more” and move on to being content? These are not rhetorical questions, but neither do they have easy answers.

We pursue more and we struggle to be the best, and in this struggle, we often forget why we started the chase. What is the evil in slowing down and re-evaluating the purpose of our own actions? It might not be such a bad idea, would it? Perhaps we should, but to each their own.

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