In a clip compiled on YouTube of reality TV moments (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w536Alnon24), contestants all basically claim that: "I am not here to make friends." I couldn't get through the whole clip because it kept hammering out the same point, but the collection of echoing voices of the competitive and the anti-social got me thinking. Contestants seem to be of the mind that when they are in a competition and they are driving towards an end-goal, courtesy and kindness get shoved violently out of the way. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any of the success-focused contestants actually won.
I assume that the win-all attitude comes from the fact that something stands to be won in a limited timeframe. In other situations where there is a timelimit, do you say fuck you to courtesy and just go for the gold? No. I think these people need to step back and reprogram their attitudes towards life.
I find myself in a situation where I am in my home city for three months. My time here has an expiry date. While it seems limited, each day has opportunity for connection, growth, evolution, discovery. I can't shut myself down and say that I cannot live each moment with the integrity it deserves. It is better to embrace the moment and live life to its desirable fullness. I know I can't cultivate really enduring longterm relationships and friendships at this moment in time, but I can nurture strong connections, follow-through with old friends to build new memories.
As for the reality show competitors, I think they have it all wrong. Sure you are in it to win, but that can be done with grace and respect for your fellow competitors. One reality show that I think fosters community and family is the summer smash So You Think You Can Dance. Those kids love each other and you see it when they interact with one another and when two of them leave in the elimination show every week. Needing to work together for an artistic endeavour seems to make them all such caring, kind, and admirable individuals. The YouTube clip does demonstrate that the fuck-you attitude in competition is definitely pervasive, but in the end, who really wins?