I've been thinking about how many issues in life are really zero sum matters. That is, if you add to one thing you necessarily take away from another.
The main example that I've been considering is theat of independence. Many folks like to think that independence is a good thing; but as my senior pastor noted, the dark side of independence is loneliness. He didn't say so, but I think the reason is that relationships are essentially zero sum; they are a mixture of autonomy or independence and connectedness or intimacy. To the extent that you are independent or autonomous, you are not connected or intimate. RTo put it another way, to the extent that you claim to have independence i a relationship, to that same extent you actually don't have a relationship.
People seem to thrive on the idea of beinf independenc, but that jsut means the are disconnected from other people, out of relationship. Think about it; the ultimate in indpendence is hermitage. Can you imagine really wanting to live that way? I can't.
I think the reason why people speak of independence so highly is that it is luxury. In our affluent society we can accomplish so much without other people that we can tout independence as a virtue. Back it he day (whenever that was) when we really needed each other to accomplish anythig important ( like survival) I don't think anyone really talked about the virtue opf independence. They probably talked more about the value of community, of interdependence, of relationship.
I don't have a shred of real evidence to back this thinking up really, no sociological reports or studies. It just makes sense to me. Of course, to the extent that it does make sense to me the converse doesn't.
Sense too is zero sum. Go figure.