The Giants Play Rousseau’s Game
After reading Rousseau’s Social Contract it was clear that an integral part in creating his ideal solution to the psychological problem human beings face in civil society is teamwork. While this sounds a little cheesy, the idea definitely does come into fruition on a rare but inspiring occasion in real life. While often times what we see in society is greed, egocentrism, and vanity, there are those rare occasions when people put aside these natural instincts and work for the good of the whole, as Rousseau suggests. While the Detroit Pistons may have once been an example of this happening in the real world, this year there is a new sports team who showed their ability to set aside human tendency to self destruct and work together for the “general will”. Being a San Franciscan, I can’t help but see the connection between my team The San Francisco Giants, and Rousseau’s proposed idea that,
“Each of us places his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will; and as one we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.”
This is exactly what my team did this year. Lead by manager Bruce Bochy (though there is really no “leader” in this scenario), the Giants started out as a bunch of as Bochy has called them “misfits” to a team who worked together with passion, unity and equality to win the World Series. When Rousseau talks about law he states that,
“Public enlightenment leads to the union of understanding and will in the social body: the parts are made to work exactly together, and the whole is raised to its highest power.”
Many times in his Social Contract does Rousseau make similar statements about parts working together to make the whole the best it can be. In the 2010 playoffs this is what the Giants were all about. A few specific situations provide good examples of this. Edgar Renteria has declined dramatically over the past three years. He only had 22 RBI’s this season but went into the post-season optimistic and supportive, while still warming the bench. When Renteria finally got a chance to play he didn’t wallow in self-pity or selfishness. He played his best and excelled to help his team win their first title in 56 years and won the series MVP award. This was a memorable moment in the giants rise to championship, but not the only one that mattered. Every player held importance and cared from starting pitchers to closers to people like Barry Zito, a regular season pitcher who wasn’t awarded a chance to play in the playoffs. This wasn’t important to Zito though and he realized and accepted his place in the group as a whole. When the Giants won the final game Zito was one of the last players to go back into the field house after basking in the glory of his teams win; not his win, but his teams. No prima donnas, no me, only we; the perfect solution to humanities tendency towards corruption. Rousseau would be proud.