Competition is very fundamental to biology. Anyone that has ever so much as glanced at a copy of "On the Origin of Species" should be familiar with the concept of all organisms competing for survival. But I can't help but shake this feeling that in our civilized society the need for competition is miniscule by comparison. So it always feels weird when some part of my brain urges me to be competitive.
This is never more evident than when I am driving a car. If I were driving at the local speed limit and someone passed me, one of my first thoughts would not be "there is a car that is passing me" or "this would be a bad time to change lanes". My thought path immediately skips to "how dare they pass me" then "I should speed up be the one in front" in some territorial manner. But I have to stop and ask myself "So what if they passed me?". Going faster will not save me a statistically significant amount of time. I have nothing to gain by going faster.
Other examples include questions asked in class when the professor wants to check if they have held our attention. Sometimes if a student answers a question I didn't know, my thoughts are not immediately "I did not know the answer to that question" proceeded by "I should read about that subject in the textbook to prepare myself for the next quiz". My thoughts are "how did they know the answer to that?" "This person knows more than me and is a threat to my integrity", "I should catch up so this doesn't happen again", "Hopefully I can show them my intellectual dominance when the next question is asked that I can answer". I should clarify myself in saying that these thoughts are not literally what am thinking. These thoughts are initial raw thoughts (read my previous journal) that I have in response to situations. But the weird thing is, I shouldn't care whether or not another student can answer more questions than me. I've never really been invested in competition so it feels weird when my mind snaps to competitive thoughts when I see someone outperforming me.
This leads me to believe that having these thoughts is instinctive. It's rather annoying having these instinctive thoughts when I wish everyone in society could be pleasant and cooperative.