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Meritocracy and the Mountaineers


Ronaldo Mota – Member of the Collegiate of the Presidency of ABMES Chancellor of the Estácio Group

The word meritocracy comes from the Latin meritum, meaning “merit”, coupled with the Greek suffix, which means “power.” Therefore, the literal meaning of meritocracy is “power of merit”.

Thus, there are several definitions of meritocracy, the more general being understood as a system or model of hierarchy and award based on the personal merits of each individual. From this point of view, the process of professional and social leverage would be a consequence of the personalized merits, that is, of their own talents and efforts. Mountaineer, on the other hand, is the name given to the one who exercises the mountaineering, sport activity of high mountain, generally above 2,500 m, which demands good physical condition, specific preparation and suitable equipment. For higher mountains, it is necessary to reach the summit to complete steps along the walk, called bases.

Generally, these bases are used for body recovery at night. On a certain dawn, already on a base towards the top, having fulfilled several previous stages, two climbers wake up in adjacent stalls and share, before facing the progressive difficulties of the day, the first rays of morning sun. One of them, a very strong man and the other a woman prepared, although, of course, without the same force as the first. He turns to her and comments: “Good morning, fellow climber, I see with great happiness that we are together at this stage, showing how it is possible to be equal.” Complementing with: “Even more when we know that you, a resident of the lower valleys, had more difficulties than I, which, in addition to being stronger, inhabited a higher village, already in the mountains, and therefore more accustomed to heights. Even so, wherever our differences weigh, today we are equal. ” To which she turns to him and, in the same tone, says: “Good morning, dear fellow climber. It is a great pleasure to be at the very point of this long journey, but let me affirm that we are all but equal. ” Adding: “Although momentarily together, I understand that the one between the two of us, who has covered the most difficult paths, has faced more obstacles and learned from overcomes, is surely more prepared to reach the summit and will certainly make it better before “. So speaking, the two leave fraternally toward the summit of the mountain.

If we see mountaineering as well as life, in the form of illustrations to understand meritocracy, we can alternatively see them as obstacle courses, where the capacities, talents and dedications are put to the test. It implies, therefore, that measuring meritocracy implies that all competitors have left the same starting line, faced similar obstacles under equal conditions of time and preparation. Even so, the emphasis of this particular metaphor is not primarily to underscore the need for the desirable full identity of conditions and possibilities for all participants in any process. The emphasis in this case is on the importance of contemplating in the measurements of meritocracy the specific capacity exhibited by those who crossed for more problems, left unscathed by more traps and, as a result of their skills, talents and efforts, are differentiated in the following front. In this way, relatively more confident of themselves and able to fulfill, with maximum dignity, their respective missions, whatever they may be.