In Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game": "the world is made up of two classes -the hunter and the hunted." How does this relate to the world today?
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With regard to this question, I cannot resist quoting a passage from William Faulkner's short story "Wash."
That was whom they would expect him to run from. It seemed to him that he had no more to run from than he had to run to. If he ran, he would merely be fleeing one set of bragging and evil shadows for another just like them, since they were all of a kind throughout all the earth which he knew, and he was old, too old to flee far even if he were to flee. He could never escape them, no matter how much or how far he ran: a man going on sixty could not run that far. Not far enough to escape beyond the boundaries of earth where such men lived, set the order and the rule of living. It seemed to him that he now saw for the first time, after five years, how it was that Yankees or any other living armies had managed to whip them: the gallant, the proud, the brave; the acknowledged and chosen best among them all to carry courage and honor and pride. Maybe if he had gone to the war with them he would have discovered them sooner. But if he had discovered them sooner, what would he have done with his life since? How could he have borne to remember for five years what his life had been before?
Holden Caulfield of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye must have felt the same way about some men as Wash is feeling in Faulkner's marvelous and so distinctively Faulknerian prose. Holden would call such men "the hotshots." They are everywhere, and they are strong because they cling together like bats in a cave.
I disagree with any statements that pose to extremes and leave no room for middle ground. That's like saying everyone in the world is either rich or poor. It's true that there are a lot of people out their taking advantage of others, and there are many victims of these people. However, I don't believe you can't be successful without having to hurt someone else. It's an interesting quote, but it sounds extreme and cynical.
The world today still functions under Spencer's "Survival of the Fittest" theology. As much as some would like to deny it, some people exist as the hunted and others exist as the hunters. While this may not be a wonderful thing to think of, it is very prevalent in our schools today. Think about the rampage that the media, government, and administrators of schools are on regarding bullying. There is not just physical bullying anymore; now there is cyber-bullying. It has expanded to a global issue with no one agency able to patrol it. Unfortunately, the hunters and hunted still exist today.
The entire history of mankind evinces the basic maxim that there are the weak and there are the strong. And, despite the New Testament's passage that "The Meek shall inherit the world," so far it has been the strong--be they powerful because of money or political power, or something else--who control things. That man is a predator is an evident concept despite all the corrective measures that modern society puts in his way.
There is a poem that deals satirically with this evident concept: "The History Teacher" by Billy Collins. Here is a site at which you can read it.
Rainsford says there are two classes of people, and he is partially correct--there are at LEAST two classes of people in most societies. You've gotten some good examples (above) by my colleagues, but there are more than just the two categories given. There is the instigator for pranks on the sub, there is a group of followers, but there is also undoubtedly the student or students who are not participatory. There are the rich and the poor, but there are also those in the middle. There are, indeed, people at both ends of the spectrum; however, there are certainly more than just those two, and they inhabit the middle ground on which plenty of people live.
Social Darwinism is that idea that intelligent people will prosper and less intelligent people will not. The problem with this is that we do not all start from scratch. We inherit the status of our parents when we are born. The offspring of intelligent people are not always intelligent, yet they benefit from their parents' resources. Children of poor people are not necessarily less intelligent, but they inherit their parents’ barriers to success.
You can argue that some people are and always will be simply more aggressive than other people. This does not seem to be something that can be changed.
In our society, there are people who are more aggressive and more into taking risks. They may hurt us and exploit us at times, but they also push us forward. Any person who is a leader in any sort of field is a hunter to some extent. You simply can't get to the top of a profession without being a "hunter." (Look at Michael Jordan, for instance. He was renowned for being aggressive and overbearing with his teammates and opponents, but he sure accomplished a lot.)
Other people are more passive and less willing to take risks. That doesn't make them better or worse than they other people, just different. They are more likely to get abused and exploited and that's not fair. But they are also less likely to push our society ahead by being daring and entrepreneurial.
So I do think that there are people who are naturally hunters and people who are naturally the hunted -- it's just the way of the world.
No matter where we turn, we are either being taken advantage of, or we may in fact be the one taking advantage of others. You see it in the high school setting as one student can manipulate a whole classroom to rebel when a sub arrives or can gather all the friends in a social group to try something they don't really want to try. In this case, that one student is the "hunter" and the friends are his "prey".
Similarly, the problems of the economy right now are due to dirty practices of banks, the politicians that allowed them to get aways with it, and the members of our society who knowingly chose to participate in poorly constructed loans for homes. These big banks could be considered hunters, because they were hunting for more money, while the innocent (some of the time) purchasers of their home loans got messed with and lost lots of money. I am sure many Americans have felt singled out and taken advantage of by the practices of banks and creditors.
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