Because modernity from the 19th century onwards has its own logic, erected upon the grounds of creating a society where the predominate structure (at least in theory) is meritocracy. The age when reason took over and metaphysical ideas were pushed to the back seat, while we took hold of our own destinies and started to tell our young ones they can be anything they want if they just applied themselves – putting effort and merit at the top of the hierarchy structure and relinquishing all connection failure or success had up to that moment in time with one simple thing – chance, or more personalized brand of it -luck, fortune.
Meritocracy in itself is not a bad idea, it means that it doesn’t matter what accidental circumstances you were born into, who your parents were or what breaks and leniencies life gave you. If you work hard enough you should be able to get to the top. That’s a beautiful motivating concept but, as all things, it is dual and has an equal amount of energy pulling the other way because it logically follows that – if those who are at the top deserve to be at the top, those who are at the bottom deserve to be there as well and it is their fault for not trying hard enough. This reasoning is very different from how previous “pre-age-of-reason” cultures chose to view the concept of “deserving” something. For the most part through our history, human existence was intertwined with the will of the divine and we were to some extent at their mercy, playthings to be toiled with, and how things worked out for us through the course of our lives was a direct reflection of divine will. This world view relieved some of the emotional and mental burden by introducing the concept of nonsingular guilt, exporting responsibility and dissipating it over various causes, such as will of gods or just pure luck of the draw.
The personification of lucky breaks to be worshiped and pleased in ancient Roman times was the goddess Fortuna, Lady Luck herself, and there were 8000 shrines and statues of Fortuna within the Roman Italy. Depicted, she holds the cornucopia – the horn of plenty, in one hand and a rudder in the other, meaning she’s able to turn the luck your way so you’re bestowed with all the worldly joys but, equally, by a tiny flick of a wrist, she can turn the rudder and navigate your fortune elsewhere. She is depicted as a playful fickle thing and has no strict rules as to who gets lucky or not, there is no merit to be considered while she does as she pleases. So before modernity the unlucky, deteriorated fallen and unsuccessful were called “unfortunates” or “misfortunates” to signal that the position they’re in might not be of their own doing, that it might in fact just be due to chance and circumstance that they ended up where they did. Failure was something to be looked upon kindly and not a character flaw. Today we call those unsuccessful in most areas of life we regard as important as “losers”, as if they lost some sort of a game that depended solely on their skill, effort, speed, amount of training and preparation, while taking out any connotation of just having encountered some misfortunate chances which tipped the scales. We make it the “loser’s” fault that he/she “lost” and by the mental and ethical rules of meritocracy they deserved it, when in fact they might have just encountered such a turn in luck that it took them out completely.
Let’s not be so arrogant to ever speak a word “loser”. We’re all a few simple twists and turns of luck away from becoming “losers” ourselves. Things sometimes just happen and we deal with them as they come. You have no idea at what point of your journey you’ll be called a loser while you’re trying like mad but getting no ROI on merrit. Be kind.