- Richard Dodson wrote:
>However, I would like to present to the group forHello Richard. Thanks for your comments.
>discussion the notion that governed violence - let's call
>it "competition" - has virtue and is even "in accordance
If competition provides an enviroment that will incline individuals to
perform at there best without an attachment to winning I might be
persuaded. Sadly, I see that this is usually not the case. In our society
especially personal excellence takes a back seat to winning at almost any
cost. This attitude, in my opinion, does not promote good character
development or the practice of virtue, and is in fact antithical to our
best human nature.
Do you think there is a way to inspire top performance, physical, mental,
or otherwise, that could supplant the desire to beat the other guy?
Seventeen years in the military has led me to observe that one
receives the behavior that one rewards. Competition, while not bad
in itself, rewards beating the other competitors. It may do so by
encouraging the best efforts of all parties but the rewarded behavior
is still victory.
Each individual is responsible not only for their own actions but
for the attitudes and motivations which underly them. No one, therefore,
can excuse poor conduct or attitudes on the basis of being in a
competitive situation. Each of us must strive for the highest human
excellence (and other preferences, as appropriate) because they foster
growth in wisdom and virtue.
Other motivations, while perhaps not faulty in themselves, are lesser
choices and should, therefore, be set aside for the higher ones.
- "Competition" is an interesting subject. All through my years I
heard one had to compete or otherwise lurk down in the bottom
of the bottle. Cream could only rise to the top by competing!
Well in my many years in a hard-nosed workworld, guess what I
That not so little discovery made me wonder just where we got
this idea of "competition." Of course there have always been the
bullys and the scramblers of this world, but are they and their ilk
responsible for an almost worldwide mindset in regard to competition?
There's the Darwinian perception of "Red in Tooth and Claw." Maybe
that's the culprit! If I may draw upon some recently acquired practical
knowledge, I would like to say that my consideration that Nature is nothing
but competition (mainly for prey/food) has been somewhat diluted.
These past six months I have been engaged in intensive training to
become a docent of Natural History at a major museum. Professional
naturalists and curators, experts in their fields, have been teaching
us. And, yes, there's a certain amount of competition--but, also,
there's alot of natural cooperation involved in the ecosystem. Some
animals share common habitats, but do not share the same food habits.
Some animals share the same food, but hunt at different times--since
some are diurnal and some nocturnal. Some exist in cooperation off
another species. And there's, of course, the cooperation between some
plant and animal life in regard to pollination.
I could go on and on with examples of cooperation in Nature, but I don't
want to bore you too much. But beyond this, anthropologically speaking,
there's been a slow shift from the competitive to the cooperative outlook.
Food-gatherers moved into agricultural via cooperative efforts. The
single hunter discovered that he (and his tribe) could manage more food
Methinks this business of "competition" that seemingly entraps so
many of us today, especially commercially within a free-market, etc.,
stems back to the Industrial Revolution which in turn spawned
Darwinism. But is this historical period truly reflective of Nature?
As I said, "competition" is a good subject. What would the classical
Stoics have to say about this? What might we modern Stoics think
about this subject, drawing upon our own experience and learning?