Rethinking 'Competition': Critical Reflections

Updated: Mar 1

Competition: n. - the activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others (Oxford, 2018).




By: Megan Sanchez


Has competition always entailed a 'winner' vs. a 'loser'? Is the '0 sum game' logic intrinsic to competition a modern thing? What is 'negative competition' vs. 'positive competition'?


To answer the first two questions, studies in Evolutionary Biology suggest that the tendency for mankind to 'dominate' or be 'superior' to someone or something else was established in the era where tribes first invented agriculture and the control of livestock (Crocchiolo, P., 2016).


This is due to the fact that when 'man' learned how to 'manipulate' and 'control' an entity outside of his or herself, the body underwent a significant change: the cranium enlarged, giving space for the brain to "evolve" both physically and "mentally" wise (ibidem).


This, supposedly, is what gave birth to the psychological notion of 'power', and 'exercise of power'.


Since then, from sports (football, American football, baseball... the list goes on) to the educational system, to the career world, the globe has been dominated by this same underlying logic that constitutes competition: power, and its exercise over others, resulting in"winners vs. losers".


But, in 2018, is such a logic 'progressively healthy' for the future of the globe and mankind? Could we not argue that a '0 sum game' type of competition is driven by 'negative energy'?


What I mean when I suggest such a term - negative energy competition - is that the object of focus of the competitors is not the 'Self', but the 'other' (not intended in Edward Said's 'Orientalism' sense).


Therefore, one could argue, that when one focuses on his or her internal evolution (without the intention of outwinning the so-called 'competitor') then he or she is engaging in 'positive competition'.


The need to suggest such a concept comes from our modern era's negative attributes. Some of these are expressed vividly in our social media platforms.


On the negative side, we see a lot of individuals obsessed with numbers of: 'followers, likes, compliments, opportunities given by companies who note your 200k follows... etc, etc.'


This, according to endless studies, (this obsession in winning by numbers) has been directly correllated to increases in depression, suicides, and general anxiety disorders. (See: Studies by George Monbiot on Neoliberalism and unhealthiness).


Often, these negative psychological conditions arise when the self perceives the self as 'not enough' or constantly 'losing' compared to other people.


As a matter of fact, the key word: 'comparing' is usually where trouble happens.


To conclude, what do you think: does 'positive competition' have good potential for the well-being of future society? Is focusing on one's inner growth one of the main things we collectively should work on in order to make 'competition evolve positively'?



Megan Sanchez is the Founder and CEO of EVMO News, author, and alumna of the American University of Rome.


EVMO News always remains separate from the opinions of its contributors and does not adhere to institutional nor political positions.


Help us understand more about #competition the #economy and our #future together as #mankind by engaging in our forum.

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