The first thing school teaches you is to compete which is the worst influence in the world because it is anti-spiritual, anti-metaphysical, and it is anti-spiritual. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: One Original Thought, September, 2011)
I woke one morning this week with the thought that ‘the essence of competition is separation’. The thought caught my attention from both personal and global perspectives. On the personal side, I’m navigating a situation where, from my perspective, competition has overtaken collaboration. Self-honesty requires that I own a part in that.
It seems in our culture today that speaking one’s conviction sets up competition. Rather than curiosity about other points of view and looking for common ground, we’ve been taught to win. When someone wins, another must loose. What is society loosing as a result?
When we take the position that we are ‘better than’, then the other is seen as ‘less than’. Honest, pure communication cannot exist in this condition. Conflict thrives in this environment. We posture. We strategize. We waste energy and lose sight of the common good and our common humanity. I’ve found myself doing just that, in total contradiction to what I want and to who I know that I am.
The evidence (or perhaps carnage is a more apt description) is all around: cheating in sports, manipulation in business, rancor in politics, military conflicts around the globe, anger in the streets and threads of social media. And sadly, that only names a few of the consequences of competition being so deeply embedded in our consciousness, our culture.
At the personal level competition can breed fear, lack of trust, lack of self-worth and self-confidence. And, at least for me, it wears me out and distracts me from the simple joys of life. Cool Hand Luke can testify to that!
I plead guilty to contributing and I long to find a different way forward. Renewing my commitment to that path – NOW!