Rhetoric and competition? True or False

To start the response I would first like to share my own perspective on competition’s place in modern day society. I believe competition is embedded in our daily mundanes, from the study, socializing, going to the gym etc We as human beings are constantly engaging in a competition to be more popular, smarter and more attractive than people around us. However, scholars like Hutcheon, Bateson, and Werron often shed the negative light of the idea of competition, and use their academic voice to display their concerns and arguments against competitions role in an individuals actions and growth. After reading the different writings I still yet to decide on my opinion on the subject

Linda Hutcheon is a professor at the University of Toronto in the department of comparative literature and has stumbled across this topic during her embarrassing verbal slip during her presidential address in the Modern Language Association. In the academic journal, ‘Rhetoric and competition published in 2003 by duke university pressed, by author Linda Hutcheon express her concerns of competition in the academic community and the “wolfish” seen in the institutional and academic level.

Hutcheon uses wolfish as a metaphor to denote her dissatisfaction with the learning environment nowadays having strayed away from a collaborative effort to a battle of personal gain and fame. However as a reader of my age I cannot truly understand or support her point as competition is all I know academically, competition is fierce when academic resources is scares, the bell curve, the amount of attention a teacher could give you and the number of students a university can accept, in this day and age if your not completive someone else would be ; Linking this back one of Hutcheon examples on current business models “oppositions must be destroyed; our profits must be maximized by minimizing the other”, she argues such models stemmed from our academic culture where she describes as demolition and dispute and where events that are mutually beneficial are limited. I would argue for an economy where everyone is mutually benefitted would be impossible, as it would make our society lack the incentive to evolve. Taking smartphones as an example if Apple and Samsung develop new technology in a mutually benefiting manner, specialization would not occur ever product made would be similar.

On the other hand, I also argue with Hutcheon’s hopes for “community learning replacing individual success” is valuable and insightful, but I do not agree with her judgment of completion has to be “eased through action rather than time” as though competition and collaborative efforts. Should be promoted together. The theme of completive and collaboration being mutually exclusive is also apparent in Bateson article as well she mentions “if we are to survive, we are going to survive by thinking systemically, not as separate and competitive organism”, this made me wonder why both Hutcheon and Bateson has similar conclusions. Maybe the argument of competition doesn’t change regardless of the felid of study? Maybe Hutcheon and Bateson don’t feel the need to be completive as both are successful in their own rights? Maybe their experience in research taught them the importance of thinking collaborative trumps competition?

Comparing the stylistic choice between the 2 pieces, Bateson used arguments from multiple felids such as biology, religion, and economics primarily using factual evidence to persuade her audience. Alternatively Hutcheon’s primary focused on raising examples from her personal experience and her perception of theories to address her point. I believe the difference can be explained through their field of study and their academic style choices, however, I cannot be sure due to Bateson commentary being converted from a speech. Moreover I believe a notable similarity between Hutcheon and Werron style is the amount of rhetorical questioned used, this is understable as both Hutcheon and Werron believe that “competition implies the existence of a zero-sum game where winner takes all” ; with their opinion strongly set the use of rhetorical questions may be their way to provoke the readers inner thoughts and a way to guilt trip the readers to become a more collaborative being.

To conclude I believe competition in the academic culture is not an ideological weapon, but rather something without an answer as for myself I understand and accept both sides of the argument and choose to remain this way for now. To “wrap up’ I would like to provide a option on a topic hidard22tk’s brought up, which article induced my curiosity, out of the 3 readings I personally enjoyed Bateson’s the most as she tackled the topic from multi-angles rather than hugely inputting their interpretation into the article-which at times made me feel like I was being forced into accepting their point of view rather than just being persuaded.

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