In Roberta Wiig Berg’s research article, titled Competition and Cooperation: The Wisdom to Know When, we are asked to take a look at an exercise that observes two team’s reactions when faced with a challenge, and the factors that play a role in producing these reactions. Berg’s main argument stems from her finding that, “we do not automatically cooperate; rather, we are programmed to be competitors.” (Top Pg.187) In saying this, she also goes on to mention how she believes “Our organizations would be better served if we did not make this switch unconsciously.”(Top Pg.187) Claiming that we as humans are too quick to look to compete with one another when our views and beliefs are brought into question, when we should instead be trying to cooperate. This I find interesting, as I believe we can draw comparison from these findings to the situation in our current political world; where instead of cooperation through proper discussion opposing parties look to compete and only seem to listen to people who are agreeing with them.
Too often these days does it seem as though the thought of political discourse through means of a proper discussion is impossible. I find it hard to watch or read anything political in the news as it seems as though all anyone can talk about is how right their own opinion is and how wrong other people’s opinion’s are. Why is it that only as of recent has society lost the ability of a proper discussion? The definition of discussion as quoted from the Oxford Dictionary (Linked below) is “The action or process of talking about something in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.” As of lately the world has seen a decline in any proper use of the “exchange of idea’s” or “reaching of decisions” and instead only listened to arguments that fit into their beliefs.
Tali Sharot is a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of London and in her book The Influential Mindshe states that people are open to new information and data but only if it confirms their current beliefs. (Article linked below) Sharot states that emotion plays a bigger part in changing people’s minds than any number of data ever will. Which when you think about how people form their own political beliefs it is done through their emotional response to topics. So obviously when these beliefs are challenged during a discussion it is going to cause an emotional, more competitive response, opposed to a more well thought out and cooperative response. These claims are similar to that of Berg’s in the sense of people being “programmed” to be competitive with one another when they are challenged just like how our emotions (programming) can cause us to neglect the argument and data presented by the other side in a discussion.
The purpose of Berg’s argument was to promote the acknowledgement of our instinctual choice between competition and cooperation. When directly compared to our political discussions where people react emotionally to arguments that do not fit their beliefs; we are able to draw a similarity between the two. However, What is it exactly in today’s society that is harming our discourse only as of recent? Is it that millennial’s are just more emotional so society is not able to have proper discourse? Or is it the fact that previous generations have neglected emotion in exchange for data to the point that certain minorities have been neglected?I believe these are questions society has to keep asking itself if it wants to reach a point of prosperity in our social and political interactions.