The Eyes of Competition

Competition. Since the dawn of time, humans have competed which each other, from resources to personal opinions. Before we look at the article, I want to start with defining a very basic raw term of competition. Merriam- Webster’s dictionary defines competition as “the act or process of competing: Rivalry: such asthe effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favourable terms”Now this definition will be our building block and using this starting point we will build into the idea of what competition really is and how it is perceived by others. First, we will look at Bateson’s speech and how she forces her views on competition onto the reader, versus Hutcheson, who has the same perspective but rather suggests solutions to the “problem” of independence.

To start, Bateson approaches competition as the driving factor of society’s downfall. She looks at society, especially America, as very individualistic: people fight for themselves and against others. Throughout the article, she expresses her view in a way that is intended to make her readers uncomfortable. She pushes the idea of competition being entirely bad with no hope for good that can come out of it. Her entire article continues on the notion of how we as a society will fail if we do not change our ways and work together. Bateson, however, does not seek for ways to resolve the problem. Instead, she argues how adults almost train or teach infants to learn to be independent and to not collaborate with others. Bateson describes competition as a very independent way of thinking, and that no collaboration can come out of it. She notes how competition lacks communication, which thereby leads to non-co-operation with others (a very one-sided view). Competition in her eyes is purely selfish and is a way of human life that if not changed will result in the fall of society. Hutcheson also states how competition is a factor of human life that has evolved over millennia. Rather than just saying that ALL competition is bad, she centres her paper around the fields of education and business. She uses these topics to focus her views on specific subjects with facts rather than writing about her own personal opinion. She sees competition as a problem with the potential of being solved, comparatively to Bateson who views it as an issue of a society that will not be fixed unless we open our eyes.

Also unlike Bateson, she acknowledges the problems of competition and looks for ways to resolve it by using a different model of thinking. She circles around the model of “counter-discourse,” by definition: “discourses of resistance ceaselessly interrupt[ing] what would otherwise be the seamless serenity of the dominant, its obliviousness to any contestation.” She looks at counter-discourse as a solution as it helps us critically think and ultimately see the issues within society, (i.e. competition), and realize how we have to progress to an inclusive way of life.

Now that we have gained a deeper insight into both of the articles we can examine how it builds on to what the broad definition of competition may be. Competition may very well just be two people competing for something, something many view as societally destructive, but it may also have the capacity to be the very start of a new community leading us towards progress. By comparing these two articles, we see competition is purely based on perspective and varies depending on the eye of the beholder.


  1. Hi, I enjoyed reading this and felt that you had some interesting thoughts. However, I just firstly want to say that I don’t know if such a specific definition is a good thing to build off of. It seems rather technical, which would make it hard to come up with many ideas. Although I say this, I like how you concluded your response, saying that competition is actually subjective to the beholder, and so basing this off of such a specific definition of competition, I think this is a good conclusion of the comparison of two articles that argue differently.


  2. Hello. Thank you for the insightful read. I also really liked your conclusion of how perspective determines what reality is like for everyone. I often find as well that experiences can change drastically depending on the way in which I look at it, and I feel like competition can be a learning experience that leads to self-improvement.
    I’m wondering if you think that competition generally has positive or negative implications. Do you think it’s more beneficial to view competition in a more positive lens and regard it as a positive learning experience, or do you agree with Bateson and Hutcheon that we should greatly diminish the amount of competition taking place?


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