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Quotes on Competition and Cooperation

Opinionated quotations from the famous and not-so-famous.

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The zero-sum game: that's the way it is if you're a competitive person and you see capitalism in that way. Zero-sum game implies winners and losers which I don't agree with. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, it all comes back to zero (minus eight, plus eight). But I don't agree with that because all boats can rise on a rising sea. Good films can help other films to be open. There's a different psychology at work. If you're overly competitive, you'll be exclusionary and say it's a zero-sum game (I must get eight and he must lose eight). Gekko simplifies it down to a painting. He says he bought this painting or this building for X and he sold it for Y and he made that profit and he assumes that somebody else got beat, but that's not necessarily true. You don't always lose.

Oliver Stone (adapted)

Director's commentary from his Wall Street DVD (2000)

You were placed on this earth to create, not to compete.

Dr. Robert Anthony

Cooperation is a matter of survival. The real world faces and will continue to face significant problems and crises that can only be solved through cooperation. Without the chance to cooperate, we run the risk of having people further polarized, of increasing misunderstanding, and of escalating the probability of mutually destructive conflicts (interpersonal as well as international).

From the book Playfair by Matt Weinstein and Joel Goodman (page 205)

Competition is dangerous, socially offensive, considered right and normal, because you are brought up to that value system. What kind of competition did Jesus have? What kind of competition is there in your body? Suppose your brain said, "I'm the most important organ!" And the liver said, "I am. And I want a Free Enterprise system!" You'd rot away in a month if every organ of your body went out for itself.

Jacque Fresco (1974 Larry King Interview)

Most people laugh when one suggests any kind of system other than the one currently in place, saying that behaviors such as competing and killing and the "victor taking the spoils" are what makes their civilization great! Most people even think there is no other natural way to be, that it is the nature of humans to behave in this manner, and that to act any other way would kill the inner spirit that drives man to succeed. (No one asks the question, "Succeed at what?")

Difficult as it is for truly enlightened beings to understand, most people on your planet believe in this philosophy, and that is why most people don't care about the suffering masses, the oppression of minorities, the anger of the underclass, or the survival needs of anyone but themselves and their immediate families.

God from Conversations with God (Book 2) through Neale Donald Walsch (adapted)

Focus on competition has always been a formula for mediocrity.

Daniel Burrus

Most people who watch sports don't understand that our true nature is to cooperate, not compete. We have been force-fed lies and reshaped to please malicious overlords for millennia.

Duane Alan Hahn

Noncooperative approaches . . . almost always involve duplication of effort, since someone working independently must spend time and skills on problems that already have been encountered and overcome by someone else. A technical hitch, for example, is more likely to be solved quickly and imaginatively if scientists (including scientists from different countries) pool their talents rather than compete against one another.

Alfie Kohn from No Contest: The Case Against Competition

If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.

Unknown

Trying to be number one and trying to do a task well are two different things.

Alfie Kohn from No Contest: The Case Against Competition

Forget your opponents; always play against par.

Sam Snead

The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself.

Washington Allston

Do not hold the delusion that your advancement is accomplished by crushing others.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.

Alexander Graham Bell

Competition, which is the instinct of selfishness, is another word for dissipation of energy, while combination is the secret of efficient production.

Edward Bellamy

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.

Bertrand Russell

It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that your greatest successes will be derived.

Ralph Charell

We destroy the . . . love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards--gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A's on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean's lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys--in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.

John Holt from No Contest: The Case Against Competition by Alfie Kohn which is quoted from How Children Fail

To free the mind from the habit of competition, we must see in detail the process by which the mind is ensnared by competition.

Marguerite Beecher

One must marvel at the intellectual quality of a teacher who can't understand why children assault one another in the hallway, playground, and city street, when in the classroom the highest accolades are reserved for those who have beaten their peers. In many subtle and some not so subtle ways, teachers demonstrate that what children learn means much less than that they triumph over their classmates. Is this not assault? . . . Classroom defeat is only the pebble that creates widening ripples of hostility. It is self-perpetuating. It is reinforced by peer censure, parental disapproval, and loss of self-concept. If the classroom is a model, and if that classroom models competition, assault in the hallways should surprise no one.

Joseph Wax from No Contest: The Case Against Competition by Alfie Kohn which is quoted from Competition: Educational Incongruity

The olympics are nothing more than TV's way of telling you to go outside and mow the lawn.

Jim Goebel

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Alfie Kohn - Education and Competition

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Read these quotes and any adapted quotes at your own risk. (An adapted quote is a quote I have edited in some way to make it clearer or shorter so I can understand it better.) View this page and any external web sites at your own risk. I am not responsible for any possible spiritual, emotional, physical, financial or any other damage to you, your friends, family, ancestors, or descendants in the past, present, or future, living or dead, in this dimension or any other.

 

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