Let competition give way to cooperation for societies to grow

Published: Thu 31 Jan 2019, 6:36 PM

Last updated: Thu 31 Jan 2019, 8:37 PM

In my current semester in university, my English professor instructed us to complete a summary-based assignment. Among our choices were two literal works of different genres - Gerald Graff's, Disliking Books at an early age and Deborah Tannen's article, The Chronicles of Higher Education - Agonism in the academy.
While the first one was more of a bookish culture, I was inclined towards the curious term of agonism - unique in meaning, and unrecognisable in origin. After reading the article, I realised that my everyday functioning was a testament of the agonism in my daily life. Our society has been witness to agonism among people. Just as scholars compete against each other for academic supremacy, we play tug-of-war and compete against one another for the sake of societal supremacy - economic status, fame, stature, success and so on.
In Agonism in the academy, the author tries to educate the readers on the drawbacks of excessive criticism, arguing that when scholars present research-based work in the academy, the other scholars mainly lean towards criticism, instead of learning something from new and factual ideas presented in research. Conclusively, as students and observers, we learnt to frequently pick on minor weaknesses of the project for the sake of personal, academic supremacy.
In her article, Tannen has urged readers to change their approach towards life from being boxers in a boxing match to that of a group of engineers constructing the bases of knowledge and growth. In simpler words, she urges scholars to look at the positives and learn from essential discoveries rather than targeting the weaknesses of projects. And I feel that this urge for a transition from competition to cooperation should be a lesson for society to learn; with cooperation our community will develop and grow further.
Lastly, we need to learn that though scholars play a crucial role in different fields of education, our community is what plays an integral role in developing humanity, which is undoubtedly the basis and scope for a healthy and productive future.
The writer is based in the US

By Rohan Keni

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