Competition Without Combat

Honest, friendly competition in sports and in some other fields can be mutually profitable. But when competition is based on pride, greed, or fear instead of on a desire to give, it becomes a form of combat, and it is unsatisfying—even destructive.

The competition of free enterprise, when practiced with unselfishness and integrity, encourages individual and collective growth in a positive way. Such constructive competition is not only legitimate but needed in order to avoid authoritarian control. However, rivalry, personal or business, often becomes simply self-centered efforts to get more than the other fellow, often by any means available, or it is a reaction to the fear that if one doesn't rush about aggressively and get his share at once there won't be any left for him. In either case, contention of this kind ignores two essential facts made clear in Christian Science: one, because God is infinite good, good must be ever present, inexhaustible; two, the individual's true purpose or reason for existing, even humanly, is not to get but to give—to express good.

The competition or rivalry that is based on the belief that good is limited, that there isn't enough of it to go around, or at least that God's goodness can be unequally distributed, encourages dishonesty, subterfuge, deceit, sharp and unethical methods, and even cruelty and violence. Sometimes aggressive, underhanded, and deceptive competitive practices may seem so common as to justify widespread acceptance. It is falsely assumed that this is a necessary part of modern business demands, that it must be all right because "everybody does it." Such subtle evil should be persistently rejected, for there is in fact no limit to or lack of good. And obtaining whatever is humanly right need never be at the expense of one's ethical standard or that of others.

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From Dream to Reality
July 23, 1966

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