Alfie Kohn: the case against competition

A remarkable talk on competition and its psychological problems by Alfie Kohn, one of my favourite researchers on child psychology.

“Victory begets enmity; the defeated dwell in pain. Happily the peaceful live, discarding both victory and defeat.”

Note mp3 file is 75 MB!


How funny to see Alfie’s name mentioned. My father is a researcher in education and worked with him all throughout my childhood. He used to come over to our house during the summers while he was teaching at conferences.


Friend @dharmacorps … Well, it’s even more surprising for me to find here someone who has actually met him! you must have had an excellent parenting experience if he was friends with your parents when you were child.

His work is unique and profound, standing against established beliefs in western psychology. I wonder if he ever got curious about Buddhist psychology; a lot of what he says is so directly aligned with Dhamma, hence the posting here.

before going forth I worked in child development for over a decade; I learned so much from him and much of his observations were directly applied in my work with children with behavioural problems and aggressive habits. I must say I have a lot of gratitude for him because of that: it was possible for us to help many children and their families because of that.



I think our societies are still based on winning and losing.
You see this where ever you look.
Exams, sports, business, election you name it.


I do not see much competition in healthy families, or marriages. :slight_smile: I am not sure competition actually plays much of a role in education or learning; while certainly rampant in academia, I don’t see learning needing competition so much as challenge.

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