I had an interesting run in with grad school insanity last week. After making a debatable choice in a presentation, a member of another group berated me and my group members, insisting we admit we were wrong. This continued over a week, with her getting nothing out of her efforts but “This was our research, and we have citations to back it up.” Our choice didn’t affect her grade or research, yet she insisted on berating us for it.
In the midst of that insanely competitive attitude, I started thinking about why we react that way with each other. Why do we feel this constant need to beat each other down to get to the top, like some insane conqueror climbing a pile of bodies to declare victory? Your successes do not devalue my own and succeeding together can only be good for everyone. Your happiness does not diminish mine, yet too often we feel the need to extinguish the happiness. Whether this is to magnify our own happiness or because misery loves company, I don’t know. What I do know is that keeping my ego in check can serve myself and the world a whole hell of a lot better than beating down anyone who disagrees with me.
In yoga, there is a Sanskrit greeting spoken at the beginning and end of practice: Namaste. It roughly means “The light in me bows to the light in you”, a practice in humility and recognition that we are all one. No matter what you believe, I think we could all recognize the light in each other a little bit more.