Competency Addiction


  • Shiqiao Li



Competency, Competition, Chinese Thought, Biome Aesthetics


We seem to be addicted to competencies; we train incessantly to improve existing ones and innovate to acquire new ones. Our curriculum vitae is packed with exquisite details of competencies in great variety. Competency is distinctly and deliberately formulated away from goodness, the long-standing moral quality that grounded virtue. Virtue is about the moral conditions of being while competency is about an amoral effectiveness. When we say one is too clever for one’s own good, we speak of a paradox of addiction: pushing adrenaline and dopamine towards the levels of harm. Business corporations and educational institutions seem to have self-selected their prestige by aligning themselves with market value and research funding, seeing them as benchmarks of competency and success. Like substance addition, competency addition began with genuine excitement of innovation and benefit but developed into an all-consuming desire for techno-utopias oblivious of their damage to ecology. Perhaps it is time to ask: why did we switch from virtue to competency in the first place?