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Is Excellence A Cultural Concept?


Excellence is a Calvary. First, we have to learn the cant of our domain of expertise, which can be exacting and esoteric. To progress, we need to delve into learning over and over again until our mind is totally immersed in what we dedicate our time to. Carelessness is no longer possible. We need to think of learning as the companion which will ensure our own survival in an overcompetitive world. Competition has become the dominant rule, even though not everybody wants to pursue it. Indeed, we all come from different cultural background don’t emphasize individualism as much as in anglo saxon countries.

Being competitive is as challenging as being cooperative. The reason why we tend to embrace individualism is because it seems to be the core value on which successful countries base their sucess. Will this still be the case in the future since China is growing exponentially and still maintains a solid base of its population inclined to collaboration and being highly group-minded? Are we taught an inspired lesson by the next “Chairman of the World”?

Probably, we cherish individuality at the expenses of efficiency. Progress seems changeless if we are able to adapt to new paradigms. Before, during the Middle Ages, we would have had to live in a charterhouse or a monastery to be educated and influence the science and culture of one country. More recently, we have had to inhabit metropolises to access the best universities full of vanguard teachers. From this base camp, we would expand to the world with a bright vision and a start-up mindset. This is our current generation’s model of excellence: individualistic and conquering. The next generation seems less an acolyte of chivalry and more the heir of centralistic and egalitarian traditions. The concept of excellence will be more the sum of an individuals’ talents instead of his or her panache.

From now on, to be the best at one particular field will mean giving up  your ego and agreeing that excellence only makes sense within a group toward which we contribute. Excellence is only valuable when it has a high level compatibilty with an ecosystem consisting of humans or artificial intelligence. Excellence needs to be thought as a complementary element (to which it is subordinated) not a whole.

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