July 7      

Today's quotation:

Competing against each other leaves little space for reciprocity and the growth of social capital.  Running against another in a race may benefit our speed, but jointly organizing the sports day produces cooperation and trust.  There are many situations where cooperation and reciprocity are more effective than competition.  Civic virtues come from building on what we have in common rather than by using our differences to create in-groups, out-groups and fear-driven competition.

Eva Cox

Today's Meditation:

It would be really nice if we could cooperate with each other much more often.  And we can-- we see evidence of a great deal of cooperation every day on our roadways, where the vast majority of people are cooperating to an amazing extent in order to stay safe-- and thus keeping others safe.  It's great to compete sometimes, but if we truly want to build a better world, then we must focus on cooperation rather than competition.

But cooperation often means compromise, and many of us feel that any sort of compromise means that we've "lost."  We tend to think that we know the best ways to do certain things, and cooperation often means doing something someone else's way.  Often, we're not willing to do that.

If all we do is compete, though, what's going to happen to learning from other people?  How are we going to understand different ways of looking at the world?  How will we be able to accomplish great and innovative things-- which almost always require groups of people working together-- instead of continuing to do things the same ways that we've always done them?

I've competed a lot in many different ways, but my experience has taught me that with cooperation, we get much, much more done, and we do it better-- as long as we truly cooperate.  We have many, many examples of wonderful things done through cooperation-- roads and buildings and electricity and cleaner rivers and lakes, etc.-- so let's look to those examples and decide to cooperate with others to get things done.  Then we'll all learn more and grow more, and our contributions to the world will be much stronger.

Questions to consider:

What are some of the major barriers to cooperation among human beings?

In what ways do you cooperate with others each day of your life?

Why do so many people value competition over cooperation?

For further thought:

Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.  I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.

Alexander Graham Bell

more on cooperation

   

  

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