Cooperation and Competition

The cornerstone of individual actualization is cooperation. From it, all other aspects draw support. The individual who can unleash their latent potential within their time experience has access to the resources necessary to possess agency within the world. Our understanding of the relational universe and single truth illuminate the idea of personal freedom as intertwined with collective freedom. The more we can accomplish together, the greater we become individually. Our struggle to fully express cooperation in our being and efforts stems from the fact that many of the systems governing our relationships encourage inequity by design. Systemic actualization requires participants who operate with extreme trust and confidence in others to flourish, so how do we overcome the conflict of who we must become and what our present systems encourage?

The embedding of competition and self-assertion as the primary pathways to progress into our educational, economic, and legal frameworks creates barriers to connecting with each other. In every new relationship we seek, there is risk. We risk that others might diminish us, deceive us, or bring us emotional or physical harm. We cannot approach others with the total openness we would prefer because we have been taught—and have personally experienced—that others will take advantage of us if given the opportunity. Part of this draws from a long history of tribalism, but much of it is our own doing. The prioritization of competition as a means of learning and earning has changed our fundamental alignment with nature. It is well understood that nomadic humanity was primarily egalitarian,17 with men and women both contributing and sharing near equal power and responsibility.18

Paleoanthropologists believe that resistance to being dominated was a key factor driving the evolutionary emergence of human consciousness: language, kinship, and social organization.19-21 Yet, if we were to listen to the vocal supporters of our present arrangements, we might believe that human history is a narrative of aggressive struggle against one another. It has been nothing of the sort. Our greatest achievements as a species have always resulted from cooperation, aligning our individual wants with a collective greater good. Building the beliefs, practices, and systems that support the development of our cooperative powers begins with understanding that it is both natural and necessary for human beings to favor cooperation over competition. 

Embracing cooperation as a fundamental basis for the development of individuals and systems spreads throughout various aspects of the human time experience. Therefore, we consider cooperation from a variety of perspectives. We understand that the transformation will occur in different directions simultaneously and know that the advancement of cooperation within specific verticals of our lives may depend on elevating others. It begins with the individual who, through developing their own cooperative ethos and powers, infuses the ideal into all they do. Our work, the development of new systems and the challenging of old, our interactions with others, and the expression of our infinite imagination in creative experimentation are all influenced by our perspectives on the value of cooperation within society. 

There is a symbiotic relationship between cooperative individuals and cooperative systems. Each empowers the other to succeed, eventually developing a momentum that energizes a culture of perpetual progress. The more rapidly we develop a highly cooperative ethos, the faster we unleash the power of individual and collective alike. The individual's wholeness and the systems surrounding them do not have to be a dystopian nightmare. Our moments of immense wealth and extreme inequality happen because those with the power to create laws have made it so. We must shed the dominion ethos. We cannot immediately escape these systems, but we can radically redirect ourselves. Our work is to shift our focus from the path of least resistance—what is—to the work of becoming what will be.

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Cooperative Individuality
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