Reflections on Cooperation - September 2016
Goodwill nourishes the spirit of understanding and fosters the manifestation of the principle of cooperation. This cooperative spirit is the secret of all right human relations and the enemy of competition.
Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.
The Lord of the World, the “Ancient of Days,” is releasing new energies into humanity, transmuted in the present furnace of pain and fiery agony. This transmutation will bring about a new power of sacrifice, of inclusive surrender, a clearer vision of the Whole and a cooperative spirit hitherto unknown and which will be the first expression of that great principle of sharing, so sorely needed today.
Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Right human relations will come by a mutual recognition of mistakes, by sorrow for wrong action in the past, and by restitution, if possible. It will come when nations can be educated to appreciate the good qualities of other nations and to comprehend the part they play in the whole picture. It will be developed when the sense of racial superiority is killed; when racial differences and racial quarrels are relegated to the unholy past and only a future of cooperation and of understanding is actively developed; it will make its presence felt when the living standards of right relation (sought by the enlightened people of every race) become the habitual attitude of the masses and when it is regarded as contrary to the best interests of any nation to spread those ideas which tend to erect racial or national barriers, arouse hatreds or foster differences and separation. Such a time will surely come. Humanity will master the problem of right human relations and attitudes.
In neo-classical economic theory, it is claimed without evidence that people are basically self-seeking, that they want above all the satisfaction of their material desires: what economists call “maximising utility”. The ultimate objective of mankind is economic growth, and that is maximized only through raw, and lightly regulated, competition. If the rewards of this system are spread unevenly, that is a necessary price. Others on the planet are to be regarded as either customers, competitors or factors of production. Effects upon the planet itself are mere “externalities” to the model, with no reckoning of the cost – at least for now. Nowhere in this analysis appears factors such as human cooperation, love, trust, compassion or hatred, curiosity or beauty. Nowhere appears the concept of meaning. What cannot be measured is ignored. But the trouble is that once our basic needs for shelter and food have been met, these factors may be the most important of all.
Nothing truly valuable can be achieved except by the unselfish cooperation of many individuals.
Cooperation is the key to expressed goodwill, and in the future period of rehabilitation cooperation will be the outstanding need.