Distribution Automatique

Thursday, November 4

Cooperation and Destiny

After the attacks of 9/11/01, much of my
thought got focused around the concept
of competition. At the time it seemed
incredibly urgent to try to understand
this concept, because the situation is
increasingly a threat to human survival.

Freud's theory of the Oedipus Complex
might be the basis for a further understanding
of this all important issue. Freud believed that
the Oedipus Complex was based on early
childhood sexual jealousy of the same sex
parent, competitiveness that led to unconscious rage and
murderous aggression. This could only
be neutralized by understanding and gentle
and receptive handling on the part of the
parents; otherwise the child might continue
to suffer from fears of castration as a result
of projected aggression.

Part of the difficulty in conceptualizing a theory
of competition is connected to a limitation in the
contemporary concept of cooperation that binds it to
the idea of team effort. Most cooperation is
only slightly removed from the force of'
competitiveness because team effort
is invariably related to contests. Elections
are contests. Even most scientific work
is done by teams under the aegis of particular
corporations or universities, or other
institutions that encourage, expect
and demand team competitiveness.

Almost universally there exists the idea
of open competition as a positively
motivating spirit. But there is little idea
of free and open cooperation as a motivating
spirit. It is urgent for the survival of humanity
that an concept of cooperation
should come to be understood
as an exciting and motivating
source of energy, in the sense of
an enthusiastic, open exchange
of ideas leading and guiding each other towards the
germination and fertilization
of discoveries, and, ultimately, strengthening
transformations, particularly in the realm
of human relationships, and the human relationship
to the non-human environment.
Bringing cooperation further into play
in human work, of course, would not
and could not eliminate competitive feelings.
To return briefly to the Oedipal Complex
mentioned above, competitive feeling
is part and parcel in the "arena" of
sexuality. Since notions of sexuality
are being transformed over time, fundamentalists
of all stripes long for a return to a less
complicated way of life. Since this is
not truly possible, regression has brought
about increased focus on feelings
and issues surrounding competition,
which in turn have brought about
increased conflicts engendering
anger, rage, and ever-increasing extremely
and dangerously threatening
cycles of aggression, violence and
destructiveness. This is a dangerously
transitional era; because of these circumstances
there is an urgent, even desperate need
to understand the underpinnings of
cooperative effort. The gender issues
underlying this, in turn, necessitate
an evolution of the complexities
in the working relationships between men
and women, men and men and women and women.
In turn, this involves much greater empathy
in listening and understanding the "other."
The urgency in bringing this understanding about
cannot be exagerrated. Those that are
capable of obtaining insight into this
dilemma and helping others to explore
and communicate about this have a great
opportunity to bring about much needed
amelioration of painful conflict, that in turn
can evolve hopefulness and real change.
Weblogs like transdada (kari edwards) {click here}
offer invaluable information and observations
demonstrating how just how urgent
these issues have become.