Cooperation begets cooperation, so in ‘giving,’ ‘getting’ is automatically reciprocated
Cooperation or teamwork is the art of working in unison towards a common purpose, knowing fully well that we can achieve more together than alone. The word cooperation is so magical that the mere thought of it has a mind-soothing effect on us. It does not require a philosopher to tell us that cooperation is a divine virtue that is the key to success and accomplishment in every sphere of life.
It leads to co-creation & it makes possible symphonies, bridges, and communities. One must remember the fact that human beings cannot lead a happy and comfortable life without cooperation, nor do animals can survive without this magical virtue. Hence cooperation is the foundation for living animals and so also for human society. A society exists because of cooperation, therefore it is both a psychological and social necessity for human beings; for they cannot lead a solitary life. Can they?
In modern society, progress in the fields of science and technology, agriculture and industry, transportation and communication, trade and commerce etc. would not have been possible in the absence of cooperation. Similarly, social unity and integration also depend upon cooperation because it is co-operation that mitigates mutual differences, and mental conflicts and inspires people to render possible help to maintain solidarity.
In short, cooperation is essential in every sphere of individual and social life. However, after reading so much positive about something mandatory to life, one can’t help but ask this question: when there is so much to gain from cooperation, why is there so much competition, confrontation and lack of cooperation, prevalent in every field of activity in modern society? Today mass degeneration of human values is seen in modern society, where everything is measured in terms of money and power. Accordingly, most of the human activity is guided by greed for money and lust for power. This has led to cut-throat competition in all fields including business and industry. Most of us have become so conditioned as to believe that competition brings out the best in us and it is the competition and not cooperation, which is the key to success.
The truth however is that intensely competitive structures cause high stress and moral corruption which damages physical, mental and social health. Besides, they foster a dehumanizing mentality causing distrust, rivalry and unfriendliness. A comparative study of competitive and cooperative effort situations made by experts has revealed that cooperation works far better than competition. How? Well!! it's quite simple. Competition tends to drive wedges between human beings whereas cooperation builds bridges .Under competitive structures, the very same specialisation tends to become a tool for exploitation. In a climate of cooperation, both encouragement and helpful criticism can be given and received. Cooperation stimulates communication. Relationships and endeavors based on cooperation are more successful and lasting.
Over the centuries, it has been forgotten that there is another philosophy of life which is that of 'giving' rather than 'taking'. Remember! if we give more to the community than we take from it, we shall always have a 'plus' balance to draw upon. The well-known law of action begetting an equal re-action applies to cooperation also. Bhagwad Gita also says "Perform noble actions without expecting reward, Reward will automatically follow.” In reality, even one's long-term self-interest is best served by working for the maximum common good of all. This is because, in the Universe, there is so much interdependence. Hence whatever a person does is bound to recoil or bounce back on him, sooner or later. So why not practise the art of “giving” like our ancestors and become Devta i.e. the giver?
(The writer is a spiritual educator & popular columnist, views are personal)