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Cooperation Is Competition’s Armor – Part 2


From the Spin Doctor vaults (first published in 2011)

Lack of proficiency in given areas can be counterbalanced by cooperation. Personal ability may determine how one deals with life, separating the gifted from the challenged, creating losers in the wake of winners, but it also opens up the door to networking. Where the non-gifted used to fail on their own, now they come together to pool their resources, forming powerful multicellular structures. They organize themselves into organisms, while the gifted go it alone because they can.

But the story doesn’t end there. Cooperation is not a monopoly of the challenged. Coming together yields results for all those who seek it, despite personal ability. Those who pool their resources and work together in pursuit of a shared goal have great advantage over those who don’t, period.

Properly set up and with the right form of coordination, partnerships achieve great success on the whole, greater than any lone guns in the field.

2011_08_19_spin-doctor-cooperation-is-competitions-armor_3This happens as a result of organization. Organization has proven to be superior to romantic Don Quixotism in the long run on account of its ability to cover a wider field. Personal ability is great when it’s sharp, but it’s even greater when coupled with extra hands and covering all flanks. High achievers know this well by now, ego-driven and proud as many of them are, finding ways to suppress their raw instincts and come together in ways that enable them to achieve better results and outcomes.

Organization. The key to success. For those who have forgotten, or gotten carried away by recent semantics, organization is nothing other than a specialized form of cooperation. Whether carried out by few or many, by exceptional individuals or just average ones, it is evident that the process yields better results than lone riders do, sharp-shooting as they may be. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but we are talking the bigger picture here, not concerned with the brilliant anomalies.

Now here’s the interesting part. In the grand scheme of things, as the years go by, these smart and organized partnerships, cooperative as they are in and of themselves, begin to compete with each other more and more harshly, promoting innovation and growth. The ones who don’t do so, as well as all those who fail to cut the mustard, fall behind and perish, leaving the able to push forth. In the process, the forerunners become edgy, aggressive, or defensive. They emerge as the new paradigms, single-minded and cohesive as any victor is prone to be. Not all of them agree on how to proceed, nor do they have mutual interests. Different agendas are laid out in due course and ruthless competition reappears, causing a range of events, from innovation and progress to divergence and downturn.

The latter occurs when competition takes on an ugly nature, resulting in the destruction of each other rather than in finding ways of being better at what one does. Sometimes the two go together, forcing players out of the game by default, but sometimes they just undermine the entire process, from the layers to the game at large, turning it into a cesspool, if not a bloodbath.

The only way to escape the self-fulfilling loop of attrition is for the involved parties to find ways to come together in various groups and cooperate among themselves in their effort to become stronger and more able to cope with the challenges facing them. Renewed cooperation among competing parties brings about real progress and substantial innovation, getting things back on track. For a while anyway.

And so it goes, epoch after epoch. Down the future humanity spins, passing through high and low in an endless ebb and flow of organized competition. Beyond good and evil. Just working its way through time, cooperating in ways that beat the competition, competing in ways that only cooperation can afford. Just like all life does, to each their own, evolving at the turn of every challenge met.

From your ever-spiraling Spin Doctor,

Eyes open, mind sharp.