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Cooperation is Very Downplayed

Cooperation is Very Downplayed

By Dennis Loo (12/31/18)

First off, I should make a distinction: humanity is not necessarily a peaceful people. There are plenty of examples of our being violent.

But we ARE a social people; even when we are being our most warlike, we are still, and must be, cooperative. War, as Clausewitz pointed out, is the continuation of politics, not some bizarre aberration. Making war requires coordination and cooperation, if only among the combatants on the same side, otherwise we could not wage war.

We must also demonize and render them “the enemy” as less than fully human if we are killing others or else most of us would find this difficult or impossible to do. Rather than a sign of our bestiality, as it is so often portrayed, the depiction of the “enemy” as sub-human is a human trait, to make killing others more palatable; this, in fact, is one of racism’s functions: rendering “others” as the OTHER, thus making them less than.

Second, for competition to occur at all, multiple agreements must exist beforehand. Cooperation is so fundamental, so crucial, that it is taken-for-granted and we spend most of our time talking about competing, as if competitiveness were the essence of being human, rather than our cooperation with one another.

Let’s look at how we arrange our sports. We hardly drop any ink or talk at all about how the competitors must agree on a set of rules before any competition can occur: we agree, for example, that in baseball that the distance from one base to the next shall be 90 feet and that there shall be four bases, not five or six, that runs are scored if you get through four bases safely in order, that you get no credit if you get to say two or three bases, that teams shall wear outfits that are very dissimilar to that of their opponents and very similar to each other, that both sides agree, even if they don’t agree with their decision, to abide by the umpires’ call as final (even if it can be shown to be mistaken), that the person at bat gets up to three strikes or four balls and an indefinite number of foul balls, that the winner is not the total of runs scored but the first team to four games won, and you can win by as few as one run, that there should normally be at least nine innings, that there be no more or less than nine players at a time on the field, that if both teams are tied with 3 games each, that a Game 7 shall act as the tie-breaker, that the winner of Game 7 shall be declared “World Champions,” and dose each other in champagne, and the losers of Game 7 will hang their heads in disappointment, etc., etc. In fact, if you were to compare the two – competitive rules versus agreed upon rules, the latter might well exceed the former!

Thirdly, we do relish competition (or most of do) because it tends to bring out what we never thought we were capable of. Which is why competition will never disappear from humanity.

Fourthly, the idea that good deeds are really selfishness disguised is fatally flawed. See this.

Fifthly, in other words, we need not assume a different being exists than homo sapiens. We simply need to amplify what we already are and put it in charge rather than some fiction.

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