The Value of Cooperation vs. Competition

bradenpress2008new3As many have written, (including us), these are extraordinary times. The thing is, they are likely more extraordinary than most of us realize. During today's Maestro Month Conference lecture, scientist/spiritualist and best-selling author Gregg Braden explained we are in a rare window of time and this generation is experiencing the greatest number and greatest magnitude of challenges of any generation in the last 5,000 years. He also says that other experts and great minds agree these challenges are being driven by natural cycles that are so rare we forget they even exist. (No wonder we all feel so stressed and overwhelmed!) The balance of this post is based on notes from Gregg's amazing lecture today. In 2005, experts from many fields gathered to ask in essence, "what's going on?" from a meta perspective. The journal Scientific American released an issue about this symposium called Crossroads for Planet Earth. On the cover, the subtitle is "will we choose to create the best of all possible worlds?" The bottom line of this symposium's outcome is that choices we are making right now during these months and years in the immediate future will determine our long-term outcome - and whatever is going to happen is going to happen soon. This means each of us - including you and me - are determining our collective futures by the actions and choices we are making right now.

antarctica2We can go back through the history of the earth by drilling into and examining the ice cores in Antarctica. In doing this, scientists have discovered that these changes in earth cycles are really intense and they are also brief, so the transition we are currently experiencing is unlikely to go on for generation after generation. In fact, it will likely be only one generation. So we as a civilization must respond now. The choices each of us are making today will determine our collective future.

What scientists have discovered looking at archaeological records is civilizations that cooperate make it through these great transitions. Civilizations that didn't cooperate collapsed by reacting from fear, competition and aggression. By trying to "hold on to theirs," they essentially destroyed themselves. This is the value of looking at the past. We can see what worked and what did not. So the choice is clear - are we going to be fearful and fight and compete or are we going to help one another?

rowers1If you are not a believer in reviewing ancient history, how about the results of some recent scientific studies? Between the years 1998 and 2000, 400 studies were designed to identify the optimum amount of violent competition in a species. They looked at numerous varieties of species and the findings were consistent - the optimal amount of competition is "zero." They found that cooperation among species is what insures their survival. So the only way we can make successfully make this transition is to examine and rid ourselves of our notions of 'Darwinian competition' and learn to cooperate and help each other. This means at every level and on a global scale - not just how do I cooperate with my next door neighbors and others in business? But how do nations cooperate with other nations?

It is predicted that this transition will be complete relatively soon. It started in the 1980s and may be complete as early as 2016. We have already met and transcended many challenges and we have shown that while facing these unprecedented challenges, we are surviving and finding ways to solve our problems.

So know that it's a rare time. These changes are stressing all of our systems e.g. how we produce energy, and food and economics and also our personal lives. Systems that are sustainable will continue, and those that cannot will break and make way for something new. While this is happening we can insure the successful outcome of the changes and transitions by cooperating, collaborating and helping each other out.

team-with-puzzle-pieces1So ask yourself - who have you helped today? Did you come up with a great cooperative joint venture with another company that will create a "win win" for both businesses? Did you help a colleague get an important project approved or completed? Did you make time to help a neighbor, a friend, or someone in one of your communities? Did you create just a little peace by letting someone get on the freeway more easily or make a safe lane change? It will take a cumulative effect of many cooperative acts great and small, but we can do this if we do it together from a mindset of cooperation instead of a mindset of competition.

Many thanks to Gregg Braden for his work and to Maestro Conference for hosting lectures by luminary thinkers for free!