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COOPERATION & CONFLICT

March 3rd, 2021

Everything boils down to a game with the same premise. Religions, governmental systems, economic markets, personal relationships, corporations, everything is a different version of the same exact game that we are all playing. Each is a different lens for approaching the issue of cooperation.

Religions, like governments formulate rules for behavior, and by extension this behavior is almost always interpersonal, in that, besides the prohibitions against suicide, most all rules deal with how others are treated. Or in other words: how we can best cooperate.

A corporation is a more directed form of a government that seeks to organize people and their behavior not just for peace but also to produce a specific outcome. It’s not surprise that some corporations have structures similar to government or that some corporations can develop employees that embody a kind of religious zeal for their work and the company.

The corporation, then, is just one unit of the larger economic market, which is best described with a question regarding it’s connection to cooperation. All economic markets boil down to the issue of: who needs what?

Strangely, productive cooperation often requires a bit of conflict. This is even true on a neurological level. Much of the reason that the brain developed two hemispheres was so they could work together through a kind of conflict. Their primary mode of communicating with one another is through inhibition.

The Wright brothers who famously first achieved human flight were very close but would have magnificent fights about their work. The key to their progress was that neither took these fights personally. They both innately understood that they were both pushing each other so that the shared goal could succeed.

The only thing that we do which is not a form of cooperation is pure conflict. Certainly wars are a conflict between two cooperating bodies of people, but a pure conflict between say just two people is an admission that cooperation is simply not possible.

Interestingly, pure conflict may only be possible between individuals. Groups have enough variation built in that there is always potential for cooperation across group barriers.


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Podcast Ep. 1053: Cooperation & Conflict

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