Barriers to the Cooperative Effort

Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 07:33 am
Good Morning,

I'm working through my own understanding of human cooperation; specifically the barriers to it. I've come up with some ideas and am looking for some input.

Theme Statement: Where people are unable to cooperate towards any common goal, there are interpersonal barriers. What are the sources of such barriers?

Cooperativeness' Significance: Whether for good or ill, right or wrong, towards any common goal; human events are defined by the element of cooperation. Where there isn't large-scale cooperation, little happens. Our very depends on the cooperative effort. What's more, any standard of living is has a proportionate correlation to the amount of "working together"-ness between any collection of people. Where there isn't cooperation there is no action; where there is no action there is no progress (for any defintion).

Method: Search for common-threads by self-examination; I recall my experiences, the disagreements I've had and witnessed, on-going disputes, feuds, arguing, the progression of world events and what I perceive to be the disagreements involved in bias; racial, political and religious discord, debates, historical precedents of which I'm aware, international friction, philosophical disagreements and my own views. What are the common themes?

Here's what I came up with; Couched as if I'm exhibiting the behavior/concept/mindset:[INDENT]TWO DIMENSIONAL THINKING (We like "thing" in neat, classifiable packages. To accept that notions of any morality is contingent on the details or circumstances muddies the water. This is the mind that says: "Such is On or Off, there is no other way")

  • "There is Right and there is Wrong. It's weak, wishy-washy and destructive that all things are not just so"
  • "For me to accept that anything can possibly be circumstantially-dependent is relativistic and therefore abhorrent"
  • "To criticize any part of what I'm saying is to reject the whole of me; you must agree with my entire thought none of it"

EGOTISTICAL BARRIERS (The tender heart that won't, or is unable, to accept that their center isn't necessary "center"; that what thinks is what everyone should think; that admitting any error is a painful ignominy to be avoided at all costs)

  • "I know what's this 'Right' is; in how things should be. "
  • "I know exactly why people do the things they do"
  • "I am Right. It is not possible that I am not. For me to think otherwise would be to 'give in' to wrong"
  • "If I accept that I could be mistaken in *this* aspect of life, I must accept that I could be wrong in others; and that's not OK"
  • "The fact that you DO disagree with me is an insult to me as a person"

FACTIONIZING (Perpetuating the Us-vs-Them; Circling the wagons; making "the other" an enemy in order to have an enemy on which to lay blame)

  • "I will defend those who think like me and oppose those who do not. If you want my cooperation at all - on any level, you'll agree with me"
  • "Because I am right and good; if you disagree with me you're part of the problem"
  • "If you want to feel better, come over to My Side"
  • "The Only Reason people might think differently is that they want to be bad, immoral and lazy; To say anything else is just "Excuse Making"
  • "Why would I 'cooperate' with you; you're evil, lazy and wrong. To do so "validates" immoral behavior"
  • "If I embrace you, I'm embracing "wrong" and by association, everything I esteem to be wrong with the world"

MORAL IMPUGNMENTS (A form of self-caressing that works by subtle attacks upon the moral fiber of another; works in concert with "Factionizing")

  • "It's not my responsibility to make you Feel Better, no one does that for me"
  • "You have control over your own decisions; if you're not happy, its due to your own mistakes and flaws - quit whining and be like me"
  • "I had to work for what I have, and the good that my life is. Therefore, if you life isn't good, it's because you haven't worked; you are therefore lazy and selfish - there are no free lunches"

[/INDENT]To the extent I'm able to lay such claims, I believe these are all aspects of human behavior on the whole - not attributable to any side of any 'fence', nor endemic to any culture, political, theological or national view. If this is at all correct, they are pitfalls whose foundation lies in basic human tendencies; and as such, are well avoided by everyone. I'll also add the "should be obvious"-disclaimer that I, too, am compromised by such tendencies

I'd love to hear any observations on this theory.

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