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Home : Essays on Being Human : Winter 1996

Competition and Cooperation


How do you measure success? We all recognize success when we see it. Our culture projects thousands of images of successful living in the media and in the arts. These images become standards for what we desire to be, to do, and to have.

I feel that society's focus on success has bred a competitive spirit that translates into a shark-fest, win/lose mentality. Fortunately, there is a new paradigm in business, science, and technology that recognizes the interconnectedness among all of us on the planet. In this new model, cooperation rather than competition, is the operating principle.

Evolutionary biologists are discovering that "survival of the fittest" is a myth. Most species have interconnected relationships among dozens of other species. (In fact, our bodies are thoroughly populated with bacteria and viruses that actually make it possible for us to live). Social scientists have found that in games with the potential for several winners, participants will spontaneously cooperate in order to achieve greater gains. The end of the US-Soviet nuclear arms race is an example of this principle. It benefitted both sides to end the buildup.

The advertisers listed in this issue are a part of an interconnected network that we call the holistic community. It's our pleasure to connect you with this community and we look forward to hearing about your success.

Tony Cecala,
Publisher, The Holistic Networker

©1996, Tony Cecala