"Drop something in front of a two-year-old, and she's likely to pick it up for you. This is not a learned behavior, psychologist Michael Tomasello argues. Through observations of young children in experiments he himself has designed, Tomasello shows that children are naturally--and uniquely--cooperative". *
“I will argue and present evidence that from around their first birthdays—when they first begin to walk and talk and become truly cultural beings—human children are already cooperative and helpful in many, though obviously not all, situations. And they do not learn this from adults; it comes naturally.”
-- Michael Tomasello in „Why we cooperate”.
When we speak about cooperation we are at the heart of human hearts and activities and provided the foundation of adults’ deeds consist of loving oneself, the other, and care for life in general, we are acting as humans for the sake of our own, social and evolutionary thriving.
“Right at the beginning of sexual reproduction cooperation has been taking place ever since. This lustful way of bio-social cooperation is its basic form and contributed to evolution and the design and development of social relationships and systems. Today we know that the emergences of high crops were always an outcome of complex and multi-dimensional cooperations" (in Tomasello).
Cooperation carried out with a meaningful - life sustaining purpose – creates by the way a “bunch” of cell stimulating and other hormones. Cooperation with love and care is lifting up one’s being into the realms of interconnectedness, empathy, joy, creativity, growth, coherence, love, feelings of understanding, knowability, manageability, dedication and meaningfulness. (in following Tomasello)
Cooperation is a profound way to transform our Selves by being in relationship with the other(s).
“Hinter allen höheren Funktionen und ihren Beziehungen verbergen sich, genetisch gesehen, gesellschaftliche Beziehungen, das heißt reale Beziehungen zwischen Menschen“ (Vygotskij). Menschliche Entwicklung verläuft damit entlang einer Linie, die bei dem beginnt, was in der Interaktion möglich ist, und zu dem führt, was individuell möglich wird: „Mit anderen Worten, was das Kind heute in der Zusammenarbeit macht, wird es morgen selbständig zu machen fähig sein“ (Vygotskij).
(“Behind all higher functions and their relations hide away, genetically considered, social relationships, that is to say real relationship between humans” (Vygotskij). Human development takes course along a line which starts with what is possible in interaction and leads to that what is possible individually: In other words, what the child today does in working together it will be capable do it tomorrow autonomously” (Vygotskij).
As soon as we want to thrive to become more of our Selves we have to realize that “we become our Selves via others” (Vygotskij). Or in other words: “Self ‘ exists solely on grounds of ‘With” (Nancy).
These few insights on cooperation point out the manifold implications cooperation holds for our social and consequently our individual flourishing.
And how we can become healthier as groups, organizations, societies, and cultures does evidently rely on the magic of cooperations amongst humans.
What was your most remarkable cooperation in your life and how did you change by its experience?
* For more information:
-- Michael Tomasello in „Why we cooperate”