As far back as I can remember there has existed this kind of an attitude or a movement which many of us like to adapt and integrate, “I don’t want to become just another cog in the system.” Just another brick in the wall, yeah?
That, may I call it sentiment, alone might have caused the sort of attitude or movement which drives people to try to be as efficient, impressive, skilled as an individual possibly can be. But in the larger scheme of things by doing this we become just another cog outside of any system, without any purpose or function.
Viewed alone – it doesn’t look like such a bad pursuit, but bear with me. It makes people competitive. We don’t want to be inside the big clumsy system, yet we want to prove to every other cog around us that we’re a better cog than the next cog around us huh?
Well, tell you what – we don’t really work much in isolation. Pretty to look in the mirror or snap a selfie of – but that’s about it. Great and impossible things can’t come out of competing against everyone alone – your ROI is linear at best, but likely as further you go, you’ll get these diminishing returns.
By becoming allergic to the idea of not wanting to be another cog in the system – the pendulum swings to the opposite side – just me, I’m good, nothing else matters. Indeed – the pendulum keeps swinging even if you don’t want to be a cog behind it – the big picture is still there! Just might not be as good without you – or without people organising in the best possible ways (and by that I mean – whatever is appropriate for the scale and situation!).
When you think about the appropriateness – there is nothing wrong in being a cog in the system. The problem with the system (purported at the soviet smelling school system and such) – the society that we all find ourselves so opposed to playing a part in – it’s a little too ambitious – the team is too big. A whole country (even less so the whole world) can never be like a village or a family – so, indeed, just having some 1.5 million bricks will feel and bring different results to having 1.5 million unpolished rocks that are in no way stitched together – individuals – everyone just minding their own damn business.
Twitter friend nails the magic glue:
Extreme selflessness isn’t a good way to go. Altruism has it’s limitations and dangerous trade-offs. Extreme selfishness isn’t a good way to go – even if you go about it in an extremely moral manner – you’re sort of clipping the upside – there’s a limit to how much good you can gain or do alone.
But to build the modern equivalent of pyramids and the likes – the way to go is somewhere in between. But it’s not just about being not too selfish and not too selfless – the magic is in the willingness and capability of cooperating; and of course, the ability to organise such affairs with the people with whom the chemistry is right (we might find out that the chemistry lies in the notion of having a common problem).
Year 2020 is the one that the power of collaboration or cooperation is really starting to dawn on me. I have had a competitive phase, and I did have a phase where I didn’t give a shit about anything at all anymore – so, maybe going through some phases, if you start in any, is necessary – until you figure out the sweet spot.
While I don’t think it can be rushed – getting people to collaborate more – and within small groups, not as a whole country (that’s just very rare and ephemeral – it takes a large common problem to unite people in such manner, yes); I do find it’s a nice thought to explore – not for the sake of advocating and preaching it – but for more selfish purposes – maybe I can finally get around to being useful somewhere :).
Reading: “Connected” by Nicholas Christakis. “Blueprint” was great – this is alright, too. Complexity held in regard when it comes to all things social – wonderful to see things are headed in that direction.