Competition, co-operation and what we do after the apocalypse, in #Manchester and beyond

anthropologistPerson A “Whether the story is true (I am inherently suspicious), the underlying point is well made. Marketeers, economists etc have to work very VERY hard to suppress our co-operative instincts and only valorise our competitive ones. It enrages them that we “naturally” care about each other, since it makes their pretty fables useless (John Nash, one of the proponents of game theory, could never understand how/why the secretaries in the office where he worked didn’t behave ‘as they should’).

Divide and conquer is one of the oldest tools of a dominating minority. Sowing seeds of distrust and discord, fostering paranoia and praising asocial behaviour. From the first tinpot leader to David Cameron, it has been thus. It probably will be, on a smaller scale, as the global webs that bind us presently fray and break. Then what?”

Person B “Going to share with you a little of my experience in ‘drug addiction recovery’ as I feel it relates a lot. I, as do many other people, arrived at a self help group when I was 27 completely beaten. I was going to be imprisoned, my 8 year old daughter taken away permanently (she’d been in care twice) and I was putting drugs and alcohol into every orifice, and ones I created myself, round the clock. In the drug recovery group I found the best co-operation I’d ever found. Whatever the cause of our addiction (in mine it was having zero self-esteem and masses of self-hate that was fostered by a dysfunctional home situation and reinforced by an unhelpful wider social set up e.g. competitive school), in the group, we gave up all prejudices, judgements, fears… became like empty willing vessels… because it was sink or swim. There is amazing camaraderie in Narcotics Anonymous and other such groups that springs from that point of complete surrender. There’s a slogan ‘I can’t, we can’. I would be dead if I hadn’t found that group. There’s no outside funding for it, no professional ‘do-gooders’… just completely desperate people throwing in the towel and finding that loving and caring for each other gets us well. It’s like all the attempts to ‘divide and rule’ get blown away. It’s not a paradise though.. old conditioning does re-surface, but people own it and consciously attempt to let go of it. I don’t go to the meetings as much now.. but it moves me and gives me tremendous hope when I see people who were so completely done in blossom and flower and hug and love others where they had been brutally self-seeking. Gives me hope that our collective ecological rock bottom might result in a similar mass scale re-discovery and re-emerging of our co-operative instincts – that natural caring for each other that also makes our lives truly rich and meaningful, and as they should be, rather than full of empty plastic consumeristic promises.”

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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