cooperationCivilization is synonymous with cooperation.

Without cooperation, no civilization could exist, since whereas one may be civilized, lacking any context of what civilization is, the term itself becomes purely subjective.

Language, for example, is one of those things that has, through familiarity, become so taken for granted, that few attach any thought, consideration, or care to it. Blurt this, jumble that, throw in a few ambiguities, and sprinkle with sarcasm, either intended, or unintended. What do you get? A modern conversation that conveys nothing to anyone, because words have become so cheap, and so unconsidered, that any message, even if there was one to begin with, gets hopelessly lost in the unaware interpretation that accompanies any contemporary exchange of language.

Something overlooked very often by those who consider themselves intelligent, is that language is not mathematics. Mathematics is necessarily very exact, if not exactly exact. Personally, I am hopeless at it, because I exist in a world of metaphors and general inexactitudes. I approximate, whenever I can, and generally remember to mention that this is what I do, so as not to confuse.

For all the good it does me.

I find it refreshing, sometimes, to converse with retards, because their version of communication is so superior to that of the nominally intelligent. The end result of such conversations, being, for the most part, that neither party ends up hating the other, which can rarely be said of conversations between clever characters.

Retards, generally, could be said to cooperate, simply because they somehow seem able to avoid enraging each other. Thus there is a lot to be said for them, and I try to emulate whatever it is they do, whenever I can, since it appears to work so well.

There is an element of mutual supervision in this. They supervise each other. Help each other along, while smiling a lot, as if they actually mean it. And who knows? Maybe they do. I only mention it, because so often, what is generally taken to be a smile, when pasted upon the faces of more ‘normal’ folks, is so often anything but; merely a transparent camouflage from behind which, one may deliver ranged attacks, for no good reason.

I have been, you could say, very blessed in my life, to have had the worst stutter that ever was, for over fifty years. With every word so excruciatingly difficult to deliver, I tended to choose each one with great care, and waste as few as possible.

Thus I was easily able to recognize the extreme lack of care taken by the fluent, in comparison. Along with the extreme lack of care taken to even listen to the words, so that almost always, at the end of my hugely-expensive sentences, the only response I would get would be something like: “Pardon me?”

Now that I am more fluent than the fluent ever were, I discover that it barely helps at all, in terms of being able to communicate. Few listen, few care, few are able to leave the language used intact, without running it through some crazed interpretation process, or other, so that what is received, if anything at all, has absolutely nothing to do with what was originally intended.

Language, you see, depends almost entirely upon cooperation. Without cooperation, communication is simply not possible. And without these two qualities, there can be no civilization. After all, our ability to communicate is really one of the only things that makes us any different from monkeys. And whereas there is nothing inherently lacking in being a monkey, you might not want to entrust vitally important things to one. Like running public transit, upholding the law, or being responsible for nuclear weapons, for example.

I used to refer to this cooperation as goodwill. And certainly, there are elements of that in it. But it is more than simply goodwill. Goodwill is a useful ingredient in the ability to comfortably coexist with others. Whereas cooperation is absolutely indispensable.

How to cooperate? Well, golly, who knows? It has become so rare as to be almost mythical. We know it was once very common, since there still remain visible traces of the unbelievable civilization it gave rise to. But once something becomes so completely lost, it is no easy thing to recover it. So I offer a simple exercise, that while not being the whole answer, may help to lead, by degrees to the whole answer:

Turn off that damned interpretation-machine, STFU and listen. Leave it be and consider what you’ve heard, read, or otherwise been exposed to. Neither agree, nor disagree. Just leave it be, while it percolates, down through the modern sludge that has somehow replaced intelligence. Leave it be, to be whatever it is. That way, you may be able to discern, at some point, what it actually is, as opposed to what you only think it is. That way, if there is something useful, unusual, not formerly taken into account, within it, it may be put to some use, later on.

The main ingredient, here, is insight.

Something doesn’t need to be ‘right’ to contain insight. And insight, gained from whatever source, can sometimes lead to what actually is ‘right’.

Thus we cooperate.

It is actually so easy to do this, that it largely gets discounted, as having no value. I find this amusing, while being tragic, at the same time. We are swiftly losing the ability even to cooperate with ourselves, let alone with each other.

Little wonder, then, that things are, currently, the way things are.

16 Responses to “Cooperation”

  1. Owl says:

    I think your bit about the retarded and your stuttering issue were very interesting.

    I really believe that modern society is a facade set up to point its pretty side towards the majority of people. When you have something “wrong” with you, it gives you a different perspective and makes you look at society from a nonideal angle.

    The normal folks in the house seating might see the pyrotechnics and the dancers and the actors and the puppets and be sucked in by the plot. Being a bit autistic is like watching society’s play from a seat on the very last seat in the front row: the sights are too overwhelming and the sounds are too loud so you never really catch the plot, but your unique position allows you to notice the construction of the rafters, the mechanism controlling the curtains and many other details about how the show works.

    After the show is over, from that perspective you’ll have had an entirely different and maybe more insightful experience than everyone else, but nobody will want to hear about what you learned about how the play is actually constructed – they’re too busy with the play as presented to them.

    I really think a lot of us probably got here because there was something “wrong with us” or other unique experiences in life that afforded us a unique opportunity to see the mascot’s zipper, notice the puppet’s strings, yadda yadda. I think that kind of experience lets us “adults” see things through the eyes of children again at least in one area.

    I may be getting out in left field but I think a big part of this website’s meaning is to get together as authors and commentators to help each other all see different areas of life through a child’s uncluttered and unapologetic point of view.

    • I like to use the term “outsider,” because it reflects how it feels to be apart from the majority. When the same explanations that work for them no longer work for me, I find myself completely excluded and thus, having to re-assess what’s going on based on the ostensible goal.

      We have been born into a dying time, and while it hurts at first, being excluded gives us an insight that saves our brains from having to adopt paradoxical logic, thus making us schizoid and unlikely to ever have a clear thought again.

    • crow says:

      Great comment!
      I actually do like to pay close attention to rafters and roof-trusses.
      Others see buildings only as their external forms, while I see the details of their construction. Some of the most intricate buildings are made by small birds. Wrens, in particular, and hummingbirds, too.
      While some of the most ramshackle are made by crows :)

  2. Rose says:

    To me, most words are garbage. Not very tasty snack cakes maybe, but something easily eaten and easily forgotten. How many times does something someone says actually stick with you throughout your day?

    And people are using sarcasm and belittling others like it’s conversation, when really it’s just hatred thrown out to injure others in a narcissistic powerplay. It’s meaningless at worst and boring at best. Sarcasm doesn’t make one original – in fact, it’s the providence of sheep.

    Good, interesting article. Great insights. ~ Rose

    • crow says:

      Ah, Rose! Good of you to drop by.
      We are a merry bunch of overly-aware men, here, with very few women commenters. Do return, and often :)

  3. crow says:

    What the hell is that picture???
    I’ll bet the photographer ran out of battery, or of flashcard space, just in time to miss the shot of a lifetime, when that fat carp – or whatever it is – bit the dog’s nose off.

  4. Vigilance says:

    In my experience, people simply hate each other. When they think they are discussing politics, they are actually telling the other person how much they hate some one else. And that passes for political discourse. Personality v. Personality. People don’t hate progressivism, they hate progressives.

    • crow says:

      You may well be right.
      I was invited, by three left-wing activists, last week, to engage them on the unusual subject of politics, and within moments they were calling me an asshole. Not because I had said anything offensive, but because I disagreed with them that activism was a useful thing to do with their time.
      They did stress, though, that they were busy saving the world, while assholes like me were intent on destroying it.
      I just don’t get it. I don’t see how making enemies of anyone who declines to become as angry as they, about whatever it is that angers them, can possibly result in the world being saved.

      • Justin says:

        I’ve learned never to engage leftists on any serious topics. Usually, we discuss the weather and other banalities.

        It keeps down their blood pressure and saves me the hassle of having to calmly explain something or other whilst their face turns maroon.

        • crow says:

          I have learned that too, but in this particular case, I was specifically invited to engage. Being courteous, I agreed. One thing is certain, though: those particular specimens will not be doing any more inviting.

      • Liberalism is an emotional and social response, not a philosophical one.

      • Vigilance says:

        I’m surprised you accepted their invitation. I was being provoked by some…..child. Not I was having a conversation with a friend about appearances and assumptions. My provoker threw out the old “How could you stand for something that promotes bigotry intolerance…….” You know that whole thing. I chose not to engage him further . After I had made my peace he became upset and began shouting about white privelage, patriarchy, and a whole host of other unrelated hot topics that I cared very little to hear.

        The point is, he was using me as a platform to tell me how much he hates the people who he thinks I am like.

  5. 1349 says:

    Reading, or listening, or other processes of obtaining knowledge / information are, in a way, analogous to eating. The corresponding habits could be analogous, too – at least, charlatans of psychotherapy like Perls or Freud could claim so. =)
    If someone is used to get much food for no work, he won’t value the food he gets and really enjoy its taste.
    And what if he never really cooks or otherwise processes his food but just consumes something ready-made most of the time?
    Welfare and consumerism could be a favourable background for someone wishing to forget how to communicate.

    …Anyway, i just wanted to thank for the article.

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