Cooperation is the process by which the components of a system work together to achieve the global properties. In other words, individual components that appear to be “selfish” and independent work together to create a highly complex, greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts system. Examples can be found all around us. The components in a cell work together to keep it living. Neurons create thought and consciousness, other cells work together and communicate to produce multicellular organisms. Organisms form food chains and ecosystems. People form families, tribes, cities and nations. Atoms cooperate in a simple way, by combining to make up molecules. Understanding the mechanisms that create cooperating agents in a system is one of the most important and least well understood phenomena in nature, though there has not been a lack of effort.
Individual action on behalf of a larger system may be coerced (forced), voluntary (freely chosen), or even unintentional, and consequently individuals and groups might act in concert even though they have almost nothing in common as regards interests or goals. Examples of that can be found in market trade, military wars, families, workplaces, schools and prisons, and more generally any institution or organization of which individuals are part (out of own choice, by law, or forced).
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Famous quotes containing the words cooperative and/or systems:
“Then we grow up to be Daddy. Domesticated men with undomesticated, frontier dreams. Suddenly lifeor is it the children?is not as cooperative as it ought to be. Its tough to be in command of anything when a baby is crying or a ten-year-old is in despair. Its tough to feel a sense of control when youve got to stop six times during the half-hour ride to Grandmas.”
—Hugh ONeill (20th century)
“Before anything else, we need a new age of Enlightenment. Our present political systems must relinquish their claims on truth, justice and freedom and have to replace them with the search for truth, justice, freedom and reason.”
—Friedrich Dürrenmatt (19211990)