Collaboration

It’s how we build a better world for everyone

Urinal Handle

If this object happened to be found by future archaeologists, isolated and with nothing to compare it to, it would signify the existence of a complex and highly advanced civilization—even if its function was not known. The evidence: chromed metal, parts that function together as a whole, intricate design, meticulous manufacturing, a “system” to convey the flow of water complete with fittings, seals and regulators to control that flow—all without leaking. Although such an item could well be exhibited as an object of ancient art, the clear indication is that it was functional and probably mass produced.

Civilization. It’s what can happen when people, oriented toward a common vision, come together to collaborate, not to serve or support a powerful individual or committee, but to build a social structure that works for everyone—bottom to top. For me, at this stage of human evolution, one of the indicators of an advanced society is the extent to which people work together to create and maintain an infrastructure, particularly, but not solely, systems that satisfy basic human needs including abundant and healthy food, clean water, sanitary and safe living conditions, efficient and effective means for managing waste, safe and efficient transportation modalities and widely distributed electric power.

Social collaboration is difficult and slow to evolve, in part because of the prerequisites. People have to have a common objective, come together, agree and contribute labor. They have to be willing and able to pay taxes. There has to be a trustworthy management team that has both know-how and access to resources. And all of this needs to be coordinated within a structure where, again, the intention is to build a workable and sustainable society for everyone.

What prompted my selection of this image for contemplation is that it stands as a symbol of collaboration, in contrast to symbols of dysfunction, such as conflict, poverty and crime. Other signs include the felt need to own guns and other weapons for protection, buildings that lack plumbing, contaminated water, open sewer trenches, shanties and so on.

Without becoming maudlin or political, I observe that in many places age-old rivalries, greed and power-grabs are preventing the possibility of collaboration, thereby sustaining conflict and violence in a vicious cycle of pain and retribution. I don’t have a solution. But I do have faith. In the final analysis, human beings want to have the freedom to be more, do more, have more, know more, contribute and experience life more fully. History has shown that those who interfere with that, don’t long endure.

It’s going to take collaboration of the whole planet to save the planet.

Joseph Firmage, Scientist, futurist, author

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Email: smithdl@fuse.net

Portfolio: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

Photography Monographs (Click on the pages to turn them)

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