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purposeful interaction of the actions of two or more creatures, people, organisations, or systems
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*I cooperate with all that is good. I desire to non-cooperate with all that is evil...~Mahatma Gandhi
Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Cooperation is the process of groups of organisms working or acting together for their common/mutual benefit, as opposed to working in competition for selfish benefit. Many animal and plant species cooperate both with other members of their own species and with members of other species (symbiosis or mutualism). Language allows humans to cooperate on a very large scale.

When men co-operate rather than compete, they will find a magic potion entering their lives...Through co-operation the new civilization will be built, the new science revealed, the new understanding manifested. ~Benjamin Creme


  • The striving towards a true cooperation lies at the foundation of evolution...Instead of stock market speculation let there be striving for discoveries, supported by cooperative societies....I teach the useful when the indicated and cognized cooperation has been accepted and entered into... I wish to see cooperation not on paper and in assurances, but in action. It is right not to speak about love but to show it in action...
    • Agni Yoga, Leaves of Morya’s Garden II (1925)
  • Cooperation must be based upon sound rules. This teaches orderliness; that is, it helps the acquirement of a rhythm. Thus even in daily work are expressed the great laws of the Universe. It is especially needed to become accustomed from childhood to continuous labor. Let the better evolution be built upon labor as the measure of value. Labor must be voluntary. Cooperation must be voluntary.
  • Widely dispersed knowledge concerning the important role of basic cooperative processes among living beings may lead to the acceptance of cooperation as a guiding principle both in social theory and as a basis for human behavior. Such a development when it occurs will alter the course of human history.
    • W. C. Allee, Cooperation among Animals with Human Implications (1951), page 213 (cited in Lee Alan Dugatkin, "The Altruism Equation" (2006), p. 58).
  • I watched on TV when America sent men to the moon, and there were a lot of people whose names weren't given who helped make it possible. You don't have the names of those who run the computers and other things. But they worked together and this is what you have to have ... Chinese, American, Jewish, black and white, people working side by side. [...] We must all live together and work together no matter what race or nationality. If you have an opportunity to accomplish something that will make things better for someone coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.
    • Roberto Clemente, from his Tris Speaker Memorial Award acceptance speech, January 29, 1971, including both the bolded excerpt seen here and a lesser-known version of his famous "wasting your time on this earth" warning ; as quoted, respectively, in "800 Turn Out for Baseball Dinner" by Joe Heiling, in The Houston Post (January 30, 1971), p. 1-B, and "Standing Cheer for Roberto" by Houston Chronicle sportswriter John Wilson, in The Sporting News (February 20, 1971), p. 44 To access the other version, see Achievement.
  • Men must release themselves from the poison of competition, must realize it for the glamour which it is, and, seeing the Oneness of all men, embrace co-operation for the General Good. Only co-operation and justice will save men from a disaster of their own making; co-operation and justice alone will guarantee their future. Considering that this is so, man has little option but to accept co-operation as the key to his salvation.
    When men co-operate rather than compete, they will find a magic potion entering their lives. The ease with which long-lasting problems will be solved will astonish, the impossible will yield to the lightest touch, and, through co-operation alone, men will learn the true art of living. Thus will it be, and thus will men learn to appreciate the beauty of relationship which only co-operation can bestow. Through co-operation the new civilization will be built, the new science revealed, the new understanding manifested.
  • In previous ages a nation's life and culture could be protected to some extent by the growth of armies in national competition. Today we must abandon competition and secure cooperation. This must be the central fact in all our considerations of international affairs; otherwise we face certain disaster.
    • Albert Einstein; reported in Michael Amrine, "The Real Problem is in the Hearts of Man", New York Times Magazine (23 June 1946).
  • Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good.
  • Non-co-operation is a protest against an unwitting and unwilling participation in evil...
  • The duty of non-co-operation with unjust men and kings is as strictly enjoined by all the religions as is the duty of co-operation with just men and kings.
  • At times non-cooperation becomes as much a duty as cooperation. No one is bound to co-operate in one's own undoing or slavery.
  • I cooperate with all that is good. I desire to non-cooperate with all that is evil...
  • My non-co-operation has its root not in hatred, but in love...My non-cooperation, though it is part of my creed, is a prelude to co-operation. My non-co-operation is with methods and systems, never with men.
    • Mahatma Gandhi In The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi (Encyclopedia of Gandhi's Thoughts),Compiled & Edited by: R. K. Prabhu & U. R. Rao, Navajivan Trust, (1960)Full text online
  • It is evident that many great and useful objects can be attained in this world only by co-operation. It is equally evident that there cannot be efficient cooperation if men proceed on the principle that they must not cooperate for one object unless they agree about other objects.
  • All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion.
    • Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics 1932.
  • Cooperation is difficult in the absence of communication.
    • Joseph Nye, Understanding International Conflicts - An Introduction to Theory and History (Sixth Edition), Chapter 1, Is There an Enduring Logic of Conflict in World Politics?, p. 16.
  • Cooperation is an evolutionary riddle, as it defies the basic principles of natural selection. If during the course of evolution only the fittest survive, why should one sacrifice individual fitness for the benefit of unrelated others? Widespread cooperation in nature is indeed one of the most important challenge to Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. Understanding the evolution of cooperation means understanding also the main evolutionary transitions that led from single-cell organisms to complex animal and human societies, and it is therefore little surprising that the subject consistently attracts attention across large contingents of social and natural sciences.
    • Attila Szolnoki and Matjaz Perc, "Evolution of extortion in structured populations" (2014)

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