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Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Making Life More Meaningful

Making Life More Meaningful
It’s not competition and greed that makes the world go around – it’s cooperating and caring, writes Ed Mayo.

It is tough out there. The economy is uncertain. Jobs are uncertain. The competition is out to get you. It is a dog-eat-dog world.

Except it isn’t, is it? Our Sussex-born lurcher has a passing interest in distant squirrels, but doesn’t show any interest in eating other dogs. In fact, the idea that dogs just want to eat dogs in the first place is actually poor natural science. Dogs, like bees and ants, cooperate with their own kind.

We live in a world where the media, the headlines and the culture scream out competition…get ahead…do it on your own…trust no one…don’t get left behind. But the reality is very different. What keeps things going, what sustains families, what makes work meaningful, what contributes to our wellbeing and what really connects us to Nature is cooperation.

In the wild, working together is what packs of dogs, swarms of bees, schools of fish and flocks of birds do. Flocks of birds are held together, researchers have found, by three simple rules that each bird follows:

Separation – don’t crowd your neighbour.

Alignment – steer towards the average direction that most others are going to.

Cohesion – steer towards the average position that most others will be in.

With these three simple rules, the flock moves across the sky and across the world as if it were a single living thing, creating movement and interaction that would be extraordinarily hard to create otherwise.

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