Rather than the terms competition and collaboration, it sometimes might be useful to use the more neutral mathematical terms division and addition. When we divide something, we are using a force that is akin to competition but is less, well, competitive sounding — division is sorting a set of things into two or more smaller, different sets, both of which are still valid and useful. For example, we sort the cycle of the Earth’s spin into day and night — it’s less of a “competition” between the day and the night, and more of a simple division of a larger thing, the cycle, into smaller sets of what happens when the sun is visible and when it’s not visible from a certain point on the planet. The same is true of the reverse process, of adding the sets of day and night into one larger set of one whole spin of the Earth — it’s not really the day and night “collaborating” as it is the day and night being combined into a single individual memetic unit.
When it comes to individual ideas, and even human individuals, it can be valuable to look for ways that it will be productive to either combine the different individuals into larger groups or to separate larger groups into smaller parts, depending on your overall goal. In other words, rather than thinking about individuals competing against each other, think about how they can be divided into smaller sets that can more effectively meet specific needs in their own unique ways. And rather than thinking about individuals collaborating, think about how they can be added together into a single larger set that is more all-encompassing.
Think about how red lights and green lights and blue lights are each extremely useful in certain situations as separate colors, while in other situations adding the three different colors together to make white light is far more useful. The behaviors of the individual light wavelengths when they are divided and when they are added are equally useful. The same is true for the behaviors of humans, and all other types of individuals too.
I’ve found that the division concept is especially useful when two individuals seem to be reasonably similar in power and strength, but have very different behaviors and stories. You can value them both by encouraging each of them to aim in their own different directions but with the overall goal being the same, as in two points on a line coming together to form a triangle, and in the same way that two people on very different points of the equator of the Earth can head in totally different directions of, say, northeast and southwest yet still both will eventually end up at the north pole, as long as they both share the same final destination.
And the addition concept can work particularly well when there are two or more different groups who you want to find common ground. You can value the differences while pointing out the similarities, in goals, so that everyone has at least some place to return to when things get stressful.
For example, science and art are two equally powerful and strong approaches to life, and both can go in their own unique directions, while both are also aiming at the end goal of a better, healthier, more interesting world. They are both divided and added together for a better organization of human society…