The Importance of Collaboration

By | June 6, 2023

In the field of personal development I find that some people like to collaborate and share ideas and learn from each other, which to me, is personal and profession development and growth. This got me thinking about collaboration, which got me thinking about collaborating with others who have thought about growth through collaboration. I went on a search for quotes of others who believed in the expansion of knowledge and the collaboration of ideas and people, and thus, I decided to write this in collaboration with those same people.

Personal development does not happen without the help of others. We can get lost in our own minds and ideas and thus never completely develop if we do not collaborate with others. Each of us has our own maps of the territory and thus we need to constantly update those maps, because, the map is not the territory and when we confuse the map with the territory, we begin to believe that we have the truth and that this truth is what is real, yet, we don’t touch that which is real, we map it.
Einstein said that – Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at dying.

How do we grow on an intellectual basis if we do not open our maps up to new ideas – when we realize that the map is not the territory and that to learn we must think and do knowledge at the upper levels of Blooms taxonomy and use analysis of ideas, an evaluation of ideas, and a creation or synthesis of ideas – a collaboration of ideas and thus a collaboration of those who have those ideas.

He also stated that – Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

This one seems quite self-evident to the discussion. Basically anyone who thinks they have the truth and own the truth are laughed at by the gods. Every time we update our map or model, we do so through neuro-plasticity and we experience opportunity for new ideas because of these new extensions of our maps

Plato is another that had something to say about wisdom and thus about the collaboration and sharing of wisdom when he said – Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.
When people speak of ownership of truth or methods and there is no growth or new knowledge but a static model that is soon to be an old saw, then the old ideologies supports the austere doctrinaire attitude of speaking to be heard, and not hearing so as to be able to speak.

Another person who did not believe that one person had the handle on all truth was Nietzsche, who said that – You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
Ah, sounds a bit like the territory/map distinction. This quote could inspire collaboration of ideas and methods between peoples and groups, where there is no ownership of ultimate truth, but a collaboration toward an ideology, and a semblance of truth that engenders the pragmatic end that we so desire.

We can, through the habituation of use of certain ideas develop very ingrained beliefs about our beliefs and this create a prejudice in us and when we come across new information we may suffer a form of dissonance and what is also called confirmation bias, in fact Voltaire stated that – Prejudices are what fools use for reason. Einstein also recognized this type of prejudice when he stated – Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

When we do not collaborate because we think we have the handle on truth it shows our prejudice toward that truth. When we identify truth with self, the challenge of that truth becomes a challenge to the self and is defended as if the self is itself in danger- prejudice is when this common sense (our truth) is so metabolized and then becomes part of the self, the ego.

Plutarch realized that we need to collaborate and share ideas, update our models, and not just go with the crowd or just listen from those who share are very ideas, he stated – I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.

Even though we need collaboration, we also need to analyze and evaluate ideas, knowledge, models, and the application of those models. Collaboration is not necessarily inclusion of all ideas and thus the dilution of all ideas, but it is working together with others who offer new shoulders in which to stand, who can use our shoulders in which to stand, and who together, we both offer a shoulder for others to stand.

Newton took this even a bit further when he realized that even he, the great Newton was only able to succeed in what he was able to accomplish because he said – If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

We throw out this idea of Newton’s if we do not collaborate. If we do not collaborate we cannot see further, we can only see as tall as we are, for we cannot stand on rocks, but we stand on people and look further into the territory, and together, we have 4 eyes instead of two and thus maybe the map gets a bit closer to the territory.
Newton also recognized that we need this collaboration and the sharing of ideas and the synthesis of these ideas if we want to extend knowledge and thus advance life along a positive path when he said – We build too many walls and not enough bridges.

A bridge is collaboration, a wall locks us in and locks others out. A wall then not only hinders us from receiving what others have, but it keeps us from sharing what we have. A bridge allows for the transfer of goods from one side to the other, a mutual exchange – collaboration is that bridge, a wall is the seclusion of knowledge to furtherment only of those who hold such, not to a greater knowledge, but to false ego strength, built on faulty scales and weights.
Ellison had this same spirit and said – Education is all a matter of building bridges.

Education gives information, information can give knowledge, knowledge if applied becomes pragmatics, and pragmatics can bring about physical change. The sharing of this information is the means toward the end of positive physical change. Education, or information, is not meant to be a wall to keep some in and keep some out, but to build bridges.

This theme of needing others and standing along others can be seem through so many of the people that we hold in high esteem. The people who we think were great, realize that they needed to see and recognize greatness in others who then inspire us to be great, in fact Twain said that – Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Hall wrote about living with the attitude of abundance. If we can have the hope and courage to stand on the shoulders of other greats (lest we fear of falling and bumping our heads), then we too can become great, and as we become great, we have strong shoulders for others.

The last person I want to discuss is President Ronald Reagan he believed that –
There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.

And thus we end this string of quotes from those I just chose to collaborate with. Now, I could have gone this alone and strove to write some wit and some wisdom, but I thought it apropos to collaborate as we are discussing collaboration. Self-Actualization is a journey that we take with others. We are not on it alone – all growth is the results of how we map others maps, it is an interaction. The lower deficiency needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy are met through other people – we need others for our physical needs, for our safety needs, for our social needs and love needs, and even in part for our esteem needs, for without others, there is nothing to esteem – thus it takes collaboration for our self-actualization – so, as for me, I want to collaborate with others in this system of a journey, a journey that is mine, but is often traveled with others. May we all collaborate, as those who give and those who receive – a mutual self-actualization reciprocity.