Genes, cells, and individuals compete as well as cooperate — genes in genomes, cells in tissues and individuals in societies. The cells in our body don’t just replicate like crazy. There is balanced cell replication when there is cooperation among the cells. When the cooperation among the cells breaks, the cells replicate and there is cancer. It is said that in a highly competitive situation, people with the most highly developed survival skills and the fewest moral scruples do the best. One can’t have everything. Greed and envy are vices, but they are also economic stimulants. It depends upon how much one is willing to sacrifice to get something else.
Cooperation develops a relationship of trust. It leads to a win-win situation. Competition gives rise to win-lose outcomes. In a cooperative situation we sink or swim together. In a competitive situation if one swims, the other must sink. We often wonder whether we should compete or cooperate in order to achieve our goals. We often need both competition and cooperation to reach an agreement. What seems important for a successful negotiation is finding a balance between the two approaches.
What are the factors that influence our decisions? The important factors are the nature and the goals of dispute, and the interdependence between the negotiating parties. Positive interdependence generally results in cooperation. Negative interdependence, on the other hand, results in competition. Individual’s style plays a significant role in settling the conflicts. Assertive stylists have a competitive attitude. Accommodating stylists are cooperative in nature. Those of us who lack both assertive and cooperative attitude are runaway types; who don’t like to face any conflicting situation.
The cooperative stylists are friendly and helpful communicators. They find similarities in the ideas and values of others with their own ideas and values. The competitive stylists, due to their obstructive nature, don’t like to indulge in communication with the conflicting party. They don’t mind spreading false promises and misinformation, if that serves their purpose. They are suspicious of others intentions, and blind to others' positive attributes. Due to these attributes they are less self-confident. They smell rats everywhere.
What does the fittest mean in the new age? Is he the one who is aggressive, violent and most selfish, or the one who is the most loving, the least aggressive and the least selfish? According to the new understanding of evolution, the driving force of evolution is not to be found in the chance events of random mutations, but in life’s inherent tendency to create novelty, in the spontaneous emergence of increasing complexity and order. This view has forced biologists to recognise the vital importance of cooperation in the evolutionary process. It is now believed that life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking. The new understanding suggests, “If you want to succeed, others must succeed as well.” It says, without competition and cooperation, there is no evolution. Competition and cooperation are as essential as growth and decay are for our existence and continuance. Selfishness alone can never be beneficial for the group, but in the presence of goodness, it can be. “The best groups might be those that include a few devils along with the angels”, a study says.