Cake Cooperation


Cake ingredients: on their own, they don't make a cake. Together, they do. Photo source: www.eatlittlebird.com
Cake ingredients: on their own, they don’t make a cake. Together, they do.
Photo source: http://www.eatlittlebird.com
If a cake is made of flour, eggs, milk, and all other usual and not so usual stuff that can imaginably make a cake. Then, what is cooperation made of?

I should think that there aren’t many differences between the ingredients of a cake and those of cooperation. No I don’t mean that cooperation is made of flour and eggs and milk and whatever it is that once fancies. What I do mean is that both of them are made of things that go well together. You can never make a cake out of incompatible ingredients – not, by the way, if you want your cake to be edible and has an agreeable taste. The same thing goes with cooperation: it can never be born out of uncongenial circumstances.

So, what makes cooperation works?

First of all, I think it’s mutual interests. Then, mutual benefits.

Parties seeking cooperation must (and should) have mutual interests, the absence of which will necessarily negate any needs for it. Regardless of what the interests are, I think this is self-evident. The mutual benefit part is only the logical consequence of it: when the interests of the parties are attained, their mutual benefits are gained.

In spite of these similarities, parties seeking cooperation are essentially different. There are things that each party does not have and can’t afford on its own that make them want to cooperate with others. Otherwise, if each and everyone does have and can afford everything it needs on its own, there is no need for cooperation. It is because of this, the second condition for cooperation is needed: Mutual respect and understanding.

You can’t have cooperation in which one party feels it is superior to the other(s). Such a feeling is uncooperative. It’s like the flour (or the eggs or the butter for that matter) is saying that it is the most important ingredient of a cake. While it is true that without flour of any kind, a cake can’t be a cake, it is also true that without any other ingredients, flour on its own can’t make a cake. It doesn’t matter how big or small one’s contribution is, without any of the others’ the goal can’t be attained. Such is cooperation that mutual respect among its elements is necessary.

Some people sometimes feel that because they are big and powerful and dominant, they are supposed to be the one who is to be (more) respected. That can’t never be the case in cooperation. The co- element of the word (which means together) just would not allow it for a single element to work on its own without the other(s). And for the elements to work together, each should realise that they have a common interest, want to reap a mutual benefit, and, for that, need to have a mutual respect towards one another.

Eki Akhwan,
21 June 2015

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