Competition and cooperation

Competition and cooperation

The first thing is to meditate rather than cooperate, because the competition is very deep inside the unconscious.

Q: A visitor says that he’s tried on different occasions to work with colleagues, to cooperate and collaborate with them on projects, but after a few weeks or months it falls through and breaks up in competition.


We have been brought up in such a way that we say that we want to cooperate but deep down we want to compete. And we can cooperate only under some pressure: for example, if you have a common enemy you can cooperate; then you will not compete. The enemy of your enemy will become your friend and you can cooperate—but it is under pressure because the enemy is there. If you start competing you will become weaker than the enemy, and you would not like that.

Because you have to compete with the enemy you cooperate with the friend, but if the enemy is defeated what are you going to do? Then you will start competing with the friend. When the enemy is gone, the friend will become the enemy. The friend was only the friend because of the enemy.

This is how we have been brought up. This is a very poisonous situation but this is how it is. Every child has been brought up to compete, to struggle, to defeat others and not to be defeated by them. Every child has been taught that the whole society consists of enemies. If you are not on guard you will be nowhere, so be on guard, be cunning, be clever. Talk about love, go on smiling, keep a good face, and deep down go on planning how to defeat everybody, how to destroy everybody.

My suggestion is: work indirectly; directly you will not succeed. Forget about cooperating. The first thing is to meditate rather than cooperate because the competition is very deep inside the unconscious. You will have to transform the unconscious first; you will have to uncondition your mind first. You will fail with this mind again and again, and the more you fail, the more failure will become certain because from the very beginning you will know that you are going to fail. You know: it has happened so many times. It is almost a certainty; you are hoping against hope. You know it is going to fail so your efforts will be self-defeating.

And each time one fails in a certain effort, one loses much self-confidence. You start feeling that you are just helpless, a victim. You cannot do anything; things happen by themselves. You become a fatalist; you start feeling impotent.

Don’t go directly. We have to be very, very scientific about destroying this inner core of competition. In cooperation you will be working directly against it; that is not the right course. You will have to do something in which neither competition is involved at all nor cooperation is needed.

For example, if you meditate you cannot cooperate, you cannot compete. In meditation you are alone: the moment you close your eyes you are alone. When you start going inwards there is nobody so you cannot cooperate and you cannot compete. Now this can be the way, and if meditation starts growing you will be able to see where this competition comes from, and with a more meditative mind, you will become more cooperative.

Cooperation can only be a by-product of a meditative mind, just as competition is a by-product of an achiever’s mind. That’s what we do: all our schooling is nothing but to create the achiever’s mind—how to achieve, how to have more, how to be first….

Difficulties are there only because we move in the wrong direction. It is almost like this: if you start trying to go through the wall then it is difficult. I will show you the door: you can simply go through it and it will not be difficult.

Abridged from The No Book by Osho




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