The power of cooperation

My mom told me today about a story she recently saw on TV that profoundly affected her way of thinking about what is “possible” and “impossible.”

Say you have a 10-foot-tall stone that weighs 5 tons, and you want to move it from one place to another (the actual distance it is to be moved is merely a detail). Your only resources are about 30 able-bodied people and three long ropes. Is moving that stone possible, or not?

Turns out, it is.

The secret to making that monster move is not technology, not money, not sheer numbers, not brute force, and not the divine hand. Just balance, coordination and above all, cooperation toward a common goal. The power of a cohesive group is far greater than the sum of its parts and a miracle happens: the statue walks.

So when people say that the problems facing our nation and our world are insurmountable and impossible to solve, I have to wonder:
  • What if each one of us recognized that we and every one of our fellow human beings are all in this together–this life, on this planet?
  • What if each of us was willing to bend our back to the work at hand, side by side with our fellows, knowing that what is required of us is not super-human strength but only our best effort?
  • What if we all worked together as one body?

What couldn’t we do then?


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