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A Literacy of Cooperation by Mind Map: A Literacy of Cooperation
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A Literacy of Cooperation

evolution of cooperation

preceding life itself

molecules have to 'collaborate', precursor to cooperation, symbiogenesis, biologist Lynn Margulis emphasizes cooperation in evolution rather than competition

little kids tend to work together while chimps don't

group selection

intra-group cooperation makes the group stronger competitor

genes of altruistic individuals may not spread, but they enhance the group, and the group genes can spread more efficiently, in kinship genes spread also if one individual sacrifices herself for two siblings or eight cousins


direct reciprocity, you do me a favor, I do you a favor

indirect reciprocity (Nowak), one does something for someone else and enhances her reputation in the group

network reciprocity

cultural evolution, social grooming (Robin Dunbar)

how many individuals can you groom and remember, humans can gossip, who is trustworthy, Dunbar's number, importance of the relative size of the neocortex, number varies, depending on studies, language and cooperation, mirror neurons, radical environmental changes, learning capacities, don't have to wait for genes to spread around, language, stories, cooking meat, influencing our genes, channeling of tribal instincts through symbol systems, evolution of cooperative capacities at cultural level, but based on biology, innate sociality, cultural tools, cooperative arrangements

Social Dilemmas

chicken game

will both drivers crash on collision course?


non-cooperation always wins

assurance game

catching a hare or going for a stag hunt together?

mythic narratives

prisoner's dilemma, mistrust prevents mutual benefit, (too?) much focus on this one in popular discourse

tragedy of the commons, individual rationality leads to irrational outcomes

fear of free riders, underprovisioning


tit for tat

don't be envious

frequent and durable interactions

improve recognition

be generous

be provocable

don't be too clever

collective action

institutions for collective actions, building on social capital

networks, social metadata, identity, reputation, smart mobs, digital public

the commons, common pool resources, design principles, clearly defined boundaries, rules to appropriation, provision, collective choice arrangements, effective monitoring, graduated actions, mechanisms of conflict resolution, recognized community self-determination, when large: organization in layers, Mark Elliott: also recommending modular approach, polycentric approach

our use of metaphors, images, stories


Neo-Darwinism, Herbert Spencer, "survival of the fittest", competition, war, struggle

cooperation, Kropotkin, mutual aid, Adam Smith, necessity of regulating markets

political leaders as (not so good) story-tellers




Laurence Lessig, Republic Lost

differences between cultures

societies where individual comes first, define 'societies', avoid generalizations, various narratives can coexist, imagined communities, societies change, US post-Reagan, cooperative capitalism, Chinese style capitalism

societies where group interest is most important, differences in dealing with defectors, pre-emptive strikes by defectors, dealing with those who do not punish defectors

religion as a tool to enhance cooperation, Darwin's cathedral

our image of nature

shifting frontiers between culture and nature, 1491 and the native americans, corn, dogs creation by cross-breeding, cooking food, genetic engineering, synthetic organisms

our image of technology

greater, global, massively interconnecting system vibrating around us (Kevin Kelly)

how it evolves (Brian Arthur)

how it makes us unhappy (Spencer Wells), also look at cyberpunk, neal stephenson, william gibson, bruce sterling

technologies of cooperation

internet protocols

open source

reframing corporate paradigms

peer production, unix

apache, distributed computation

semi-permeable private-public boundaries

lowering barriers to cooperation

smart mobs, using sms, mobile, political revolutions, flash mobs, alternative currencies, alternative news, twestivals, others tools, mechanical turk, power law of participation, meritocracy, are power laws natural? ethical?, reaction by state, intelligence

bad mobs, can use the same tools, empowerment of the evil individual, group, reaction by states, intelligence

competition between state and mobs, leading to less empowerment? big brother?, is the declaration of the independence of cyberspace good or bad?


printing press, l'encyclop├ędie, revolutions, wikipedia, mass dissemination of information, memes spreading like... genes?, or like... viruses?, polycentricities of governance

cooperation in biology

Lynn Margulis

consciousness, microorganisms, bacteria, orient themselves, work together, make structures

symbiosys, natural selection, increasingly complex levels of individuality, cooperation, long lasting intimacy of strangers, at least half of the lifetime of one of the species involved (e.g. bacteria, human body)


complex, seemingly intelligent structures, efficient collaboration between very simple agents, no need for planning, control, direct communication, e.g. ants, hives, they use metadata (chemicals), traces left in the environment lead to next actions, leading to intelligent outcomes

applications, the internet, wikis, html as metadata


cooperative relation between legumes and certain bacteria, mutualism, tit for tat for plants (sanctions against cheats)

rhizome in the work of deleuze, guattari, multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation, planar and trans-species connections, vertical and linear connections