When I read the prompt it really made me think. I have a memory that this word wasn’t in my vocabulary as a child. It was spoken in our house, but in dark tones. Collaboration was a dirty word, a word from the war. Traitors, collaborateurs, Quizlings, Vichy, all spoken as a code for evil.
It wasn’t until I went to high school that I really heard the word positively. We were to form teams and collaborate on a project in order to produce information (and it was fun, except for the lazy ones we had to carry). And it was a bit like that week you buy a car and then you see that particular model everywhere as if for the very first time. So, collaboration was suddenly in my mind.
In the seventies it took off, artists, writers, musicians, architects, scientists, were all collaborating. And I loved it. When we work together there is a wonderful synergy of learning, working through tensions, arriving by another route other than that which was intended, a creative journey even in the most simple, mundane tasks.
To collaborate we have to let go a little, to keep an eye on the ego, to step back enough to let others in. The world works better that way. If we collaborate on the environmental issues we face, not just collaborate with humanity, but collaborate with nature! If we saw the stranger, the alien, as someone to work alonside of, to learn from, what a difference it would make to our world. I just know in my deeper self, that I can’t make it alone, I need others. And in a positive sense, i want others in my life, its energising and creative.
As the poet John Donne once said “no one is an island.”