Reflection: Cooperation

Posted: 12th October 2022

As I reflected upon the death of Her Late Majesty, I felt there was one particularly striking value that the Queen was a great symbol of, and one which she cherished dearly.  She relayed and always repeated this idea of cooperation, even during times of the greatest political or economic turmoil: this idea that we must cooperate if we are to move forward.  Whether the pandemic or the Russian war, the same message about cooperation was spread by Her.

Cooperation is key to the success of anything.  We as a human species have evolved to work together for the common good.  Whenever, wherever, I believe we as humans are meant to work together.  History shows that we are better when we collaborate with one another.

To highlight this, I can think of no better example, in my opinion, than the eradication of smallpox.  For centuries it was a virus with an insurmountable kill count, and yet through international cooperation we managed to dispose of it.  It seems almost incomprehensible to me today that such a widespread effort then was barely even mimicked when it came to Covid.  Although vaccines were delivered quickly which was a sign of great cooperation, countries hoarded them, kept them for themselves, and couldn’t even countenance sharing them with others until their own countries’ virus problems were fixed, not realising that if they had worked together in the vaccination effort, they would have been working in the interests of all of humanity, possibly saving the lives of many.

And yet, it seems as if the world has become engrossed with arguing and the inability to listen to, and work with, others.  We have somehow ignored the facts of history and have decided that it is better to go alone.  We seemed to have only exacerbated the divide between one another.  We must reverse this trend, moving away from selfishness towards cooperation.

So, I ask this of you, fellow RGS students, to work with others, rather than alone, for the benefit of others and yourself.  In school exams or in preparation for sports matches, don’t try and practise alone all the time, because it turns out working with others actually helps you.

Patrick Majumdar

Senior Prefect


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