Never like this year, due to the pandemic, have we been faced with the dichotomies “us and the others”, and even more, the conflict between I take care of Myself (and I’m selfish) or I take care of the Other (and I’m selfless).
The competitive paradigm leads us to think (feel) that caring for the Other may be foolish, since we’d privilege the other’s life over our own. And, in return, it leads us to think (feel) that caring for Myself can be mean, since it’d show contempt, a devaluation of the other’s life.
Studies on the evolution of societies show that cooperation, collaborating with the other, has excellent results for everyone. Reciprocity, symmetrical exchange, taking care of in order to be taken care of is an excellent incentive to get out of the dichotomy “I’m strong but mean” or “I’m good but weak.”
Indeed, reciprocity can also lead to “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” attitude but the pandemic is teaching us that taking care of the other is the best way to take care of oneself. And that reciprocity of care is much more effective as a way of “selfishness” than to triumph in a revenge that only leaves us more alone, without the Other, but also without ourselves.