When I speak, listen and read about Collaborative Practices, sometimes it makes me feel like it would be an easy task: to do something together. As if magically, something became collaborative just by naming it.
Over the years I have learned that collaborative actions and relationships do not have a “natural” existence. If so, maybe it would not be difficult for people to start participating in collective actions to benefit the community and politicians would legislate in very different ways; probably parents would not complain about their kid’s insufficient housework participation, couples possibly would have more respectful ways to solve their differences and dissatisfaction, in short, many things would be different.
To me, collaboration is not something finished, it is not a one-sided task, neither something that is the will of “the good” that collaborates in opposition of “the bad” that behaves individually.
Collaborative actions and relationships, according to postmodern and constructionist approaches, need to be created and —even if they seem in a moment like they already are— they require permanent care and attention. To me, no action/relationship is completely collaborative; this is because human beings are changing all the time, even changing our minds, our interests, our priorities and our circumstances.
I think it is a bit naïve to believe that under any circumstance, in every moment and every relationship, collaborative actions are better. In general terms I privilege them, and a lot, but there are moments, relationships and decisions, that require us to act in different ways.
In my experience, to build collaborative actions and relationships involves more than will or intention to create an appropriate environment. It needs assuming the responsibility of working together, the openness to multiple perspectives, the sensation of feeling listened and valued, the possibility to share, to create and to do something together.
But, we already know that! The difficulty is to put them in practice, performing a philosophy of life congruent at speech. I think, our interactions with others, our ways of speaking and dialoguing, puts in evidence our way of thinking, our believes —we can call them discourses, conventions, constructions, interpretations of phenomenon— that move us to be in life and, with others in very particular manners.
To me, to develop a philosophy of life based on collaboration is not only theoretical, academic or informative. It is a learning of life that inquires about some ways to talk, to relate, to act and to make decisions that are always on review.
Collaborative actions and relationships are diluted over time if we are not conscious and responsible of its fleeting nature… and that they need a constant exercise of construction.