WalaHaja #9: In situations of complex ambiguity; always choose to cooperate first

WalaHaja #9: In situations of complex ambiguity; always choose to cooperate first

The human psyche is absolutely complicated, you could almost never know why someone did something at a past point in time. Though, usually the pains and hurts evolving from these experiences could totally blind you into acting out of poorly informed revenge.

Then, what is the solution? A commitment to constant “Burning of old wood”, a cleaning of old wounds by expressing them boldly and directly and sometimes, not waiting for an acknowledgement or any response from the other party.

I had to do that sometime in my tender age of 17, when I was “tracked down” for 11 months for what seemed like an investigation into my intentions for launching a basic website to share lecture notes with my university, what I thought to be a simple adventure of launching a tech startup, turned to open up the gates of hell on me.

I was not sure whether I would survive that honestly, but I somehow did and not only did I survive but through the experience of suffering I learnt a lot of new things about me and the world, discovered my passion for languages and technology and recognized this spark in launching new things and going by the far edge of “finding solutions to complicated problem by try and error”.

Eleven months of pressure for a 17 year old is a lot, and there are a lot of wounds and pains and isolation is to be experienced, but also there is a lot of hugs, connection and looking beyond the mind to find what’s in the heart.

I’m happy to celebrate that even past these 11 months of hell, I graduated as a stronger and more capable person and able to face life more readily and take more responsibility. I also have learnt to keep secrets until it’s time for them to be known and sometimes keeping them forever and feeling totally okay with it.

The release of these experiences on a certain level – which could vary between different individuals – is necessary for us to live life in harmony.

It’s an upgrade from the economic theory of “Milton Friedman” which promotes “corruption” as a way for the government to interfere in “perfectly competitive markets” to dominate, into a new world of harmony and cooperation, reflected in this hilarious scene from “Beautiful Mind”.

Nash’s Equilibrium in Game Theory:

“Nash equilibrium states that nothing is gained if any of the players change their strategy while all of the other players maintain their strategy. Dominant strategy asserts that a player will choose a strategy that will lead to the best outcome regardless of the strategies that the other players have chosen.”

So, not going for the blond was Nash’s aha moment of discovery of a new potential for the world to live in harmony and cooperation, is not really to seek for “perception” or “ego”, but rather pursue ego death and replace it with humility, listening and understanding.

Burning your old papers is the first individual step in being ready to collect dry wood to make fire that brings people together in discussion, cooperation and healing.

My grandfather executed projects for the British during the time they had control over Egypt and I had a very difficult time processing that, given the pride of the valor of those who have chosen to carry their guns, defend themselves and push back for their independence.

I was told stories about how my grandfather hosted the hub for employment, empowerment and prosperity during extremely difficult times for Egypt and Egyptians and while I was confused with the idea of “working for those occupying their land”, I thought about the alternative, carrying guns and killing people, versus, bringing them together into a discussion to reach the realization of the true and false to be chosen from.

Maybe my grandfather realized and internalized this idea of choosing cooperation within certain limits as the primary choice, going through the pain of “burning your own wood”, until nothing remains but an open heart that allows connection even with those who still think of you as their “enemy” or deploy certain unfair strategies to control and dominate your resources.

In 1944/45, when it was time for the British to say their goodbye to Egypt, it was difficult for those who contracted my grandfather with building a Church in Maadi to take their lovely dog back with them, it seems that my grandfather has done a fairly good job as well, so, as a departing gift from the British, he was given a dog, named “Sila” as a gift of goodwill.

Soon after, “Sila” delivered 11 puppies and my grandfather had a family of 10 already. I had a powerful grandmother with Turkish roots, she determined that feeding the puppies and the kids was way over capacity and given that we are not getting rid of the kids, then it’s time for the doggies to go, so they were sent to another branch of the family in Heliopolis.

During the time of conflict and in the heat of the moment, if our first choice is to go and feel our guns, the world becomes bloody, a better strategy is to each burn their own old dead wood on their own and bring the rest with them into a communion, where people open up, apologize, tell stories and express themselves beyond the limitations of their hurtful past.

Regardless of how many time I was offered the option to settle, I discovered that I’m a gypsy at heart, I just keep moving, seeking knowledge and solutions to complicated problems, though, you don’t really want the pain and the shame of being labelled “an idiot” by some, this pushes you to hide some secret algorithms for protection, until you realize that, these secret algorithms are unnecessary.

And even if I was never offered an explanation or an apology, I choose to move on lightly by burning my own works of the mind and to allow myself to express myself spontaneously from the heart, regardless of how I might be labelled by others.

This messy “intelligent spontaneity” with the ability to go back and correct mistakes, never shying away from how it would look to other people, is the greatest personal work in allowing the chance for the universe to respond to you with the same.

And as it’s said in the bible:

“12 And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.


14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:12-14

P.S. Below is a photo of me burning my strategy book developed over the experience of a few years and deciding to pursue the path of my grandfather, living in intelligent spontaneity, opening up to mistakes and correcting them when necessary.




Also published on Medium.

Leave a Reply