There is strength in numbers but more than in numbers, in unity or cohesion. When people pull together in common purpose, they reinforce and encourage each other. Each person may bring unique strengths that add to the common endeavor for more than if each person acted alone. When that happens, sometimes, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Technical and Analytical Readings
- R. Keith Sawyer, Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration (Basic Books, 2007).
- Morten T. Hansen,Collaboration : How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results (Harvard Business School Press, 2009).
- Gilbert Waldbauer, Millions of Marches, Bunches of Beetles: How Bugs Find Strength in Numbers (Harvard University Press, 2000).
- Gilbert Waldbauer, Insights from Insects: What Bad Bugs Can Teach Us (Prometheus Press, 2005).
- Philip Abrams and Andrew McCulloch, Communes, Sociology and Society (Cambridge University Press, 1976).
- Timothy Miller, The 60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond (Syracuse University Press, 1999).Other
- Carol Blum, Strength in Numbers: Population, Reproduction, and Power in Eighteenth-Century France (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002).
- Jonathan Steinberg, Bismarck: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2011): a narrative account of a master statesman who united the 39 states in the German Confederation. Bismarck’s life is also a study in pragmatism.
- Jason K. Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa (PublicAffairs, 2011): an example of the antithesis of social unity.
- Simon Winchester, The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible (Harper, 2013): on “the influential figures who fostered American unity.”
- Jonathan W. Jordan, Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, and the Partnership That Drove the Allied Conquest in Europe (NAL Caliber, 2011): how Allied commanders collaborated to win World War II.
From the dark side:
- James Shapiro, Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future (Penguin Press, 2020): “His subject is us, the U.S., not Shakespeare plays. If you’re worried about the current state of the Republic, this is a book that will stoke your fears — while educating you on why you might justifiably be having them.”
- Geoerge Packer, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021): “His deep fear is that Americans have lost the 'art' of self-government.”
- Adam Tooze, Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy (Viking, 2021): “. . . what if our collective will is so divided that we can’t decide which way to go? Or, more to the point, what if we can’t agree on how much to spend, what to spend it on, who should benefit and when to pay for it . . .”
Documentary and Educational Films
- Jane Yolen, Raising Yoder's Barn (Little Brown, 1998).
- Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring (Flash Point, 2010), "a book about collaboration."
- Colin Thubron, Night of Fire: A Novel (Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, 2017): “Colin Thubron’s ‘Night of Fire’ is literally about a house that burns down at night, killing all its inhabitants. . . . It starts over at every chapter with a new character, and yet the fates of the seven central characters are so intimately linked that the story feels cumulative. The resemblance of each chapter to the next — intense memories, followed by death — should feel repetitious, but it doesn’t.”
From the dark side, and stories of people not pulling together:
- Lionel Shriver, So Much for That: A Novel (Harper, 2010), a novel about the failure of the health care system in the United States.
- Ken Kalfus, 2 a.m. in Little America: A Novel (Milkweed, 2022): “. . . the next American civil war has already taken place. The people of the United States have become the world’s newest and biggest cohort of refugees, following Syrians and Salvadorans and many others into the cross-border and transoceanic routes of mass migration and diaspora.”
- Max Ernst, Lone Tree and United Trees (1940)
Film and Stage
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Haydn, String Quartets, Opus 76 (“Erdody” quartets, 1796-97)
- Quartet No. 60 in G major, Op 76, No. 1, FHE No. 40, Hoboken No. III:75
- Quartet No. 61 in D minor (“Quinten”, “Fifths”, “The Donkey”), Op. 76, No. 2, FHE No. 41, Hoboken No. III:76
- Quartet No. 62 in C major (“Emperor” or “Kaiser”), Op. 76, No. 3, FHE No. 42, Hoboken No. III:77
- Quartet No. 63 in B flat major (“Sunrise”), Op. 76, No. 4, FHE No. 49, Hoboken NO. III:78
- Quartet No. 64 in D major (“Largo”), Op. 76, No. 5, FHE No. 50, Hoboken No. III:79
- Quartet No. 65 in E flat major, Op. 76, No. 6, FHE No. 51, Hoboken No. III:80
- Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34 (1864), evidences the same seriousness of intent and unity of purpose as in his string quartets. The addition of an extra voice, the piano, adds a layer of complexity that brings to mind, more fully than in the quartets, the value of
- Schubert, String Quintet, in C Major, D 956, Op. posth. 163 (1828)
- Dvořák: String Quintet No. 3 in E flat Major, Op. 97, B 180, "American" (1893)
- Gernsheim, Piano Quintet No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 35 (1876)
- Gernsheim, Piano Quintet No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 63 (1896)
- Foote, Piano Quintet No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 38 (1897)
- Frankel, Symphony No. 3, Op. 40 (1964): in this brief symphony, the composer brings together and resolves several musical ideas.
- Liquid Mind IV, “Unity” album
- Gibbons, Hymnes & Songs of the Church: Songs of Unity
- Dohnányi, Piano Quintet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 1
- César Franck, Piano Quintet in F Minor, CFF 121, FWV 7 (1879)
- Raga Bibhas (Vibhas), a dawn raga (performances by Amonkar, Mansur and Faiyaz Khan)
- Raga Gunakri, a Hindustani classical raag for early morning, often portrayed as a young woman in love who is arranging flowers or twigs in a vase – this is meant to symbolize two lovers (performances by Amonkar, Sathe and Sharma).
- Dubois, Piano Quintet in F Major
- Dubois, Piano Quartet in A Minor
- String Thing, “Beauty of the Essential Detail”: “The nine compositions are (Roger) Hanchel originals and played mostly in unison, suggesting a strict discipline.” (Robert Rusch, Cadence magazine annual edition 2020.)
- Tubby Hayes, “Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Sessions, 1969”
- Gebhard Ullmann, Hans Lüdermann, Oliver Potratz and Eric Schaefer, “Mikropuls”: musicians with diverse perspectives and ideas uniting around one idea at a time
- Jakob Bro Nonet, “White Rainbow”, because in a rainbow all the colors are together.
- Dom Minasi Quartet, “Eight Hands, One Mind”
- Azuei, “Artysonita”: an album devoted to unity in a divided Hispaniola
From the dark side:
- Richard Wilson, Music for Violin and Cello (1969) – conflict and tension
Whoever degrades another degrades me, / And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.
Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current and index.
I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy, / By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms.
Through me many long dumb voices, / Voices of the interminable generations of prisoners and slaves, / Voices of the diseas'd and despairing and of thieves and dwarfs, / Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion, / And of the threads that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff, / And of the rights of them the others are down upon, / Of the deform'd, trivial, flat, foolish, despised, / Fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung.
Through me forbidden voices, / Voices of sexes and lusts, voices veil'd and I remove the veil, / Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigur'd.
[Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1891-92), Book III: Song of Myself, 24.]
We will rise from the golden hills of the West.
We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked South.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
[from Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”]
- Woody Guthrie, “All Work Together”
From the dark side:
- Roger McGough, “Cake”
Music: songs and other short pieces
- Playing for Change, Ripple
- Franz Schubert (composer), Bundeslied (Comrade’s Song), D. 258 (1815) (lyrics)