It takes two hands to clap. No matter how great a plan you have, you cannot achieve anything by yourself. That is why we search so desperately for someone to slap our hand palm-to-palm. But this idiom has many meanings. Just as we cannot clap with one hand, when two hands miss or move away from each other, there is no clap. If two people want to achieve something then they must co-operate to produce synergy. But does that mean we can just carelessly clash our palms together?
If you clap with each hand as stiff as a board, it only hurts both people’s hands and produces a dull, bad sound. But if you loosen your hands a little and slap with a smooth motion, you get a clear, awesome sound. When two people act stubbornly and only stick to each other’s opinions and pride, they will achieve nothing and instead hurt their friendship, possibly even resulting in utter failure. To bend a little and give way to the other person – that is how two people can produce co-operation, understanding and connection. That is the secret to grasping the philosophy of 1 + 1 = 3.
(NB: The picture is from the basketball manga Slam Dunk where the two protagonists pull off one of the most epic high fives in fictional history. If you recognise it, you are awesome.)