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Emerging and converging fields involving collective intelligence


The following fields of study and practice have an emergent, leading edge quality to them and, at the same time, seem to be overlapping more and more, and even converging into an increasingly coherent understanding of the collective intelligence of whole systems, and of Life as a whole. Increasingly, these fields are using methodologies, language, metaphors and narratives from each other to support and describe what seem to be manifestations of the same patterns in different realms and at different levels.

We can further the evolution of our cultures towards becoming a multicultural global wisdom society by supporting these and other such diverse fields to discover each other, talk together and collaborate.

  • "Group magic," especially through dialogue or attunement (e.g., collective meditation), including all the methodologies of healthy group co-creativity
  • Self-organization theory and methods -- including chaos and complexity theories, living systems theory (including cybernetics, ecology, permaculture and evolutionary biology), network theory, the "invisible hand" of the market, "swarm intelligence" and flocking behavior, etc.
  • Social/transpersonal applications of the new physics, particularly quantum and field theories, such as morphogenic fields and synchronicity
  • Transpersonal and Jungian psychology, non-dualistic spirituality, psychic phenomena and other studies of psycho-spiritual phenomena beyond the individual ego
  • The dynamics of collective behavior studied by social psychology
  • Efforts to revitalize community and democracy, including public participation, deliberative democracy and creative forms of spiritual politics, community organizing and nonviolent activism
  • Open source challenges to the proprietary confinement of knowledge, innovation and co-creativity in software, the arts, business, etc.
  • Open Source Intelligence challenges to the over-dependence on spying and secrecy which neglects public sources of information and inhibits cross-fertilization of intelligence not only in government but in society at large
  • Information, communication and knowledge systems (usually computer-based or -enhanced) (most of the "global brain" theories are grounded here)
  • Theories that expand our understanding of intelligence and cognition -- both individual and collective -- including some leading-edge educational theories
  • The 21st century imperative for transformation, evolution and wisdom (driven by global crises and often based in spirituality) -- and our growing understanding of the dynamics of transformation and evolution. This relates to the human potential movement, especially as it expands into social and collective human potential.
  • Participatory and collaborative practices in all sectors and for all reasons
  • The study and use of "decision markets" (systems for aggregating the independent actions, bets or estimates of hundreds of people) -- for prediction, fact-guessing and pattern-clarification (e.g.,'s "people who bought this also bought that" function)
  • Holistic studies of all types, including general exploration of the nature of wholeness, the relationship between parts and wholes, and holistic patterns like fractals, holographs, and holons.
  • Group and organizational dynamics, particularly studies of "groupthink" as well as the theory and practice of learning organizations, teams, communities of practice, and similar approaches to organizational development, innovation, and transformation
  • Work involving the many manifestations of human difference -- including conflict, polarization, stakeholders, personality types, cognitive styles, socially charged "diversity" (race, gender, class, etc.), and so on -- and the role of diversity, in general, in living systems


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