Theoretical articles about Co-Intelligence Topics
Since co-intelligence is intelligence which arises out of and
nurtures wholeness, and has many
applications in the world, extensive theory is growing up around
its many facets. Linked below, with brief summary annotations,
are key articles relating to some of these facets. This is a new
field and new theory is continually emerging. For a more concise
overview, see our FAQ. For current articles,
see Tom Atlee's blog.
Intelligence - Intelligence
is more than IQ. It is the whole palette of capacities through
which we continually create a fit between our minds and lives
and the world around us.
Co-intelligence - Co-intelligence
is intelligence that is guided by and nurtures wholeness.
Co-intelligence manifests in diverse
ways that reflect wholeness, such as the integration of our
heads and our hearts, the wisdom of spirit and nature, the collective
intelligence of groups, communities and whole societies and much
- Civilization is evolving rapidly, although not very consciously.
Conscious evolution is aware, informed, intentional, responsive,
and wise. Co-intelligence is part of a larger evolutionary trend
to help civilization become more able to evolve itself consciously.
In research and conversation, the Co-Intelligence Institute explores
evolutionary dynamics evolutionary agents can use to consciously
transform social systems and human consciousness. We also share
the universe's evolutionary story as an inspiring, empowering science-based
narrative about who we really are and what our evolutionary role
is. Our page on Conscious
Evolutionary Agentry and Evolutionary Systemic Intervention
will be of special interest to social change activists and philanthropists.
Evolutionary agentry can help prevent humanity's extinction while
catalyzing an unprecedented evolutionary leap through our emerging
crises, such that humanity becomes conscious evolution.
Democracy and Politics
- Co-Intelligent political theory explores how human society at
all levels -- from neighborhoods to nations -- can self-organize
wisely. The Co-Intelligence Institute's work focuses on catalyzing
wiser democratic systems. High quality dialogue
is perhaps the most important factor in developing the capacity
for wise democratic self-organization. Many of the articles in this
section focus on how to institutionalize
wisdom-generating dialogue in
democratic political culture and representative governance. We also
include sections on co-intelligent activism,
polarization and public
issues which involve practical political applications of co-intelligence.
There is also more material on democracy at the website of Tom Atlee's
book The Tao of Democracy.
Wholeness - As noted above,
co-intelligence is intelligence
that is guided by and nurtures wholeness. Wholeness refers to the
evolving inclusive coherence of life and its various parts, and
the relationship dynamics between those parts. This coherence underlies
familiar concepts like health, integrity, wholesomeness, holiness,
and other holistic concepts. Comprehending the many dimensions and
dynamics of wholeness can help us understand and enhance co-intelligence.
Power - Co-intelligent
power weaves together power-over, power-with, power-from-within,
power-from-among, power-as, whole-system power, and wholesome power.
While it covers all applications of power (which is simply the ability
to create effects), it focuses on social power (the ability to influence
people and the directions and policies of society), since social
power is so intimately related to politics, economics, leadership
and other topics on this list which impact our collective fate.
Economics - Co-intelligent
economic theory explores how living systems - people, communities,
and natural systems - can and do self-organize to meet their needs
and enhance their lives. In this it shares much with co-intelligent
political theory. It offers both an appreciative critique of
existing economic systems and envisions ways they can evolve to
be both more fulfilling and more sustainable. While appreciating
the role of competition, it tends towards cooperative, holistic
and wiser dynamics and perspectives.
Diversity - Diversity, used
creatively and well, is a hallmark of co-intelligence. New realities
are woven out of the interaction of diverse people, ideas, viewpoints,
forces, lives, etc. Human Diversity
involves far more than race, gender, culture and other hot-button
demographic differences, and is a potential source of immense treasure.
One of the hottest forms of diversity is polarization.
Wisdom - Co-intelligent theory
views wisdom as the capacity to appreciate the wholeness of life
with an expanded, deepened perspective -- and to act on that appreciation
to produce long-term common good, or useful lessons in that direction.
Most phenomena normally associated with wisdom (compassion, humility,
insight, etc.) are embraced by this view. Most importantly, wisdom
in co-intelligence theory includes the expansion of perspective
and co-creativity that's possible through dialogue among diverse
people or viewpoints. This is a major foundation for a wise
- One of the most potent dynamics of co-intelligence is the power
of inquiiry. Too often we think the only role of a question is to
be answered. But powerful, generative questions that have heart
and meaning can open up new realms and possibilities, especially
when pursued together or deeply lived, so that they produce insights
and evolutionary shifts like an apple tree produces apples, over
Community - The
Co-Intelligence Institute and many other organizations offer
abundant principles, insights and tools to help communities that
want to build their quality of life, their sustainabilty, and their
ability to address their problems wisely. This page provides links
to many of them, paying particular attention to civic
Leadership - Co-Intelligent
leadership supports co-creativity, self-organization and the
emergence of collective wisdom. Leadership is recognized as coming
from both individual leaders, as well as systems, processes and
Process and Participation
- "Process" is a word we use to describe "what's
going on" or "the unfolding of life." Whenever
we participate in a process -- whether it's a conversation, eating,
recycling or exchanging money -- our activities shape (and are
shaped by) the processes around us. For example, we pay X amount
of money for bread because of the price, but the price is influenced
by the demand we co-create with other consumers. We live in a
participatory, co-creative universe. Everything we do or don't
do has multiple impacts, and is part of larger events we co-create
with our actions. We can be more conscious of the processes in
which we are participating. Co-intelligent
processes support our efforts to be consciously co-creative
in ways that benefit the whole (group, organization, system,
etc.) and all its parts.
Morality and Ethics - Co-intelligent
moral sensibilities are guided by wholeness, interconnectedness,
co-creativity and synergy. From the co-intelligence perspective,
these guides are basic to the holistic nature of life and
they can be consciously nurtured for greater, broader benefit. The
primacy of dialogue in co-intelligence suggests that nurturing quality
public conversations about moral issues among diverse moral perspectives
is a highly moral act.
Empathy - Empathy plays
a powerful role in the wise use of intelligence. Like intelligence, empathy can be exercised in narrow ways that result in undesirable outcomes or in enlightened ways that support wisdom. Also like
intelligence, expanded forms of empathy can be embedded in cultures and social systems
to generate wiser collective outcomes.
Story - Co-intelligence often involves
sharing our stories and co-creating the larger stories within which
we live our shared lives. What we call "reality" and "consciousness"
may well be examples of larger stories we have woven together to
make sense of our world. The Co-Intelligence Institute is researching
the special sense-making power of an emerging inclusive story, the
great story of the evolution of the cosmos, life, and human consciousness
Spirituality - In its
current forms, co-intelligent spirituality honors a common core
of Spirit or shared connection to Spirit. Grounded in that communion,
the infinite diversity of Life dances itself into being, moment
to moment, through co-creative, co-incarnational, co-evocative,
co-evolutionary interaction and dialogue, evolving into ever-new
forms of wholeness.
Thinking - Systems thinking is any kind of thinking
that delves into the wholeness and interconnectedness of reality. This can include anything from feedback analysis and exploring the dynamics of political and economic systems to deep ecology and shamanism. As our collective power increases it becomes increasingly important that we take into account the complex sources and consequences of our actions, which systems thinking helps us do.
"Imagineering" visionary stories about future
social applications of co-intelligence:
Pat & Pat, a view from 2020
-- a story of two co-intelligent politicians who became mayors
of a medium-sized city in Iowa.
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