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 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 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 more.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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 democracy.
- 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
- 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 dialogue.
- 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 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 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
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 and culture.
- 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:
Collectively Intelligent Communities
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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