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Thoughts on Co-Intelligent
Guidelines for co-intelligent social
Notes on positive, co-intelligent social
Some possible characteristics of a co-intelligent
society (to guide our social change efforts)
These lists were compiled by me in the summer of 1994. I still
find them quite useful. Maybe you will, too. -- Tom Atlee
Guidelines for co-intelligent social change
- We focus on people and groups who are ready for change.
- We try to prepare for a future where the changes we seek
will take on a life of their own.
- We create usable models of what we want to see, be and have.
- We use whatever happens, to learn and teach needed lessons
for growth and transformation.
- We actively create opportunities in which we can learn together
- We make change both safe and necessary.
- We learn to respect differences among those who share our
values, goals or circumstances.
- We recognize allies (or tendencies we can ally with) in the
camp of those who resist the changes we seek.
- We try to learn about and connect with diverse stakeholders.
- We create networks and forums which help people make generative*
- We promote real dialogue.
- We promote and honor many forms of diversity.
- We promote engagement in socially-transformative interaction,
even by our opponents.
- We create situations where people can process their fear
and despair together.
- We use domination and control sparingly and wisely and clean
up the resulting messes.
- We try to use "power-with" early and wisely enough
to make "power-over" unnecessary.
- We create communities of people who understand and use co-intelligence.
- We try to embrace and integrate multiple viewpoints, multiple
intelligences, big-picture perspectives and long-term vision.
- We clarify for people the difference between conscious and
- We help people tap into their own values and goals.
- We promote and use power equity, power decentralization,
answerability to stakeholders, power balance, and/or conversion
from power-over to power-with wherever appropriate.
- We advocate restructuring our educational system to develop
- We ground ourselves and others in the inclusive embrace of
Gaia, our humanity, our deepest spiritual natures and in fellowships
of universal crisis, hope and transformation.
- We keep ourselves open to appropriate change and evolution.
- We channel our growth towards greater flexibility and openness.
- We try to generate experiences that are readily understood
and embraced by others, unless challenge will stimulate conscious
Notes on positive, co-intelligent social change actions
We are agents of positive social change (and increase the level
of societal intelligence) whenever we:
- reduce power imbalances
- promote holistic myths, worldviews, understandings, value
- propagate generative* information, images and meanings
through the media and education.
- increase the quantity and quality of dialogue exploring significant
- facilitate the actualization of human potential
- encourage personal spiritual experience
- help free people from poverty (not having enough to meet
their physical needs)
- help free people from addictions (including addiction to
- consciously help process the content of group fields and
the collective unconscious
- increase understanding and positive relationship to
the unknown. Positive relationships with the unknown include
curiousity, humility, openness, tolerance for ambiguity and paradox,
and respect for the ultimate Mystery.
- facilitate synergistic (complementary or cooperative) relationships
among people, among groups and organizations, between humans
and nature, between various academic disciplines and methodologies,
increase people's (and groups') awareness of their role in larger
contexts, and help them play that role more consciously
- engage all stakeholders in decisions which will affect them
- increase the number of feedback loops in any and all human
- make positive use of both unity and diversity, uniqueness
- establish or change social infrastructure (the physical and
institutional arrangements within which people operate) to facilitate
self-actualization and positive interactivity
- monitor the amount and kind of openness/closedness, order/disorder,
disturbance/comfort and unpredictability/predictability to encourage
high levels of personal and collective vitality
- evoke and process latent or emerging tendencies, both "good"
and "bad" (rather than suppressing or ignoring them)
- move individuals, groups, organizations and communities away
from old, dysfunctional patterns of thought, feeling and behavior
toward new, more functional patterns. This begins with awareness
of the need for change and culminates in appropriate transformation.
- create opportunities or establish facilities for conscious
- create or propagate technologies (from telecommunications
to composting, from healing techniques to group processes) that
facilitate any of the above functions
- provide entertainment and fun activities that serve any of
the above functions.
* Things are "generative" when they stimulate positive
awareness, change or activity.
Some possible characteristics of a co-intelligent society
(to guide our social change efforts)
- Social institutions support people's commitment to lifelong
learning, self-actualization and wholeness.
- People give very high priority to increasing synergy in relationships
among themselves, among groups, and between human and natural
- Dialogue and a spirit of co-creative inquiry permeate the
- Most social power is exercised collaboratively to pursue
shared goals. Some delegated power is exercised as an intrinsically
rewarding form of service by those competent and interested in
various areas of responsiblity. Control-oriented "power-over"
is rare and fully answerable to the community of stakeholders
involved and concentrates on generating peer participation by
those stakeholders (which then becomes collaborative power).
Special attention is paid to "metabolizing" (processing
into useful form) the negative residues left in the wake of domination.
[Note: Everything said here about power applies equally to leadership,
technology and media, where power resides.]
- The whole population shares a basic understanding of living
systems, natural cycles, feedback loops, and the role that individuals
play in the well-being and conscious evolution of the communities
- Sufficient high quality, generative information is available
to those who need or want it, and that information evolves into
- A facilitative, conflict-metabolizing meta-culture embraces
a network of multi-cultural societies who nurture, respect and
enjoy their diversity and continually harvest its social treasures.
Diversity of age, color, sex, belief, style, opinion, behavior,
etc., are encouraged.
- In education, politics and everyday life, people honor the
many forms of caring, intelligence and creative engagement -
from logic to dance, from engineering to dreaming. The unique
powers and limits of each form are understood and their complementary
contributions are integrated into the life and wisdom of the
- Explicit means exist - such as art, surveys, statistics,
stories, electronic media and, above all, public discourse -
for the collective self to reflect on its own state and circumstances,
to process what it finds, and to adjust what it finds unsatisfactory.
Well-thought-out success criteria let people know how the culture
is doing in living its values, and guide people in evolving both
their culture and their values.