Evolving Collective Intelligence by Tom Atlee

Exploring how to generate the collective wisdom we need

Exploring how to generate the collective wisdom we need

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Candida International

What Does MHRA Stand For??

Bono and Bush Party without Koch: AIDS Industry Makes a Mockery of Medical Science

Profit as Usual and to Hell with the Risks: Media Urge that Young Girls Receive Mandatory Cervical Cancer Vaccine


Health Supreme

Multiple sclerosis is Lyme disease: Anatomy of a cover-up

Chromotherapy in Cancer

Inclined Bed Therapy: Tilt your bed for healthful sleep


Share The Wealth

Artificial Water Fluoridation: Off To A Poor Start / Fluoride Injures The Newborn

Drinking Water Fluoridation is Genotoxic & Teratogenic

Democracy At Work? - PPM On Fluoride

"Evidence Be Damned...Patient Outcome Is Irrelevant" - From Helke

Why Remove Fluoride From Phosphate Rock To Make Fertilizer



Islanda, quando il popolo sconfigge l'economia globale.

Il Giorno Fuori dal Tempo, Il significato energetico del 25 luglio

Rinaldo Lampis: L'uso Cosciente delle Energie

Attivazione nei Colli Euganei (PD) della Piramide di Luce

Contatti con gli Abitanti Invisibili della Natura


Diary of a Knowledge Broker

Giving It Away, Making Money

Greenhouses That Change the World

Cycles of Communication and Collaboration

What Is an "Integrated Solution"?

Thoughts about Value-Add

February 13, 2005

How can Society Learn Wisdom from Crises?

"How Mankind is Sleepwalking to the End of the
is one of a series of articles coming out of a major
climate change conference in the UK. The conference is publicizing
'state of the art' climate change science and what it has to teach us
about our lives and our futures. Are we able to collectively learn?

Additional reports are available at the NHNE Climate Change Reference
, including:


By Michael McCarthy
The Independent
February 3, 2005


By Michael McCarthy
The Independent / New Zealand Herald
February 4, 2005


By Peter Calamai
The Toronto Star
February 5, 2005

The perspective of co-intelligence suggests it is important to
reflect on why our societies are so slow to respond to threats like
this. We need to not only address these threats directly, but to
delve behind them into the systems that allow, encourage and produce
them. We need to discern the dynamics that produce so many threats
of such great scope and power so rapidly -- and, perhaps even more
important, the dynamics that make our collective response so
inadequate. Why is it so hard for us to collectively learn from our
collective experience?

Surely, factors like our consumerist economy, corporate power, and
manipulation of the press and politics by special-interests all play
major and interlocking roles.

So does our 10,000 year old biological equipment for perceiving,
thinking about and responding to a local, natural world that most of
us no longer live in (see NEW WORLD NEW MIND by Robert Ornstein and
Paul Ehrlich). Our personal cognitive equipment -- our brains,
senses, nervous systems, etc. -- are simply not built to grasp things
like radiation, nanobots, climate change, aquifer exhaustion,
pollutants, systemic overshoot, complex technologies, or billions of

Furthermore, our powerful scientific method is DESIGNED to be out of
context: "Controlled experiments" exclude all factors but one, so as
to identify a single linear cause that can be engineered to create a
specific result out in the world (as well as other results, which we
downplay by calling them "side effects"). But the world is not a
controlled experiment. It is a complex and very nonlinear weave of
causes and effects. Climate change doesn't happen in a laboratory,
and it isn't a side-effect. It happens in the world, it is a real
effect, and we caused it -- and are causing it every day.

Corporations, science, PR, partisan politics, money-measured
economics (e.g., Gross Domestic Product) -- all these institutions
tend to "externalize costs" -- to make someone else pay for the
problems they create. More often than not, they act as if the
downside of their activities is not real, is not worthy of attention,
is thoroughly ignorable -- or, at least, is none of their business.
Thus it takes tremendous work to tease out the dark side, the down
side, the problems that roll downhill into our lives, where we
wander, confused about where it all came from.

All these factors -- and more -- add up to a dominant reality of our
times: Our personal and social powers and limitations are producing
effects in the world far beyond our ability to collectively and
wisely deal with those effects. We lack the kinds of collective
intelligence and wisdom that would make sane, timely decisions a
natural part of our civilization.

I believe it behooves us to do what we can to enhance that capacity,
in all its forms. For more information on this see
Collective Intelligence and The Collective Wisdom Initiative.

The challenge is daunting. But the possibiities are endless and the
potential rewards unprecedented. We have the basic tools we need.
Now we just need to create together exciting innovations and committed
networks capable of carrying us through the coming rapids with flying colors
into a more peaceful, just, sustainable and wise civilization.



posted by Tom Atlee on Sunday February 13 2005
updated on Saturday September 24 2005

URL of this article:




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Reflections on the evolution of choice and collective intelligence
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Whole System Learning and Evolution -- and the New Journalism
A few days ago I stumbled on a new model for whole-system intelligence inspired by some work my friend Peggy Holman is doing with Journalism that Matters. These journalists are reexamining the kinds of stories they tell and their role in democracy, especially in light of how the rise of bloggers and other citizen journalists challenges mainstream media. Journalism that Matters is trying to revision that challenge into a create... [read more]
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Gathering storms of unwanted change
In addition to its immediate relevance for our personal behaviors and health and as a public health issue, this report from The Ecologist on "The Gathering Brainstorm" of damaging Wi-Fi impacts, includes the sentence "The technology is now moving far faster than it can be tested or regulated." This is one of the rare occasions of a specific reference to a phenomenon that really concerns me:... [read more]
April 27, 2008 - Tom Atlee


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