By the Light of Collective Intelligence

By the Light of Collective Intelligence

Much depends on the strength of the lantern we hold up to see where we are, our surroundings and the possible paths through the deep woods around us. A dim lantern won’t shine deep into the dark. It won’t clarify the looming shadows.

How do we make our lantern burn brighter and more stable, since all else will follow it?

“What makes lanterns burn bright is their connection to other lanterns. What makes intelligence come into its own is being directly connected to other intelligences.”

The answer is: We combine it with other lanterns.

This is not additive mathematics, one plus one plus one. No.

The light that helps you see what you need to see is the light that’s more than the sum of the parts.

This light is an exact parallel with collective intelligence – an intelligence that’s more than the sum of the individual intelligences that make it up. The concept of more than the sum of the parts doesn’t make mathematical sense. The concept doesn’t help you feel that extra quality, a kind of pre-existing Presence that you hadn’t noticed until now.

What makes lanterns burn bright is their connection to other lanterns. What makes intelligence come into its own is being directly connected to other intelligences. This is a felt experience, immediate as a kiss. It’s an actual connection, not a concept.  

Connection, my friends, connection. ​​Being right or being wrong, and all the other ways we make differences between us matter more than connection, matter not. They smoke up the glass on the lanterns. ​

Though it seems counterintuitive, knowing other’s opinions on important issues doesn’t make the lantern light stronger either. Being curious about the people who hold the opinions, being interested in their lives, makes it burn brighter. But opinions, not. (I don’t mean that opinions don’t have a place but that they’re a function of connection or common illumination. Without connection they’re divisive.)

This is the time for lanterns, illuminants out there in the darkness finding the way.

I think this process is well alive in the world. An ​brightening is happening and available for those who earnestly join with others in pursuit of the common good.

Or so it seems to me. Take a moment and tell us what you think.

More Connection, Less Analysis?

More Connection, Less Analysis?

In challenging times like this, we need rich mutual connection at least as much as analysis.

Analysis is interesting but not powerful. Connection shows us what’s possible – possible for us personally and together. We need participation more than greater ideological clarification and purity. We need to hear and be heard, to build ideas together. It helps greatly to feel part of something bigger than ourselves.

I’m starting a free bi-weekly small groupto do this Collective SenseMaking starting November 11.  Call it Final Participation More below. Check if you’d like to join in.

Often we relegate the entire psycho-spiritual side of ourselves to our private meditations. It’s a cultural norm. The benefit of spiritual and human connection is much amplified when it’s brought out into the open in a shared spirit of collaboration. .

Again heartfelt connection is more beneficial for us, individually and collectively, than more refining of our ideological purity. 

Connection includes the recognition that we’re in this together. 

There’s  a price for thinking someone’s not in it with us. They feel we’re not in it with them. We miss the good and necessary things that come from mutual connection and support. Disconnection means that advantageous things fail to happen and pass by unnoticed. Disconnection is a symptom of the breakdown of community and it’s community that’s supports us.

 “When you break up the individuals from a community into individual units, they become disempowered because it’s the collective consciousness and the collective energy of the group from which power comes.”  – Bruce Lipton

We’re a long way from community at present. I often am! We’re a little like plants growing in an impoverished soil. The important community nutrients are not in wild abundance.

The strong emphasis that we place on the correct analysis of what’s happening in the world around us – the vaccines and passports, the Great Reset, corruption and deception – all these tend to reinforce a sense of scarcity and alarm. The resulting effects on the individual and the community promote a Pre-traumatic Stress Disorder I don’t mean that we’re helpless before it, only that there’s a pressure in that direction that the less well resourced among us are vulnerable to. Social distancing on the street, persistent isolation, long-term fear and alarm, concern over livelihood, anticipation of worsening future are all part of a common pattern. They weaken and threaten the social bonds of connection.

It becomes harder to connect to the deeper meaning of our lives, the potentially limitless spiritual reserves that surround us and the human community. Hope dims at moments and we can’t see it. Connection is stretched. When we try and reach out to another it may not be well received, not because the impulse wasn’t good but because the sense of disconnection was stronger than the reach in that moment.

A powerful antidote is what can happen in small groups – the being-together, the synchronicity, the surprise. Pre-Covid I hosted hundreds of hours of zoom calls, often with my friend Vihra Dincheva, to explore the mysterious more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts thing that’s been so valuable. When Covid struck, I keenly felt the intrusion of an alien and socially disruptive force in the collective social field. My sensitive BS antennae were abuzz and they still are. 

It feels important to plant new small group seeds now. What’s possible for us, individually and collectively? 

I invite you to  

Final Participation

No promises in this experiment. Sometimes it’s gold and sometimes tin but I welcome you to come on in!

​Thursday, November 11th at 11am Eastern time (4pm UK etc.)

Final Paticipation

Conversation time is  Come join in – register here! .Andrew

The Movement of Movements

The Movement of Movements

Ben Roberts over at Movement Weavers used this phrase today, the movement of movements. It felt like “of course,” as if I both knew it and didn’t. I looked it up quickly and see that it refers to the Social Justice Movement – at least that’s where Wikipedia roots it. But movement of movements aptly describes what many of us are interested in, which includes but is broader than SJ movements.

The “movement of movements” brings a mental picture of many disparate attempts in the same direction. My visual is a million small creatures trying to find their  way out of a hole by all manner of different methods – ladders, climbing on each other, pole vaulting. I know! Crazy but a little like how I see my own labors and that of many of my friends. We’re continually reaching out for something bigger than us that we can’t quite grasp yet – that perhaps isn’t even graspable in the usual sense. Reaching into the unknown which maybe is reaching for us.

But what’s pushing us? What’s driving this? Among the many descriptions of this, all true in their own way, is that of an evolutionary impulse. That’s Andrew Cohen’s phrase, and perhaps others, for the intrinsic quality of spirit or evolution to move toward higher, more unified order of life and consciousness. It’s a way of saying that by whatever name, life itself has an innate drive. And one of the thing that that drive is continually doing is networking. The movement of movements is spontaneously networking.

A more embodied form of that spiritual evolutionary impulse is the mysterious “kundalini” famed in esoteric lore (and the practical experience of many). Kundalini is a name for the distilled and concentrated inner force of life and consciousness that flows and courses through the body as a result of an awakening experience. It’s beyond control and courses through the body like a little lamplighter turning everything on as it moves through the “streets” of the city. It seems to know just what to do. Of course, every part of our body system knows what to do: Cuts heal, food is digested, thoughts get thunk and our tongues and mouths know how to say things we never even imagined we were going to say.

In the social body there’s a force in operation that’s behind our social experiments, weaving together each one of us that’s part of them  in an emergingly  intelligent manner. Our multitudinous individual experiments cooperate with that force automatically. We don’t even have to think about it.

It’s good to jump in and do something in the service of that impulse, to risk making a mistake. The networking nature of it all will tend to correct us. It’s staying apart and isolated from the movement of movements that keeps us in a seeming dead end.



Changemakers, you are not alone!

This morning my friend C told me what was on her mind a lot during a recent weeklong workshop she co-presented: How do I bring my authentic voice here without alienating the others? While still belonging, in other words. Authentic voice vs belonging was her theme!

An artist friend in the same conversation spoke on this too. He said that he struggles daily with being an artist in a small town that’s all about maintaining its small town values, its strict rules for behavior. Adding to his pressure, he has a daughter that’s rigorously conservative and wants to make her mark in the mainstream. She’s turned her back, at least for now, on any sense of alternativeness so she can make her mainstream dream happen.

I liked hearing these perspectives because I struggle myself with having an interest range and point of view that is not at all orthodox. They reminded me that this is just part of the times we’re in. It’s not personal, it’s not about us. It’s every changemaker!

It’s as if you’re painting a landscape and it’s going beautifully. The colors, the whole, are harmonizing and blending together . . . but there’s this “other thing.” creeping into the painting. It’s colorful and ungainly and seems not to fit. That other thing seems like an anomaly, a square peg in a round whole.

That’s you wrecking the established order of things with your desire to serve the emerging new! How dare you!

A whole lot of what needs to be said and done right now doesn’t fit the social pattern for what’s acceptable. But nothing is more important than that it gets said and done anyway. The interesting things to say and do – and probably that you want to say and do – are outside the mainstream culture which mostly doesn’t want to hear.

We wander in a cultural mindset that it’s difficult to step outside of, even if we see it cognitively. Even with a lot of awareness we too can’t easily step away because our jobs and our perceived success, value and prosperity all depend on it.

Or at least we think they do! It’s a mindset after all. The fight for the future is very much a fight for a mind and a voice that can speak to all of this.