Is self-awareness a requirement for CI?

In a comment to The emergence of CI, an online experiment, somebody asked this question:
> In other words, is self-awareness a requirement for being a CI?
I choose to respond here, in this entry, as to give more visibility to that question, the importance of which cannot be overestimated.


Self-awareness is definirtely a requirement and antecedent of CI. That’s exactly why I doubt that humans have a lot to learn from the frequently cited “CI” of bee hives, ant colonies, schools of fish, flock of birds, etc. Their coordinative mechanisms are great innovations of natural evolution that we need to study and understand but the quality of CI possible in human communities is quite different from, for instance, the “CI” of social insects. They have consciousness but unlike us, they are not conscious of having consciousness, therefore their available scenarios limited to the ones programmed by nature. We can change our future and that makes all the difference.
The negative impact of limited self-awareness is very visible in the Borg, and in real-life, authoritarian communities. Only evolved human beings who have chosen to realize their highest potential–being free from the limitations imposed by ego–will be capable to reach new peaks of collective intelligence demonstrated by the higher and sustained levels of shared-attention, harmony, joy, integration and collective performance. Personal evolution and collective intelligence are co-arising.

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5 Responses to Is self-awareness a requirement for CI?

  1. siggi says:

    Intuitivly i would say yes there has to be self-awareness. But if, then what sort of phenomenons have we to see or await in a CI-group? What to look out for? Hm.
    What would be the lackmus-test of self-awareness in a entity with collective intelligence?

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  2. Tom Atlee says:

    I wouldn’t want to limit the concept of collective intelligence to what can manifest in a self-aware group, but I agree that self-awareness adds new dimensions and possibilities to the realm of collective intelligence that are otherwise out of reach.
    I’d like to see greater understanding, application, and nuturance of ALL dimensions and types of collective intelligence — even such mundane factors as designing economic measures of success such that the self-organizing market dynamics that get motivated by those measures (and the rewards associated with them) automatically generate outcomes that serve the quality of life of all who live within that economic system. To me, that is as valuable as the magic that emerges from jazz ensembles and collective meditations. ALL of these (and so much more) are part of the emerging “collective intelligence” picture that we are co-discovering/co-creating.

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  3. Peter AD Bennett says:

    “Interesting and stimulating …. quite quickly one can move from self (pointal) to other (linear) to collective (planar) awareness in CI spacegiven that self-awareness is a requirement and maybe a starting point thathumans alone have access to (moot point)… this is just traditional geometry … if one shifts to the eccentric worldview of quantum geometry (http://www.codefun.com/Geometry_quantum.htm)the starting space is planar-awareness and it is only at the third nesting level that self (pointal) awareness becomes apparent and significantly deeper as the trisect of three planes. It may well be worth being eccentric in our CI views so that resistance is less futile. Regards PAD”

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  4. I think I am with Tom on this one. My experience in working with large groups in meaningful process is that the groups and the idividuals in the group can greatly exceed the level of individual awareness in the group. In fact, the group experience often elevates the consciouslness of the individuals involved or gives them a taste of something that stimulates them to seek more. Sometimes people are aware of this and sometimes not.
    I’m a not sure about the relationship between individual awareness of participants and the quality of collective intelligence. I don’t think there is always a parallel relationship in large group process. I would say in small groups, the level of awareness of individuals has a more direct impact.
    One of the reasons I am so greatly attracted to the practice of large group interaction is that I can’t see the world changing much if it has to happen one person at a time. In addition, as mentioned above, the effective large group experience seems to have the ability affect many individuals at an individual level in a positive manner.

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  5. Really good work. I found a lot of profound information which can help me to go on. Thanks for all this input.

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