As suggested by George Por in his entry about intersubjectivity and collective objectivity,
approaches such as Andrew Cohen’s remarkable enlightened communication constitute leading-edge work in group-level “collective objectivity”.
However, our global predicament and democratic sensibilities call us to translate this capacity for collective objectivity into our political/governmental institutions in ways that actually enable us to collectively address our growing collective problems well. For this task we need to know more than powerful in-group processes that deepen the consciousness of participants. We need further explorations to clarify ways to do at least the following (and probably more) in ways that can enhance a group’s collective objectivity and channel it into service of the whole society:
a) Gather information from outside the group. An enlightened being or group may yet be unconscious of a genetically engineered bacteria that could wipe out civilization or of the geochemical dynamics of accelerating climate change or of social innovations that could address such things. What forms of information-gathering and -sharing can inform [what kinds of] collectively intelligent groups to generate collective wisdom — wisdom that is thereby informed by encountering the Big Picture both from within and without? The use of experts, balanced briefing materials, web searches, and more advanced forms of informational collective intelligence (e.g., Doug Englebart’s dreams) are all grist for this mill.
b) Ensure that any group-developed wisdom actually influences the world beyond the group. This could be accomplished through a wide variety of approaches, among them:
* selecting leaders as group members so that THEY carry their new understandings out into their networks (this may be the least democratic, but it also may be efficient in the short run to buy more time for more participatory or systemic approaches) — and in this case the choice of leaders is significant;
* selecting ordinary citizens — a microcosm of the community or country — as members and then widely publicizing their conversations and recommendations — or even institutionalizing this as a regular process so that everyone in the society habitually looks to such citizen deliberative activities for guidance;
* tying the decisions of such a group directly into official decision-making processes (e.g., legislators must abide by the decision or explain why… or the recommendations go to a direct vote of the citizenry… or…)
As we discover and advance the possibilities for intersubjectivity and collective objectivity we must not let these become merely psychospiritual phenomena to be consumed by those seeking a group high. If we are to save our species and catalyze civilizational transformation, we must invest our creativity in carrying these co-intelligent phenomena out into the political, governmental, and economic realms in ways that actually impact actual decisions and mass behaviors in positive ways.