The response-ability of the practitioners

Reflections on global good news, bad news and the response-ability of the collective wisdom and intelligence fields to both
The good news
Who would have thought that the threat of nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States will give rise to humankind’s most powerful force of production, the Internet, and that a humble initiative of cooperation between a small group scientists will give birth to our global brain, the Web? Yet, that’s exactly what happened, creating a potential for our species to evolve towards a civilization of higher complexity, deeper differentiation ad integration, and more compassion and solidarity in action. Here are some of the good news:

  • An increasing number of business leaders believe on the triple bottom-line of people-planet-profit and act on that belief. They are still a minority but it’s rapidly growing and becoming more visible as executives from some of the world’s largest companies join their rank.
  • The current issue of What Is Enlightenment? magazine is talking about the recently held “Whole Systems Change Summit, an international group of leading-edge business consultants and evolutionary thinkers.” The whole issue is full of great stories of evolutionary leaders working in and with businesses to trigger and sustain systemic transformation. Get a glimpse of it here: here.
  • Online social networks gives anyone with a computer the possibility to rapidly develop new knowledge and form communities with others who share their interest, practices, or vision.
  • The Global Leadership Initiative is addressing global challenges and launching ten international Leadership Labs on critical issues like AIDS, water, malnutrition, sustainable food production, and climate change.
  • The open source movement, in which free agents are gifting their collaborative networks–and millions of users worldwide–with the fruits of their combined work for free, is a massive embodiment of a new, “work as play” ethic. The area of this vast social movement is expanding from software development to education, journalism, and many areas of social life. In the process, it is growing the global commons, the huge collection of free resources of all kind created by the people, for the people.
  • A leading learning theorist, Etienne Wenger, has observed “horizontalization” as an emergent trend, in which “learning is best understood as an interaction among practitioners, rather than a process in which a producer provides knowledge to a consumer.” See:
  • There’s a rapid emergence of a new generation of more capable web browsers, co-authoring and publishing tools, free telephony, photo-blogging, video-chat, etc. Their portent reaches way beyond mere technological innovation; they open new, powerful ways to relationships, social self-organization, and coordinating action. They are opening floodgates of co-creativity in groups from very small to very large. They are fueling the upward movement of the evolutionary double helix of autonomy and community.
    All this is only a small fraction of what I can see from my window on the world and doesn’t reflect all the signs of the Emerging Planetary Reality that you know of. No doubt, they will create new possibilities for people and communities to build a future valuable by all. I expect the most surprising possibilities to born not from any one of them but from their cross-fertilization. How much of those possibilities will be realized and how soon, is a question of the pace by which our consciousness will evolve, individual and collective.
    The bad news
    All of the good news doesn’t seem to fill the increasing gap between the dominant, hierarchy-based operating models and what Jean-François Rischard, the World Bank’s Vice President for Europe, described as the following 20 global problems:
    Sharing our planet: Issues involving the global commons
  • Global warming
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem losses
  • Fisheries depletion
  • Deforestation
  • Water deficits
  • Maritime safety and pollution
    Sharing our humanity: Issues requiring global commitment
  • Massive step-up in the fight against poverty
  • Peacekeeping, conflict prevention, combating terrorism
  • Education for all
  • Global infectious diseases
  • Digital divide
  • Natural disaster prevention and mitigation
    Sharing our rule book: Issues needing a global regulatory approach
  • Reinventing taxation for the 21st century
  • Biotechnology rules
  • Global financial architecture
  • Illegal drugs
  • Trade, investment and competition rules
  • Intellectual property rights
  • E-commerce rules
    Source: High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them.
    The same way as the cross-impact of life-affirming, positive trends create the best hope for large-scale transformation; the cross-impact of the problem trends create the biggest threats to our survival. Who will win the race, evolution or devolution? It depends on each of us, on our response-ability, compassion, and capacity to manage the complexity of both humankind’s epochal opportunities and dangers.
    Who are the CW/CI practitioners
    All humans can choose to respond to the evolutionary impulse or not, but when the main challenge is the “galloping complexity multiplied by urgency” (Doug Engelbart), then there’s one group that has some additional responsibility. Just in time for the rendezvous with our unprecedented crises/opportunities, a new breed of professionals is emerging: women and men dedicated to awaken our collective wisdom (CW) and boost our collective intelligence (CI).
    CW/CI practitioners are coming from professions as divers as academics, movement organizers, spiritual guides, software developers, NGO leaders, business consultants, statistical analysts, etc. They belong to different scientific, spiritual, and social change-oriented communities of practice, yet with something in common. It is their common response-ability to make the CW/CI field visible to itself, which depends on their willingness to look beyond the specific tools and approaches they’ve developed and actively appreciate the contribution of each “tribe” to the whole field. Only then will they be able to effectively use their own medicine for boosting the collective intelligence of the global CI community.
    Why is that important ? The increasing visibility of the field to itself would add momentum to how far and how fast the best CI practices spread across organizations, communities, and our global society. In turn, that “how far and how fast” may well be a decisive factor in the race between the planetary “good news” and “bad news”.
    I’m one of those practitioners and when I started this blog, I hoped it will make a small contribution to the field becoming visible to itself. Well, according to Google, as of today, there are 728 webpages linking to the Blog of CI that has a few hundred regular readers and about 60 people who post comments from time to time. Yet, it seems we need much more to realize the full potential of what CW and CI can contribute to solve global problems than a couple of websites dedicated to those fields. The CW community has a rich history of collaboration, but the field of CI is still waiting for getting the same level of shared attention from its practitioners.
    Shall we step up to our historic task? Shall we meet and start sensing and mapping the field? Shall we share our learning edge with each other? Shall we attend our collective, deep intuition and ask for guidance about what is needed next? What prevents us from that? Is it the discipline needed to engage in the shared practices of the field’s self-organization?
    When I asked RainbowHawk, a wise man of the Earthwisdom traditions, about where I can find the discipline I need for my Medicine Way practices, his response was: “In this tradition, it’s not a question of discipline but how much love you have for Mother Life to offer Her your practice as gift.” May RainbowHawk’s wisdom illuminate our way to fostering synergy among all CI approaches to the benefit of the Whole.
    Look at Earthrising below:
    Someday, I will share with you the story of how that picture started gaining significance for me, in the early 90’s. For now, just look at the shimmering at the edges of white-orange-bluish stripe. Isn’t it as if the light was oscillating between two possibilities, disappearing, getting absorbed back into the darkness, or a gradual widening to the dawn of the new day? I imagine, when the first millions of people step through the crack of the dawn, it will gradually widen, become more and more visible and accessible to even more to come. The response-ability of CW/CI practitioners can play a significant role in that widening.
    If that image resonates with you, please comment below. (Your comment will be posted within a few hours.) Here’s a practice for those wanting to engage in this conversation from a deeper/higher place than the intellect. Before posting a comment, use your favorite method to get into a deeply relaxed inner space, then let come any image, dream, or symbol that can inform us about the task ahead. If words are not enough to describe it, email me the .jpg file with your commentary and I will post it with your name, in a new blog entry. Looking forward to hear from you all. george at Community-Intelligence dot com.

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    3 Responses to The response-ability of the practitioners

    1. pad says:

      Thanks George .
      The world is way different nowadays .
      Yet so much the same .
      To help us wonder what may lay ahead .
      We wonder together with eyes all round the circle .
      Then the circle blooms as a sphere .
      Then spins, colours and grows .
      Heaps of jpg’s have meaning to us .
      Some are deeply personal and attach to a lucid moment in time .
      Others connect and collect to correct as a current view in multifacet before returning to a unitary meaning .
      Phi distills to Pi and rests in i.
      ps I’d attach a jpg that you may enjoy yet the technology excapes me for now … simple instructions can help.


    2. Adam Eason says:

      The Global Network

      One of many fascinating articles that I read at collective Intelliegnce blog this morning stated something that resonated with me; …


    3. Ben W says:

      To who-ever cares to read:
      I would like to express my gratification that there are others who are percolating out of the wood-work with this same world-view.
      Over the past few years, I have been mulling over my own ideas of what the information age really is and means, and I have to say that “media-age” seems more appropriate. A collective intelligence on a global scale would seem to be immerging, but remains frighteningly insectoid and probably still along the lines of multiple intelligences only tenusously interacting through the pressure of contact.
      We should be looking to the application of cognitive science, mathematics, linguistics, and social psychology to the shaping of our group decision making abilities. I would like to encourage the readers of this forum to become aware of the work of George Lakoff at UC-Berkeley / the Rockridge Institute who has an excellent set of ideas on metaphors which could be quite useful if they were better grounded in set-theory, and Edward Bernays who developed much of the current media propoganda principles in use today.
      My [and by extension humanity’s :-)]hope is that under proper guidence by CI/CW, the web, broadcast, paper, and public media forums can slowly build a collective mind with the sense to act in long term self interest and for the stewardship of life. I beleive there are many more people interested and willing to take on this field than the number of hits on this page or as indicated by the rarity of social-intelligence as a topic in the media. People who want to promote these ideas must work on building networks between ourselves and by making it of interest to others. Our social capacity to transmit information is fantastic in this age, but to transmit accuractely and efficiently across a network of 6 to 7 billion nodes… that’s going to require some work on our part. Best wishes to all of you who also enjoy the progress of a more evolved communication!


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