Harnessing our power

Yesterday's Daily Pickings traced the evolution of Critical Thinking's research and analysis of political economy, referring to the concept of collective intelligence. What can be easily "lost" or ignored is the significance of our process and the potential for humanity. It is the extraordinary phenomenon of the power of the non-hierarchical collective. As the study quoted yesterday shows, working non-hierarchically multiplies our creative power geometrically whereas hierarchy creates division and conflict resulting in negative, destructive power.


The study quoted yesterday shows that a competitive, unharmonious group (typical of hierarchy where discontent and fear are the norm rather than the exception) reduces the social intelligence of the group below that of the most intelligent member which is why we end up with the "madness of crowds" - people following blindly.

To exercise our collective power, we need to unlearn all we think we know, reject authority and work with others, similarly motivated, to learn how the world works. Diversity is key; we need to work with people who have different experiences and perceptions of the world - we mustn't stick to our own "tribe" but learn from and work with the "other", ie. those we don't know as well as those within our families and communities.

Frederic Laloux's work suggests we need to adhere to three guiding principles:

Self-organise - reject permanent hierarchy but facilitate fluid, flexible, adaptable non-hierarchical structures which encourage everyone within the group to explore their potential and be heard. That's not to say there is no leadership but that "leaders" emerge to meet specific challenges but only for so long as the challenges persist and even then, leadership can shift among the group.

Wholeness - be open and candid without being aggressive or discourteous; bring your "whole being" to the group; be present and receptive to everyone.

Evolutionary purpose - when starting out on this journey of discovery, your shared preliminary motivation will suffice but as knowledge and understanding increases, don't stick rigidly to your original goals but adapt your aims in the light of revealed understanding.

How can we be so dumb as to think any one person or group of individuals within an hierarchical institution can know better than the collective intelligence of mankind? Together, we can tap into the wisdom of the non-hierarchical crowd, ie. humanity.

We only have to shed our illusions and choose to do so.

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