Wholeness, Interconnectedness and CoCreativity

Co-intelligence can be defined as;

The ability to use wholeness, interconnectedness and co-creativity to collaboratively guide the evolving coherence of life and understanding towards greater wholeness, interconnectedness and co-creativity.
To get a better grasp on what this means, let's explore how we would deal with intelligence differently if we took wholeness, interconnectedness and co-creativity seriously.

If we took wholeness seriously...

We'd include more of what was involved -- and more of who was involved -- in any situation we were dealing with. 

We'd try to consider anything that might be relevant, and we'd make sure all stakeholders were involved. 

Ideally, we'd include anything and anyone related to the situation -- as much as we could tolerate. 

Of course we all have our limits, but we'd continually stretch our ability to embrace more and more reality -- more and more viewpoints and approaches and diversity and nuance and complexity. 

We'd want to get a sense of the whole picture -- or as close to it as we could get. 

The experiment in Canada -- in which a dozen extremely diverse citizens thrashed out a powerful consensus vision for their country -- is a good example of this.

We'd recognize there was more to whatever we were dealing with than we could articulate and analyze. 

We'd sense into it, looking for hints of the bigger story, the underlying feelings, the growing edges of the situation, the mystery. 

We'd make sure our intelligence involved more than our own logic and individual smarts -- that it involved things like emotion and intuition and each other -- so we could embrace life more deeply. 

At its best, science is like this -- collegial, passionate, humble, intuitive, awed and curious, as well as rational.

We'd realize there is much more to us -- as whole individuals and groups -- than any particular label, role or aspect of who we are. 

Everyone is bigger than their name or function or our estimation of them, and therefore worthy of respect -- even when we don't like them. 

This is true of every thing, as well. It requires constant vigilance, in my own life, to not slide into judgments and stereotypes so I can really see the unique person or thing before me. 

Practitioners of permaculture (a system of "permanent agriculture") try to design productive ecosystems in which each element -- each animal and plant, each piece of land or water -- performs multiple functions which utilize its unique qualities.

Our feeling and thinking would be broad and deep -- about the long term, about system dynamics, about the oneness of humanity and nature. 

We would, whenever possible, move beyond "either/or logic" and "win/lose conflicts" to explore the larger picture painted by "both/and logic" and "win/win possibilities." 

This long-term, integrative, healing impulse is exemplified in the Native American search for solutions that benefit the seventh generation after them. 

We'd explore the role of circumstances, environment, culture and other contexts as factors influencing outcomes. We'd recognize that taking things out of context is one of the best ways to miss the whole point. 

We see this in our criminal justice system, in which the community takes little or no responsibility for the misdeeds of its members, removing them to isolated cells instead of healing the damaged community with reparations and mutual efforts to help the damage never happen again (as is done in many tribal communities).

We would ground our ideals in wholeness. For example, since the words health, healing, wholesomeness, integrity and holiness (sacredness) all refer to wholeness, we would give these values high priority in our personal, economic and community life. 

The work of people like Gandhi and Rudolph Steiner embody this effort to nurture wholeness at and among every level of life. 

They provided paths to develop whole people who could sustain healthy communities together, with a sense of sacredness, in harmony with nature.

If we took interconnectedness seriously...

We would recognize that we are not alone in the world, but are embedded in human and natural communities.

We share our fate with these communities. Global weather and finance are teaching us this, catastrophe by catastrophe.

We would seek to understand the relationship between people, things, life forms, fields of study, approaches, etc. -- considering the relationships between them as important or more important than their individual characteristics. 

We would use that understanding to establish peer, synergistic relationships wherever we could. More often than not, we'd find that healthy relationships were the solution; and where they weren't, they were powerful resources for finding the solution. 

Individual solutions for addiction, for example, do not succeed as well as solutions that utilize the peer support of recovering addicts collectively.

We would realize the power of shared realities, shared stories, shared experience and the sort of communication systems that support such sharing. 

One of the most powerful techniques for creating bridges between ideological enemies is to have each person share the story of how they came to believe what they believe. Common humanity almost always shines through the differences.

We would appreciate (and use) webs of relationship and system dynamics as major factors in whatever happens, and not focus on trying to control (or blame) individual people, situations, problems, etc. 

Family systems therapists work from this perspective, attending to a family's patterns of interaction.

If we took co-creativity seriously...                           

We would realize that we all have roles in whatever happens. We would try to make our roles more conscious and positive by working together to understand and shape our individual and collective lives. 

This factor showed up in an experiment demonstrating that groups of female executives were better at solving hypothetical wilderness survival problems than groups of male executives.

We would support participatory decision-making, collaborative problem-solving and co-operative activities of all sorts. 

We would support social equity, opportunity and access so that all voices could be heard and all contributions brought to the table. 

We would advocate the sharing of co-created benefits -- and of co-created consequences. Instead of focusing on opponents, we would seek out all actual and potential allies. 

The wiser we were the more successful we'd be at finding and engaging allies. William Ury's and Roger Fisher's Getting to Yes is a classic how-to manual to help those of us in adversarial relationships see each other as allies in meeting our separate and mutual needs. 

We would avoid nailing down blame or isolating single linear causes for any condition or event. 

We would try to understand and address as much as we could of the many causes and fields of influence at work in any situation -- and to get clear on our role in all that, so we could improve it. 

This is very similar to items described under "wholeness" and "interconnectedness," above, which serves to demonstrate how all three of these are facets of one reality.

We would acknowledge the dance of order and chaos which is inherent in a co-created reality (since no one's actually in charge) and learn to let go of attachment, certainty and our need for control. 

In fact, if we were really good, we'd use letting go of control to enhance productive self-organizing systems; we'd use lack of attachment to enhance serenity and responsiveness; we'd use lack of certainty to enhance openness and ability to learn. 

All of this would enhance our ability to co-create as partners with the life around us.

Co-intelligence involves stretching our sense of what's needed, of what's relevant and of who's involved in any given situation. 

It involves stretching in the direction of wholeness, interconnectedness and co-creativity.

The nonprofit Co-Intelligence Institute (CII) promotes awareness of co-intelligence and of the many existing tools and ideas that can be used to increase it. The CII embraces all such ideas and methods, and explores and catalyzes their integrated application to democratic renewal, community problems, organizational transformation, national and global crises and the creation of just, vibrant, sustainable cultures. We research, network, advocate and help organize leading-edge experiments and conversations in order to weave what is possible into new, wiser forms of civilization. The goal of the CII is the conscious evolution of culture in harmony with nature and with the highest human potentials.

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