Posts Tagged 'collaboration'

A Long Affair with Three Big Ideas about Collective Consciousness

In thinking recently about what I like to do and think and talk about – for example, using and creating tools that enhance collective intelligence – I realized that my main interests have been pretty much the same for most of my adult life (about forty-five years) – and most of them were originally inspired by three Big Ideas that I came upon almost immediately after graduating from high school.

Of course my very earliest influences, from floating in the womb to end of high school also immensely affected me.  And my wife, and closest friends and family, and innumerable conversations and journeys have shaped me hugely, as well.  But the three Big Ideas gripped me and still grip me in their own special way.

The three big ideas were inspired and conveyed to me by two people and one group.  One of the people, Teilhard de Chardin, died when I was 7 years old and before I ever heard of him; the other, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a living saint whom I read about and then studied under; and the group was the Ecumenical Institute (EI), and it’s secular arm, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA).

Rob, my older brother and only sibling, introduced Teilhard to me in the summer of 1966 after I graduated from high school.  We had a summer job together in Winfield, Kansas shoveling grain during the wheat harvest.  When not working we would often go to the local library, where he showed me Teilhard’s book, The Phenonmenon of Man.  I have no idea how the little Winfield library happened to have that book (which was first published in English just a few years earlier).  But it did.   The book was densely written for paleontologists, biologists and other scientists, and was not easy to read.  But the ideas had a huge effect on me so I kept reading it here and there for quite a while.

Rob also introduced me to the EI / ICA a couple of years later, during my visits to see him in Chicago where he was interning with them.   And in 1970, after returning from six memorable months in Europe, my closest friends, John and Bev, introduced me to Transcendental Meditation and to Maharishi’s teaching.

So here is a summary of these three great and widely influential ideas that together combine in me to guide what I want most to do and be.  Continue reading ‘A Long Affair with Three Big Ideas about Collective Consciousness’

Insight into Group Consciousness

The Celestine Prophecy (Redfield, 1996) was not a great work of literature, but it contained many good insights (and more than 9).

In 2000 I copied the description below of a group process based on intuitively sensing the flow of energy in a group conversation.   You could also say it’s based on extremely fluid listening, and non-attachment – which are not easy to come by in groups, but which can make any group process much more effective.

The question is, how can this level of group consciousness be developed?  A simple answer is that it can if there is a great deal of motivation on the part of group members, and if at least some of the members can model the method and help coach the others.

Is this really a “method” – or actually a level of collective consciousness that many groups experience, regardless of the particular method or process used?   Which methods are especially good at culturing listening and dropping ego-attachments?

(Excerpt follows from the Celestine Prophecy pp. 214 – 215 – this book is available for “Search Inside” on Amazon)  Continue reading ‘Insight into Group Consciousness’

Training for Focused Conversations and Consensus

For anyone interested in the methods mentioned in the post below, here is info on upcoming training on Focused Conversations and Consensus:

In Brooklyn, NY on May 12-13 (click on “View Schedule to see all places and dates)

In Toronto on July 9-10

Creating wholeness in collaboration.

(Continued from here.)

Feelings are most primal, and hardest to ignore.

They are powerful triggers to action, and also trigger cycles of thinking, interpretation and meaning.  The “most important facts” then become dominated by whatever triggered the most powerful feelings.

Interpretations are heavily influenced by feelings because feelings focus and filter thinking to derive interpretations.  The interpretations also loop back to explain or justify the feelings, and to justify the actions that the person has taken or wants to take.

Feelings are important and have to be recognized and understood.  But feelings shouldn’t dominate thinking and action.

The only way to break the dominance of feelings is to step back and see them in the larger context of a group of people who have different feelings and interpretations about the same set of circumstances – and whose help is needed to create solutions..

The dialogue process intentionally trains participants to both listen to others, and to suspend judgment in order to make listening possible.   When people stay with the process long enough to get the hang of it, the process can present to everyone a bigger whole that no one person was seeing before.

The focused-conversation method has a similar result by taking the whole group through a process of collecting facts, expressing (and listening to) feelings, and stating (and listening to) interpretations before attempting to reach a decision together.   They get to see not only how other people feel about the situation, but also how they are all coming up with different interpretations based on different experiences and knowledge.

David Bohm’s On Dialogue especially explains how the evolution of individual consciousness is closely related and essential to development of collective consciousness. For example, he relates the ability to suspend and step back from ones own feelings and biases to the process of meditation.  Both dialogue and meditation involve a method of suspension (drawing back) to help individuals expand their awareness to greater wholes than they were previously capable of understanding.  The dialogue process trains individuals to think in more expanded ways by suspending personal judgments and getting a taste of the greater whole that comes from multiple perspectives.

Other references:

One of the best books on the practice of dialogue, by William Isaacs.

A pdf and book describing the Focused Conversation method, by Brian Stanfield and ICA Associates.


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