What is Collective IQ and why is it Relevant?


Years back I had a chance to come across the idea of Collective IQ. Many progressives are concerned with the lack of wisdom and foresight in terms of how society or societies make decisions in the modern world. During this time I met Bill Veltrop who came up with a game called The Infinite Game – a game of possibility and potential.

More recently a colleague Mark Roest reminded me of the above by linking me to a post by George Por titled “On the way to conscious humanity: the infinite game of regional metamorphosis.”

Below are some comments I made to the post which reflected my sentiments at the time:

What I suggest is that one consider that a game that gives people a real world sense of how to apply collective IQ to the field – that is what is needed. For example I came to Arcosanti years ago after school in search of an alternative to the rat race but instead I found a mutant variant of the very mentality I sought refuge from. Yet still I persist in my belief that Arcosanti aspires towards something compelling or at least my interpretation of it and that aspiration somehow relates to CI.

Part of this could be that we need to be more rooted in systems of reevaluation, that not only question and reconsider but also reflect on how to create a new model. Of course that is not good enough because we need centers for innovation in which this concept of CI can be tested. Ecovillages could be one model and yet I think it still needs a push away from stingy progressive thinking that ends up being a hang up inhibiting real innovation. So really what we have are social barrier that are our own making or at least we reinforce them by our own sub or unconscious behaviors. So what we are really seeking is not the super duper system of managing resources but rather an effective healing process. So how to do? Again my thought is people need healing spaces where things are designed intelligently. Well thought out systems of design and living and production that reflect the values and aspirations of the progressives.

I feel so many of us are addicted to talk because we fear taking risks by actually trying to organize people along these principles and getting stuff done. Recently I saw a great example of collective IQ that is actually doing something. All Power Labs has been able to set up a wiki site about gasification of wood. People can built their own with the open source plans, buy one used via the network, collaborate with the network, buy a kit, buy one complete or hire them as consultants.

What is most significant is that people want to get off the grid and out of the matrix of corporate control. We need more CI than we now see among progressives to do that. One issue is that we are not clear about how to invest effectively in ensuring and securing a future worth living.

Indeed I feel so often we complexify things as humans so much that we lose sight of how to apply the theory into practice. What better case of that than Arcology where the visionary architect Paolo Soleri creatively injects leading edge ideas challenging the status quo into a unique architectural experiment called Arcosanti. In the process the complexity and the fear of collaborators stealing the show (as understandable as that may be) inhibits any real CI towards the realization of this very ambitious vision of a city enclosed within a megastructure.

How can CI be applied as a methodology for global change? How can this address world urgent issues by reversing compelling problems and their interconnected perversity of synthesis that creates the problem matrix which is like a tangled mess of wires all wrapped together tightly into a ball of confusion. It is only a intuitive understanding of CI which leads to wisdom that will enable us to transcend the current reality and expand/evolve to something higher.

So IT can help us to manage the complexity so we need more models of that. They seem to be slow in coming and I would dare to say it has to do with the threat of CI in relation to giving people more power in their lives to make effective and meaningful decisions. Because CI is connected to management of data and the collective decisionmaking process of society that go basically untalked about. These phenomena stay “mystified” with the faulty assumption that they will magically drive and sustain themselves like Smith’s invisible hand of the marketplace – keeping everything in balance. They stay mystified because the public awareness of the truth of their existence challenges the whole order of the global economy and relative handful of people who really control it.

So lets create a wiki that outlines the best of best CI and identifies complementarity in terms of seeking out the best of each lineage of CI to combine as an example and test of CI in action.

Then lets consider options for the modeling of CI that includes games such as the one mentioned and its/their use as a way to help people see the practical importance of CI. Lets also consider how to advance this idea of combining modeling/gaming in the field and using these systems to do real world rapid prototyping on all levels: funding, promoting/social networking, innovation/integration, marketing/sales and replication/scale-out. Lets consider charrettes and how to create centers for innovation by which people who want to be involved in what they focus on can join bother virtually and physically and spiritually to create critical mass.

To close I suggest we consider CI as a toolset or set of approaches that can be applied in the field to promote sustainable development and right livelihood so that people can see how they can work hard and dedicate themselves to something much greater than their own financial affluence or success. Let us envision a global network of sustainable human habitats in which the practice of global healing can be refined so that people see how to apply their psychical energy in the most appropriate and effective way to create the change they desire to see in the world. That is the vision of CI that I believe is needed to reverse current unsustainable patterns and trajectories of modern industrial existence.

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