New FAQ 5: Spirit, Holistic Intelligence and CII

In this post you will find our new co-intelligence FAQ’s answers to the following four questions:

  • Is co-intelligence the intelligence of God or Spirit?
  • What is holistic intelligence?
  • How does all this fit together?
  • What is the Co-Intelligence Institute?

The full FAQ is now posted at

The FAQ below on “Holistic Intelligence” briefly describes the universal dynamics underlying the functioning of co-intelligence in human affairs and links to a major new essay on the subject.

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The new co-intelligence FAQ answers all of the twenty questions below. The questions in bold below are answered in this post.

What is intelligence?
What is co-intelligence?
How is co-intelligence a bigger form of intelligence?
What is a bigger picture perspective and what are bigger picture outcomes?

What helps people make co-intelligence happen?
Isn’t co-intelligence just collaboration?
What’s the difference between co-intelligence and collective intelligence?
What is co-stupidity?
What causes people and groups to be co-stupid?

Is co-intelligence an experience?
Can individuals be co-intelligent, or just groups?
Is co-intelligence a method?

Isn’t co-intelligence already happening in lots of places?
What is the co-intelligence worldview?
What does co-intelligence have to do with democracy?
What value do the co-intelligence worldview and co-intelligence capacities add to human life?

Is co-intelligence the intelligence of God or Spirit?
What is holistic intelligence?
How does all this fit together?
What is the Co-Intelligence Institute?


If you are a spiritual person, you may well see spiritual dimensions to co-intelligence, which is very understandable. At the same time, it is no more necessary to think of co-intelligence in spiritual terms than it is to think of healing, mediation or facilitation in spiritual terms, even though many practitioners of those arts do so.

What you are probably thinking of with this question is closely related to the recognized manifestation of co-intelligence referred to as “universal intelligence” (which covers all intelligences beyond the usual human forms) and to the broader intelligence underlying co-intelligence – a phenomenon known as “holistic intelligence”.


Holistic intelligence involves the evolutionary dynamism that we find in all domains and at all levels, thanks to the holistic, interrelated nature of reality. Co-intelligence – a subset of holistic intelligence – focuses on the human manifestations of that dynamic, and our conscious use of it.

An example of holistic intelligence is the tendency of any living or life-like system, when disturbed, to seek to reestablish or renew its former state or to transform itself into something new that has more integrity or utility under the circumstances. We can observe this tendency in how forces involved with a disturbed forest, species, person, mechanism or idea act to reestablish its prior order or to stimulate a new form to emerge (including even the entity’s breakdown into components useful elsewhere).

When we’re dealing with this dynamic in human affairs – in groups, organizations, communities, or societies – we find problems, conflicts and dysfunctions calling forth energies seeking solutions, resolution, organizational or social change, and so on. In other words, we find some degree of co-intelligence at work seeking to promote fruitful harmony.

In both cases, we are observing impulses for more healthy integrity, functionality and contextual “fitness” – which are all manifestations of a whole trying to regain its wholesome nature after a disturbance.

Holistic intelligence be viewed as the intelligence of The Whole of Reality or as a transcendent Intelligence that shapes reality. Although this perspective is not necessary for understanding holistic intelligence, for many people it is thoroughly descriptive and spiritually meaningful.

Studying the general principles of holistic intelligence brings to light subtle dynamics that underlie many manifestations of co-intelligence and thus can increase your mastery of the subject. Yet you don’t have to know anything at all about holistic intelligence to study and work competently with co-intelligence.

For further information see Holistic Intelligence.


Co-intelligence is a bigger-picture intelligence phenomenon
generated by a bigger-picture intelligence capacity
which is influenced by conditions and methods
whose applied principles are studied in a field
– all of which is made possible by a worldview
(supported by the underlying metaphysics of holistic intelligence)
which enables people to discern and promote the presence and dynamics of the phenomenon….


The Co-Intelligence Institute (CII) is a non-profit research and public service organization founded in 1996 by Tom Atlee and Karen Mercer to encourage increased understanding and application of co-intelligence – as a capacity, a worldview, and a field of study, knowledge and practice.

Through research, networking, publications, advocacy, and project work, the CII seeks to enhance society’s capacity to successfully meet the challenges we collectively face in ways that produce a sustainable, just, and responsible civilization that provides a high quality of life for all who live within and around it.

Contributions to our work and participation in our networks and in our upcoming community of practice are warmly welcomed.

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