Moving together in the rapids of change

As we watch some of the strangest, most polarized, and potentially disastrous politics developing in the U.S. and elsewhere, it is clear that the legendary Center is not holding. Chaos theory would say that our cultures and social systems are moving farther “out of equilibrium”.

In such times so-called “butterfly effects” – where small initiatives end up generating surprisingly large effects – become major factors in what happens next. This tells us that in these times ANYTHING could happen next.

The downside of giant butterfly effects playing out in society is that some horrible fringe forces could suddenly dominate. The bright side is that some positive initiatives far from the mainstream could suddenly be recognized as treasures and open up exciting evolutionary possibilities. We have had a foretaste of that dynamic tension in the current US presidential campaigns. But that’s clearly only the beginning.

Democratic systems are supposed to be designed to engage and weave our diverse views and voices into useful guidance for addressing our collective challenges. What we see in the U.S. and most other self-declared democracies nowadays certainly doesn’t look like that!

The Co-Intelligence Institute is working to provide some actionable vision and insight to change that, to make democracy the source of wise collective self-governance and self-organization we urgently need it to be. We at CII think it is our job to shine a very bright light on the ideas, practices, and possibilities that could build a wiser democracy.

During the last eight months we’ve been very busy behind the scenes. I’ll be sharing more about all that during the July/August fundraiser, but here’s some highlights.

I’ve designed several wiser democracy courses and we plan to launch the first pilot within 5-10 weeks. With my Swiss colleague Martin Rausch we’re also fast-tracking a “pattern language” of wiser democracy design principles for public use. And through all that work, we’ve developed a number of new ways for understanding wiser democracies and working with their underlying dynamics. I’ll be sharing the simplest, neatest model with you in my next mailing.

One more highlight I want to share. It is so special! Thanks largely to Rosa Zubizarreta’s skilled hosting and facilitating, we’ve completed a very successful nine-month online mutual support program. A community consisting of sixteen Co-Intelligence Fellows discussed each other’s co-intelligence-related projects in live twice-monthly two-hour videoconference calls. These amazing change agents were profuse in their excitement about what they did and learned together. With support, we hope to replicate and expand this pilot during the coming year… because the “we” who can change things is all of us.

We at CII are doing a lot, and we want to do so much more.

Please join us in taking a good look at the world around us – especially the political scene where major decisions are made, new directions charted, vast resources allocated. See if you think our politics and governance need a truly transformational butterfly flap.

If you think it is time for fundamental positive change, send us a donation to support our work. We are a very lean operation and your support will go very very far.

Thanks for reading this. And blessings on the Immense Journey we’re all on together!


PS: At the end of July CII board and a few close colleagues will go into an intensive multi-day retreat. Our planning for the year will be strongly influenced by the level of support we can get during July. So please give us a hand. And thank you so much ahead of time!!

PSS: I got the phrase “The Rapids of Change” (in the name of this post) from the title of a book by the late transformational economist Robert Theobald. When I searched for it, I ran across this interview in which the first words out of the interviewer’s mouth were – much to my surprise – “A phrase that you come back to again and again in your work is one by Tom Atlee: ‘The world is getting better and better and worse and worse faster and faster.’” So I read the whole interview, which is rather good despite its being twenty years old… Well, Robert used my phrases, and I use his!


Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, POB 493, Eugene, OR 97440
Calling forth the wisdom of the whole for the wellbeing of the whole

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