The We-Space Summit and the Role of Group Magic in Social Systems

“We-Space” is a new name for a field of collective practices that generate profound conversation. A “We-Space Summit” has been organized to launch this as a self-aware field and global community of practice. I am promoting it to my network with encouragement to imagine how We-Space plays out – and should play out – in the wisdom-generating capacity of our major social systems.

There is a remarkable online “We-Space Summit” coming up this month.  It will offer talks, interviews and panels with more than 150 leading-edge pioneers in “collective practice”.

For those who sign up with their e-mail address, each day’s rich programming options will be freely available for 24 hours. After the Summit is over, those who wish to purchase life-long access to the contents of the entire 5-day summit will be able to do so for $95.


The center of gravity of the We-Space work – as far as I can tell – is the experiential power and magic of certain forms of high quality group practice.  This of course includes things like effectiveness and conflict resolution in groups and organizations, but with the added dimension of its potential for transformation, profound individual and collective experience, and spiritual realization.

I see pioneering We-Space work as potent and vital in the development of co-intelligence and wise democracy, even though these latter visions have a somewhat different center of gravity, which I’d like to note here.  Since many in the We-Space movement view the world through the lenses of Ken Wilber’s version of “Integral” thinking, I will frame my view of We-Space in terms of Wilber’s remarkable quadrant model.

This brilliantly simple model has two axes:  The horizontal axis is internal/external and the vertical axis is individual/collective.  So in the upper left quadrant we find the internal world of individuals (e.g., consciousness) while the lower left embraces the internal world of collectives (e.g., cultural narratives).  In the top quadrant of the right side we find external manifestations of individuality (e.g. behavior) while on the bottom right we find the external realities of collectives (e.g., systems and structures).

There is, of course, much more to Wilber’s model than this, but you get the idea.  This way of framing things offers change agents a way to understand that change needs to happen in all four of those domains in order to be adequately deep and sustainable.  If we’re going to focus on one realm – e.g., in individual behaviors – it behooves us to be aware of people, ideas and activities in the other quadrants that may be germane to our focus area – for example, efforts to change the social systems and cultural stories that shape individual behavior.  To the extent all change agents are working in multiple quadrants or at least co-creatively connected with others in quadrants outside their own, the resulting transformations will be “integral” – in other words, covering the full ground that needs to be covered.

My sense of most We-Space initiatives and methods is that they focus on – or get primarily used for – the enhancement of individual and group spiritual awareness, experience, and development in, by, and through group work.  My own focus, in contrast, tends to be in social systemic dynamics and transformation.  However, I have had enough experiences in the consciousness-expanding power of group work to know its value in all four of Wilber’s integral domains, including the political and governmental systems that I tend to focus on (see for example Group Awareness Exercises, Empowered Dialogue Can Bring Wisdom to Democracy, and Integral Politics as Process).

So I share this We-Space Summit as an opportunity for all of us to increase our understanding of what’s emerging in this transformational domain.  For those following my own work, I recommend dipping into some of these practices to experience for yourself the group magic they can produce AND to continue to raise the question – for yourself and for the other folks involved – of how these practices could be embedded in the design of our social systems – especially political, governance, and economic systems – to transform the dynamics in the lower right quadrant of the Integral model to be more wholly regenerative and life-enhancing.  There’s lots of potential for “all quadrants” here, as long as we keep them all in mind.



Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, POB 493, Eugene, OR 97440
Evoking and engaging the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole on behalf of the whole

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