Anno IV - Numero 6
Il peggior analfabeta è l'analfabeta politico.
Bertolt Brecht

giovedì 22 febbraio 2018

Collective Intelligence and Integral Theory

Focusing on shared values is more productive than arguing over differing viewpoints

di Hal Pippack

In this rapidly shifting cultural landscape, much has already been written, by Jordan Greenhall among others, about the ongoing tensions between the Blue Church of the establishment and an emergent Red Religion. It has been suggested that any truly viable emergent Collective Intelligence would be something more like an integration of the best facets of either side; a Purple Collective Intelligence. There would seem to be some overlap here with Integral Theory, particularly as it relates to developmental psychology.

The idea here is that every individual, and indeed the species collectively, is at some specific stage of development. These paradigmatic stages, roughly speaking, are Magic, Mythic, Rational, Pluralist and Integral. Each stage should transcend but also include the previous one.

Until very recently, the leading edge of the species has been Pluralistic (analogous to the Blue Church) but its internal contradictions are now causing it to flounder. Thus, we have the pushback from the Red Religion, which represents some combination of Rational and Mythic (or Traditional) thinking.

The theory suggests that the whole purpose of developing an Integral mindset is to retain the most useful values from each stage, while dispensing with specific views which may be problematic (Joe Edelman says more about values here). A simplified list of each stage’s core values might be something like this: Power, Stability, Achievement, Humanism and Flexibility.

The Magic stage gives us our sense of wonder as we discover agency (Power), Mythic engenders our capacity for storytelling (which provides Stability through archetypes), Rational allows us to pursue progress through science and tech (Achievement), and Pluralist recognizes the need to listen to varying viewpoints (Humanistic). Integral combines all of these to produce a holarchical perspective with which we can proceed into an increasingly uncertain future (Flexibility and Creativity).

Might a Purple Collective Intelligence look something like this Integral stage? Might the way to move in that direction be through some form of dialogue between the thought leaders of the Blue Church and those of the Red Religion (whoever they might be), which would ideally involve a focus on their commonalities (shared values) rather than their differences? A combined effort to find an integrated form of sense-making?

Imagine a meeting between a Blue Faith adherent and a Red Insurgent, in which they were able to agree on the benefits of courage without aggression, of defined roles without discrimination, of risk-taking without recklessness, of independence without selfishness, of equality of opportunity but not always outcome.

Amidst the current environment where facts and feelings are portrayed as being mutually exclusive, might there be some way to harmonize the two? Can outrage culture ever reconcile with meme culture? Can the limbic system and neocortex not work in harmony? After all, no matter which team each of us might think we belong to, when the stakes are as high as they are now, we need to wake up to the reality that there is only one team.
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