The Co-Intelligence Field of Nature

Healthy human engagement with other life forms and with natural systems

Central inquiry: How can we humans -- individually and collectively -- best collaborate with the natural world of which we are a part?

Forms of co-intelligence particularly useful in this field (see Five Dimensions of Co-Intelligence): Here we need to focus on collaborative intelligence between people and nature, informed by the evolved collaborative wisdom that's inherent in ecosystems. We also need human wisdom to embrace and work with the awesome, complex dynamics of natural systems.

Sample projects in this field: Individually and collectively we can: Understand the larger natural stories in which we're embedded. Improve the alignment of human activities with natural cycles. Increase material efficiency by designing synergy and re-use cycles into products and systems.* View living organisms and systems as allies in co-creating fruitful, mutually-beneficial environments. Honor the sacredness that resides deep within -- and among -- everything living. Cultivate a culture of elegant enoughness -- with minimal waste and want.**

Comments: Many tribal societies knew (and know) how to live in harmony with nature. Industrial societies have an more complex task, which is becoming increasingly urgent as our ability to cause ecological harm expands. Paradoxically, technological and economic activity, two factors largely responsible for our ecological destructiveness, are also two of our most powerful tools for change. Our biggest challenge may be to create technologies and economics based on collaboration with nature, so we can live bountiful lives that support ecological health. This transformation, if it occurs, will likely be part of a larger shift from a paradigm of control and prediction to one of participatory co-creation and collaboration.


* A good example of this is the proposal to design cars and other large equipment so that they can be taken apart easily and most parts used as-is in later models. Instead of purchasing such a piece of equipment, consumers would purchase (and re-sell) the right to use it. When no one else wanted to use it, it would be returned to its owner/producer for deconstruction into parts for re-use.

** "Elegant enoughness" describes an ideal whereby only the exact amount of material, force, attention, etc., is applied -- in exactly the right array or manner -- to achieve a particular result. I call it elegant because productive simplicity tends to be beautiful. For example, there is something elegant about the simple life of someone who owns only what they need, love, and have time to use and appreciate fully; there is no excess clutter and no sense of poverty -- and little needs to be sacrificed to keep them alive and happy.