Everything has changed save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift towards unparalleled catastrophes.
Society's problems and catastrophes usually arise from profound societal co-stupidity.
Interestingly enough, this co-stupidity does not come
primarily from the specific people and institutions involved.
Mostly it derives from social, political and economic systems
that call forth problem-generating actions from well-intentioned,
smart people and organizations -- actions which seem to them to
make perfect sense. Unfortunately, those many actions, when taken
together, add up to real problems or even catastrophe for all
We can see this all around us -- not only in business meetings and the halls of government, but in our collective social lives. For example:
As a culture, we don't see -- we don't really get it -- that we're doing these things. Individually and institutionally, we may or may not know something about all this. But most of our attention is on other problems and other opportunities -- things that are acknowledged, supported, even enforced by the society we live in.
Individuals and organizations who do see what's happening
have to struggle mightily against the current of a system whose
design -- unless changed -- virtually guarantees
that little effective action will be taken to address these problems
in time. And this is true of virtually every major social and
environmental problem we face.
This problematic, problem-generating system has been in place for some time. This fact tells us that
The institutions established for that purpose -- government,
media, and education -- are not dealing well with the great threats
we face. Mostly they focus popular attention on things that have
little bearing on our collective survival. They reduce complex
realities to conterproductive soundbites or unintelligible jargon.
Often they marginalize the most important information we need,
and virtually never provide opportunities for real reflection
or deliberation to help us embrace the full complexity of our
When someone can't put their attention where it is most needed, can't think through their predicament, can't pass the tests of life, we call them stupid. As we have just seen, this capacity for stupidity is not limited to individuals; it infects our collective life, as well. The word "co-stupidity" describes the collective inability of groups, communities, organizations and societies to see what's happening in and around them, and to deal effectively with what they find.
In these times of spiralling human power and danger, when we
urgently need more wisdom to guide us, co-stupidity is a dynamic
that threatens the survival of civilization.
We are very lucky that we don't have to continue this way.
I urge you to start exploring this subject. If we learn the ideas and tools of co-intelligence, we can work with our societal and environmental problems as they arise, using them to stimulate the development of our co-intelligence. Step by step we can in this way profoundly improve our capacity to deal with each new challenge.
Furthermore, if we deal with such challenges in a co-intelligent way, we'll simultaneously build a decent, joyful, sensible civilization for our grandchildren. After all, we've got everything we need for that project right here and now -- except for the capacity to see, think and act together on what we know would be the good thing, the right thing to do. This is our chance to change that.
My and others' writings on what would constitute co-intelligent politics and governance are listed and described on http://www.co-intelligence.org/CIPol_Index.html