Review: Evolutionary Activism by Tom Atlee

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Tom Atlee, author of  The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All has been moved at this particular point in time to present to all of us with an extraordinary collection of short stories and paired poems that develope a very important new theme, that of Evolutionary Activism.

There is no other person who has had more influence on the activities of Robert Steele and the various endeavors of OSS.Net, Inc. and its multinational conferences (1992-2006) as well as the follow-on Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity pioneering the modern World Brain with embedded Global Game.

The bottom line: intelligence professionals (and politicians and policy professionals, but one thing at a time) should stop trying to produce answers and instead focus on producing a process that connects all stakeholders with both one another and with all of the relevant information including especially historical, cultural, and anticipatory information.

Below, honoring Tom and his gifted integration of science, spirtuality, and sacredness, is our blurb offered for the dust jacket, and our review.  There is also a link to our rough Word Table, a device we use for the most serious books of import to the future of civilization.

I cannot do this inspiring book justice. I see it as a manifesto, a handbook–a gift of love and truth like no other. Tom Atlee, one of a handful of pioneers in the collective intelligence arena, offers all of us a launch point for what he calls evolutionary activism–thought and action that result in conscious evolution of both the individual and society. He stresses that the many tipping point crises that now threaten us (most of our own making) are in fact the perfect environment for calling us out to be creative, innovative, and adaptive. He points to three evolutionary dynamics guidance: the integration of diversity; a constant alignment with reality; and the harmonization of self-interest with the wellbeing of the whole. A marvelous tour of the emerging evolutionary activist landscape. – Robert Steele, CEO Earth Intelligence Network, #1 Amazon non-fiction reviewer

Full Review (and below the review, the Word Table):

Tom Atlee, one of a handful of pioneers in the Collective Intelligence arena, offers all of us a launch point for what he calls Evolutionary Activism, which is a process—an enabling function—for the achievement of a civilization that actually makes sense: conscious evolution of both the individual and the society, such that we appreciate reality in detail (something most government refuse to do); create and innovate in that firmly-rooted context, and consequently make ourselves and our society “fit” for survival on a rapidly changing Earth where changes that used to take 10,000 years now take three.

Most importantly, and drawing on the work of Robert Wright, he defines evolution as the constant increase of non-zero or win-win options for humanity; this is totally consistent with the Wealth of Networks literature.

The book provides a marvelous tour of the evolutionary activist landscape as it has gestated over the past 20 years, and is replete with over a hundred references to specific books and web sites that have charted the human path out of the wilderness and to the edge of Being.  I cannot list them here at Amazon, but do list them all, with links, at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog.

Where Gandhi focused on Truth and Martin Luther King on Love, this author focuses on what I call the Great Awakening, in which we all recognize, as the aborigines have before us, that the stars are our ancestors, and that we are the universe becoming conscious of itself (along with such other extra-terrestrial intelligence as must surely be present among the 100 billion other galaxies).

The three dynamics of evolutionary activism are the integration of diversity; a constant alignment with reality; and the harmonization of self-interest with the interest of the whole as we all realize that true maturity is understanding that what might be good for a part in isolation could be bad for the whole and thus bad for the part in the larger context.

A handful of quotes that really inspired me:

“This book is coming into being right now because humanity’s situation requires a miracle so vast and evolving that it begins to look like the miracle that began the universe in the first place.”

Evolutionary dynamics includes “the idea that evolution is about diverse entities interacting in nurturing and challenging contexts to create and sustain new forms of elegantly simple complexity.” (with credit to Peggy Holman)

“Crises are a sign that evolution is trying to break through a business-as-usual [process] that isn’t working.”

“Intelligence refers to our ability to sort out our experience in ways that help us to respond appropriately to circumstances—especially when we’re faced with new situations.  Societal intelligence, then, refers to the ability of a whole society to learn and cope creatively with its environment.”

This is an uplifting book in which the many tipping point crises that threaten us, most of our own making in abdicating our Civitas Maximus role to corrupt politicians and greedy bankers, are in fact the perfect environment for calling us out to be creative, innovative, and adaptive.

The educational element is under-stated in this book, but the author touches on it in defining three evolutionary imperatives as being Systemic Awareness; Systemic Health; and Systemic Learning.

INTEGRITY is defined as being in alignment with REALITY.

From the activist agenda outlined by Atlee, it is clear that he agrees that top-down governance does not work and will not work, and that the time has come for all of us to evolve — and for our systems to evolve — to where we can provide self-leadership at all levels, in constant touch with reality and with one another.  The “new dance of cooperation and competition” as the author describes it, is powered by love at the core, gravitas in the sense of wholeness, and a respect for constant learning from one another united in our appreciation for diversity and having the integrity to adapt rather than resist change.

Following are keywords that I noted:  Affirmation; Appreciation; Appreciative Inquiry; Asset-Based Community Development; Backcasting; Big Bang; Big History; Bohm Dialog; Callings; Choice; Co-Intelligence; Community Visioning; Conscious Evolution; Consciousness; Convergent Evolution; Creative Power of the Universe; Cultural Ecosystem; Culture; Dynamic Facilitation; Era of Consequences; Evolution; Evolutionary Action; Evolutionary Activism; Evolutionary Awareness; Evolutionary Dynamics; Evolutionary Impact; Evolutionary Integrity; Evolutionary Participation; Focusing; Full Cost Accounting; Future Search; Goodness of Life; Grace; Great Radiance; Great Story; HSLing (Heard, Seen, Loved); Imagineering; Intelligence of Nature; Journey; Love; Nonviolent Communication; Open Space; Pattern Languages; Positive Deviance; Positive Psychology; Pygmalion Effect; Quality Circles; Redefining Progress; Social Change Activism; Social Darwinism; Social DNA; Social System; Strategic Questions; Symphony of Science; Taoism; T-Groups; The Big Picture; The People (Informed and Engaged); Think Globally, Act Locally; Truth; Whole Earth; Whole of Life; Wholeness; Wisdom; Wise Democracy; World Café

Tom Atlee—this author—has influenced me more than any other person, and helped me get a grip on the sacred and the spiritual aspects of Gaia, conscious evolution, and the primacy of cultural change over technologies and organizations.  My secular side has always appreciated “system of systems” thinking, but it is only with this new work that Tom has moved my mind and heart from the Tao of Democracy to the Gaia of Being in harmony will total diversity in the context of REALITY.

I cannot do this book justice.  It is a manifesto, a handbook, a gift of love and truth like no other, compelling in part because it defines an empowering process rather than specific solutions.  Below I list the ten books that Amazon allows, at Phi Beta Iota I point to many more.  Among philosophers, Will Durant stands alone as the philosopher dedicated to the social problem; I am confident that Tom Atlee does not stand alone, but he is assuredly the point man, the vanguard, for the public solution to the social problem, a man and a mind and a soul that I am compelled to follow with great regard.

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Word Table Notes Including Keywords, Web Sites, and Books Cited by Author

Some  supporting books (this entire site supports this one book):

Review: A More Secure World–Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change

Review: The leadership of civilization building: Administrative and civilization theory, symbolic dialogue, and citizen skills for the 21st century

Review: Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition

Review: The Lessons of History

Review: Participatory Budgeting (Public Sector Governance)

Review: Mapping the Moral Domain: A Contribution of Women’s Thinking to Psychological Theory and Education

Review: Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution

Review: Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential

Review: New World New Mind: Moving Toward Conscious Evolution (Paperback)

Review: Clock Of The Long Now–Time And Responsibility: The Ideas Behind The World’s Slowest Computer

Review: The Rise of Global Civil Society–Building Communities and Nations from the Bottom Up

Review: Resilience Thinking–Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World

DVD: Humanity Ascending Series Part 1: OUR STORY featuring Barbara Marx Hubbard

Also here on Phi Beta Iota by Tom Atlee:

Worth a Look: Open Participation Methods

Journal: Tom Atlee on Engaging Real-World

Tom Atlee Reflects, Paul Hawken’s Commencement Address

Journal: Collective intelligence at a time of global crisis – Tom Atlee

2004 Atlee (US) Beyond Intelligence Reform: Shifting from Intelligence to Co-Intelligence

2004 Atlee (US) A Model of the Operational Subsystems and Dynamics Within Intelligent Systems (Individual, Organizational, Societal)

Definitions: Emerging Taxonomy for Collective Intelligence

Definitions: M4IS2 (Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing & Sense-Making

Prefaces (Steele, Sanders, Atlee, Hartmann, Seagraves)