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Reflections on Evolutionary Activism: Essays, poems and prayers from an emerging field of sacred social change Paperback – December 4, 2009
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About the Author
Tom Atlee was raised in a progressive Quaker activist family and left Antioch College in 1968 to do anti-war work. After a decade in a spiritual community, Atlee's peace work led to the 1986 cross-country Great Peace March, a watershed experience of collective intelligence in a self-organized mobile community. That experience inspired him to study innovations that help groups, organizations, and communities function in a collectively intelligent manner. As an integrative thinker, Atlee wove these innovations into coherent theories of holistic intelligence and wise democracy. In 1996 Atlee founded the non-profit Co-Intelligence Institute and in 1998 created its vast and very popular website, co-intelligence.org, including many materials on using social crises for personal and social transformation. His activism ceased to be partisan and became targeted at increasing the ability of society to make wise decisions on all the issues it faces. In 2003 he published THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY: USING CO-INTELLIGENCE TO CREATE A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR ALL. He became a leading figure in the development of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and in its creation of the 2009 "Core Principles of Public Engagement", which is now the leading set of guidelines in the field of citizen participation. In 2005 he became closely involved with the evolutionary spirituality work of Rev. Michael Dowd and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow. Atlee realized that his co-intelligence work was part of a larger evolutionary development -- the formation of a functioning global life-form embracing nature, humanity, and human technologies. Atlee sees potential for a more activist, social change dimension in the "conscious evolution" work of Dowd, Barlow, and others, who focus more on celebration, personal development, and shifting the dominant cultural story. Atlee feels that conscious evolution implies a coherent and powerful role for a new form of activism that can stimulate evolutionary leaps in social systems. This led to his 2009 book REFLECTIONS ON EVOLUTIONARY ACTIVISM. At 62 Atlee lives in a cooperative house in Eugene, Oregon, currently with nine other people, three cats and two dogs. While mostly occupied with his research, writing and networking, he occasionally speaks and advises professionals and officials on group process and community engagement. He enjoys movies, playing guitar and occasionally relaxing in nature.
Top customer reviews
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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, soon on Amazon, 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 my blurb offered for the dust jacket, and my full review. My Word Table, a device we use for the most serious books of import to the future of civilization, is below the same review at Phi Beta Iota, the Public Intelligence Blog.
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
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: DELETED here and inserted in to Amazon Tags.
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.
Nine other Humanity Rescue books:
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential
Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
The Leadership of Civilization Building: Administrative and civilization theory, Symbolic Dialogue, and Citizen Skills for the 21st Century
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace