Exploring the phenomenon/experience
of "collective emergent consciousness"
Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D.
Head Minister, “Amplifying Divine Light in All” Church
I have entered this blog entry into Blog Action Day 2012 whose theme is "The Power of We."
Ah, the new "buzzword:" "we-space?" What is it and who's creating and/or exploring it?
It goes by many names: "simultaneous inter-subjective experience" (Wilber,) "enlightened communication" (Cohen,) "collective intelligence" (Hubl,) "emergent 'we'," "intersubjective enlightenment," "communities of practice," "enlightened group mind," "transparent communication" (Hubl,) group 'Higher Self,' and more.
I am fascinated with it, and I regard it as one aspect of and one facilitator of humanity's rapidly-manifesting benevolent future, possibly the best potential method for manifesting such a benevolent future, and probably the currently most-populated "leading-edge" of human consciousness. So it's among my favorite topics of contemplation and conversation.
This blog will touch on three aspects of this phenomenon: First a little sociological and definitional overview, then my own 1st-person experiential description of the phenomenon, and lastly, some doors into further explorations, some links to places/people it is being co-created and explored.
My fervent hope is that many folks will add comments with the same three things: sociological and definitional notions, personal experiences, and resources for further exploration. I'd love for this blog and comments to become a huge resource pool for anyone interested in exploring this phenomenon/experience/
potential. The entire purpose of this blog (including this particular blog entry) is to serve as a spark, a catalyst, a curiosity-stimulator. I am far less interested in whether any of this is correct, than in what gets going in the world via you, because you read it! I intend exploration, stimulation, evocation, rather than argument, persuasion or presentation of factual information. I intend this to be useful and enjoyable, rather than regarded or evaluated as truth. "Heuristic" is the name of the game here.
BRIEF SOCIOLOGICAL AND DEFINITIONAL EXPLORATION
First I have to say that contrary to claims that this is a new inter-subjective phenomenon for humanity, I believe it's been around a long time, although I do believe that the phenomenon itself is evolving, so that earlier experiences and manifestations of it are rapidly being replaced by newer kinds of experiences and manifestations.
It's as if, and this is quite exciting to me, the phenomenon itself , which could be variously called a morphic field or emergent social holon or Upper-dimensional Subtle-energy Being or Kosmic groove, is strengthening exponentially. There are reports from all around that "we-space" is showing up more quickly, with less initial investment of energy, is stronger when it appears, lasts longer, and is appearing more and more easily in less and less sophisticated/consciously-
advanced groups of people.
Thus I am not aligned with Barrett Brown http://integralthinkers.
com/featured/integral- reflection-on-occupy-wall- street-protests/ and others who see many decades of hard work in the 3-D world ahead, despite the involvement of folks at the advanced stages Brown so beautifully describes. The power of exponential growth of this "causal" (I mean that in several senses of the word) phenomenon should not be underestimated. IMHO we are not going to slog our way into a "better world."
Previous experiences go back IMO to at least tribal societies, when there would be drug-induced or drumming-induced or spontaneous or induced-in-various-other-ways mergings of the individuals into what could be called a "group consciousness." Probably this was mostly in religious contexts. It's perhaps the "pre-" version of the current phenomenon -- the "fusion" or "undifferentiated" version, and probably subjectively somewhat different; for example, since there was little in the way of individual-autonomous identity-experience available in human consciousness as evolved up to that time, that aspect of a person's awareness would not be paradoxially "enhanced," as it seems to be in the current version of the phenomenon.
Less benign, perhaps, is the socio-psychological phenomenon of "contagion" which is responsible for crowd (or even nation-wide) "madness." And the Woodstock version, common at various "concerts."
The "we-space" also shows up in sports teams, when they are functioning "automatically" as a unit, and ditto musicians; it's especially vivid when, for example, jazz musicians are improvising together, and what's happening goes far beyond what they could do by merely "coordinating." And the phenomenon also shows up, sometimes spontaneously, when folks are making love. (See Jenny Wade's Transcendent Sex: When Lovemaking Opens the Veil book.)
Those are all possibly versions of this phenomenon which could be in between the "pre-" and "trans-" versions. I suspect it's the latter which is beginning to show up in humanity at this time, and to strengthen exponentially across/among many individuals. Exponentially. That's a key to many things!
What this phenomenon is NOT.
- The phenomenon is "inter-subjective" which means it requires that "two or more are gathered." Whether cyberspace qualifies as "gathered" is yet to be explored.
- The phenomenon involves an emergent co-creation. That means something new actually comes into existence. This is not the sum of parts, no matter how exquisitely those parts coordinate or cooperate. This is, in Wilber-ese, a "new emergent holon." It has its own identity, its own self-awareness! It is a new and self-conscious Being, but not of the material, physical sort.
- It is not "hive mind." While apparently it can exist (persist) independent of the particular people involved, it is not totally independent of who they uniquely are at any given time. Far from being just a role, as is the case with "hive mind," each individual's autonomy, "agentic-ness," and unique gifts are enhanced. People usually report feeling more like "themselves" than ever before, and that their unique gifts and talents feel "used to the max" by the emergent "We."
- It is not "collectivist" in the sense of anything enforced from the outside, particularly not in a political or economic context.
- It is not something like when a sports team or musical organization play well together, or a group works together for a larger purpose. It is rarer than that and goes further: There is not just coordination among individuals; there is something trans-personal which emerges and exists in its own right. More than the sum of the parts, no matter how closely the parts are relating among themselves as themselves.
- It appears to be different from (but I'll bet not irrelevant to) the "Neurobiology of 'We'" which appears to my uninformed eye as relational but not transpersonal nor involving any emergent phenomenon of consciousness.
What is the phenomenon "good for?" What is its relevance to a "better world?" Why do I regard it as humanity's cutting edge?
Thomas Hubl says it the best I've run across so far, as mentioned in Terry Patten's blog entry about his March 25, 2012 (second) interview of Thomas, which I regard as must-read, and the interview as must-hear:
"Thomas suggested that he believes this is how human beings can connect to the higher intelligence that really can effectively address global warming and the other crises that face us. In our experiments with this New “We” we may be helping pioneer some of the presses [sic: processes?] through which we can rise to our evolutionary challenges."
So how does this "we-space" show up in my experience when I am in a group and we are talking (or dancing or toning)? Here's a list, and nothing here seems unique to me; I have read others' reporting each of these, at various times in various places. A particularly long, powerful, and exquisite as well as useful first-person description is in Michael Wombacher's book, 11 Days at the Edge, in Appendix Two (see reference section below in this blog.)
I feel caught up in something "larger than me" yet I also feel vividly alive as my own unique self.
I feel unusually alive, exhilarated, even ecstatic. I'm humming with vibrant energy. The intensity verges on "unbearable" sometimes. So often there's just a sense of a big "YESSSSSS!"
There is a sense of easy, natural, effortless "flow" to the whole experience. We don't get trapped in eddies, and drawn down into whirlpools, or flung out in tangents. The flow never stops, even during silences, which happen and everyone seems comfortable with them.
Despite the sense of ease, things are going fast, too fast for my mind to keep up with all the implications and connections.
I, and others, speak the same things at the same times, or someone expresses a thought or feeling or sense I just had, or I express a thought or feeling or sense they just had. As if some kind of "mind-meld" were going on.
I say things I didn't know that I knew, that seem wiser than I usually am. I say things which are unplanned in advance, and surprise me as I hear myself saying them.
My heart gets warm, literally physically, and I feel safe to express myself. My normal interpersonally-related fears seem somehow less relevant or important than usual, which is accompanied by a physical relaxation underneath the exhilaration and fascination I feel going on in my body.
Related to the feeling of safety, is a sense of, an embodied flavor of, expansive freedom, in which I can abandon myself, entrust myself to, expand into endlessly as me and as losing "me."
There is a sense that the communication among us participants is effortlessly building and becoming something ever-increasingly valuable, interesting, significant, though the goal or end-point is not at all clear, and in fact there doesn't seem to be any "end-point." The process of intense mutual creativity is as important/interesting/
valuable/enjoyable as any "product" of the interaction. (And "interaction" is a gross mis-characterization of how it feels.)
I seem to understand things more clearly than ever, but without any mental struggle.
I seem to spontaneously/mysteriously "know" things about the other folks there, things relevant to our topic, or perhaps not obviously relevant.
My breathing slows and deepens, and the experience is very much like group meditation except we are speaking spontaneously. Along with the exhilaration is a paradoxical peacefulness/centeredness/
My mind chatter doesn't go away, but it kinda recedes into the background, and I feel very "present" and not thinking about what was said, or planning what I will say. So I'm able to listen more softly and openly. I trust that whatever crosses my mind as valuable to say soon, will come out of my mouth at the appropriate or optimal time, and maybe it will get communicated only on the subtle-energetic level we are interacting on, so I don't try to keep it in mind.
When it's time to end the group interaction, no one wants it to end. They don't want to leave. People tend to sit around just looking around silently, or they tend to continue talking nonstop long past the nominal "ending" time.
When I open to the subtle energies, it kinda feels as if "the air is thicker or denser." And when I experience that, I notice too that "synchronicities" (like those mentioned above) are showing up in the conversation, bigtime.
Sometimes, if the group is ongoing and the we-space has existed on and off for awhile, I can "pick up" on various particular qualities that particular unique "we-space" has. Some are more masculine-flavored, some more feminine-flavored. Some seem young, others older. Other qualities can be apprehended.
If the group is open to such things, I and sometimes others can "speak" "as" that emergent conscious Being, and everyone "recognizes" that what is being said and described is entirely resonant with their own consciousness at the time.
If the group is "toning" together, just freely making sounds, rather than talking, the beauty and complexity of what emerges in each moment is always stunning, and often gives me and others "chills."
Because my ordinary mind is in the background, things get a little "dream-like" and despite the intense value I sense in what is being spoken and co-created, it gets hard to remember the specifics, later. And note-taking is out of the question. So recording seems to be the best way if recapturing specifics is important.
But there's an odd sense in which people (including me) have simply absorbed whatever is relevant for them, and they go forth inspired to do whatever the Emergent We would like to manifest through them, as them. This does not require much if any left-brain thinking about the whole thing afterwards.
It's all spontaneous and unpremeditated, yet everything connects exquisitely, and builds magnificently.
DOORS INTO FURTHER EXPLORATION
Here are some resources from which you can get some ideas on various approaches to co-creating a "we-space" and understandings of the phenomenon. There are MANY approaches, some of them quite effective.
11 Days at the Edge: One Man's Spiritual Journey into Evolutionary Enlightenment by Michael Wombacher, see Appendix 2 and much of the chapters "Day 9" and "Day 10."
(reference for Andrew Cohen's work: andrewcohen.org)
Thomas Hubl thomashuebl.com/en (and his 'communities of practice') See this blog entry from Chris Dierkes on Beams and Struts website, and the links provided there: http://beamsandstruts.
com/essays/item/755- connecting-to-the-cosmic- internet-thomas-h%C3%BCbl-on- creativity
com/blog/archive/ March 25, 2012, audio of Terry Patten's interview of Thomas Hubl on this phenomenon, entitled "Birthing a New We: Evolutionary Ways of Creating Community, Society, Spirituality." Terry's text description of the interview (and another link to the audio archive) is in the middle of this page: http://beyondawakeningseries.com/blog/terry-patten/what-does-a-higher-we-make-possible/ and the flyer promoting and describing the interview is here: http://beyondawakeningseries.com/blog/general/thomashubl-march2012/. The first interview was October 10, 2010, and I have not researched its relevance to my topic.
Exploring an integration of Andrew Cohen's Authentic Self notion, and Marc Gafni's Unique Self notion, Chris Dierkes at the Beams and Struts online "magazine" can deepen one's understanding of this collective phenomenon: http://
beamsandstruts.com/essays/ item/770-unique-self- authentic-self-and-the-flavor- of-embodied-enlightenment
Peter Merry petermerry.org In his book Evolutionary Leadership, and most especially in his talk available to members of Integral Leadership Collaborative, titled The Pain and the Promise
Matrix Energetics, developed by Dr. Richard Bartlett and now taught worldwide as a 'consciousness technology' has a version of this phenomenon which they call "the morphic field of Matrix Energetics."
The organizational framework/practice called "Holacracy" insofar as it regards the organization/business as a "real" super-ordinate entity which exists independent of any particular people in the organization, but which requires certain atttitudes and behaviors on their part to truly exist, and which the people are there to "serve" by tuning into its nature and development, and allowing that to guide their actions. I think it's this paper in which I read about that.
Ken Carey's (first published in 1985) book Vision: A Personal Call to Create a New World, especially Chapter 9. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how pre-scient Carey's "vision" was. That chapter is what is happening now on this planet.
So much more could be talked about, and I hope we'll explore that in the comments. Who else do you know who is in some fashion exploring this phenomenon.
- Why would a group want to create a 'we-space?'
- Are they actually useful, like in business or community-building or gardening groups?
- How many different kinds of "we-space" are there, and how/why are they different?
- Are there dangers or downsides to deliberately co-creating such a space?
- Is there a single "best" way to co-create and maintain a "we-space" and if not, what are the relevant parameters to consider: language, people's worldviews, "line-development" differences, type differences, rules of engagement in the interaction, etc.?
- What interferes with co-creating or maintaining a "we-space?"
- Are there ways a 'we-space' can get out of hand? How (and why) is such a space "managed?"
- How it is all different in cyber-space? How is it different between synchronous and asynchronous communications?
- Does everyone in the group have to be (or end up being) conscious of what is being co-created?
What are your questions, and/or what questions do you have your current answers to?
I recognize that even exploring all of the above would still be the tip of an iceberg. The notion or phenomenon of 'we-space' shades off into so many other group-related phenomena and experiences, into various kinds of Leadership styles (like the VERY exciting Presence-centered Leadership) etc. -- the boundaries of the topic are permeable indeed, and the interfaces are all extremely valuable arenas to explore!!
There are significant additions to this essay in the Comments to it so be sure to read those!
There are significant additions to this essay in the Comments to it so be sure to read those!
by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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