Collective Intelligence and Subtle Capacities

Dear friends and colleagues,

I have been thinking of starting this blog for a while. Now my daughter Karen Hunter  has been so kind to set it up I will start a conversation or two and trust that readers will add to it.

My commitment is to “whole people co-operating in a sustainable world” and I see this blog as one way of engaging others, particularly group facilitators, in conversations that can enhance the way we work with groups and organisations.

In this conversation I want to bring together two topic areas that can inform one another. These topics are collective intelligence and what I will call subtle capacities or supernormal capacities. (There is a background paper on this site introducing the topic of collective intelligence).

As a group facilitator and facilitator educator, I observe collective intelligence at work. A facilitator works with collective intelligence as a matter of course. We know that the wisdom is in the group and not only the individual. We work to tap into synergy to accelerate and grow a group’s performance. Research is now backing up the claim that collective intelligence is real and not related to the individual intelligence of group members (refer background paper and Anita Woolley

In addition, I have observed people in groups demonstrating subtle capacities of many different kinds. What I am referring to are people’s ability to sense and/or see energy and energy patterns in individuals, groups and in nature (trees, plants, birds and animals). There is also the capacity to envision, dream or imagine the future including “seeing with an inner eye”; knowing what is about to happen (precognition) or what others are thinking, even at a distance; intuitive hunches or “hits” about all kinds of things; and more. Sometimes these capacities are termed psychic or psi. Scientist Dean Radin works in this area at the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS) and his books “Entangled Minds” and “Supernormal” are very imformative

These capacities seem to be unevenly spread among individuals. Some people have none, one, a few, or many subtle capacities and as already said they come in many forms.

It seems to me that these two areas, subtle capacities and collective intelligence have a lot of promise for group facilitators especially those already working in an holistic way. I am thinking that it could be time to bring this conversation into the mainstream arena, at least among group facilitators.

If some people who have subtle capacities they are willing to share, they could potentially add to the collective intelligence of a group and enhance group outcomes. For this to happen however, facilitators will need to create safe spaces for people to share their subtle information and ensure that this new input is recognised as information (not the whole truth) to be considered alongside other conventional information and data.

At the Australasian Facilitators Network Conference (AFN) at Macquarie University 4-6 December, 2013, I am leading a workshop to discuss this topic.

I will post a summary of our discussion and also encourage those attending the workshop to contribute here on this blog as well.

Thanks for listening,

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Dale Hunter

Dr. Dale Hunter is a leader in the field of group facilitation and the author of the international classic The Art of Facilitation. She researches and promotes co-operative work and facilitates organisational development. Dale leads facilitator training workshops internationally, including many ground-breaking Master Classes which engage facilitators at their leading edges in their chosen field, method and practice.

2 thoughts on “Collective Intelligence and Subtle Capacities”

  1. Hi Dale
    There is an interesting discussion on the ‘transmission of thoughts’ in the book ‘The Monk and the Philosopher’. – p. 70
    The book is in the form of a dialogue between Buddhist Monk, Matthieu Ricard and his father Jean-Francois Revel.
    Here is part of the conversation
    M. – …. ‘I’d first like to say a few words about the transmission of thoughts, not only accounts in the texts, but also in everyday life around the great teachers, that it’s almost commonplace for Tibetans. It’s seen as a manifestation of the interdependence of phenomena. Since there’s nothing quite like personal experience I’ll tell you about my own. During the twenty-five years I spent with great Tibetan teachers, I was able to see for myself they were aware of exactly what I or some of my friends had just been thinking. I’ll limit myself to a single example, the one that I found most striking. While I was meditating in a small hut near my first teacher, Kangyur Rinpoche, I started to think about the animals I had killed when I was young. I used to go fishing, until suddenly when I was fifteen I realized I was bringing suffering to and killing living creatures. Once I’d also shot a rat with a rifle. Thinking about it, I felt a mixture of profound regret and incredulity that I could have been so blind to the suffering of others and have cared so little about it. So I decided to go and see Kangyur Rinpoche and tell him what I’d done – to confess in a way. I went to see him; I didn’t speak Tibetan at that stage, but his son was there…
    J.F. – To interpret for you…
    M. – As soon as he saw me, Kangyur Rinpoce looked at me and laughed. Before I could utter a word of my confession, he said a few words to his son, who translated ‘How many animals have you killed in your life?’
    J.F. – That’s interesting
    M. – At the time this event seemed completely natural to me. I just smiled.

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