Connecting the We-in-the-I: Global Responsibility Rising Within and Without

Even if it’s true that humanity has never created a problem that it couldn’t solve, let’s not bet our future on it. We do have an extremely challenging set of interwoven global crises at hand and a high level of competences are needed to address them. We could be fully immersed in a global ‘flow state’ of co-generating the transition to a thriving and prosperous planetary culture. But we aren’t. What is missing?

The good intention to map and connect all the initiatives that work for a transformational solution in this or that domain is not missing. There’s even a group, the Global Solution Networks, that has developed a taxonomy of nine categories of initiatives focused on problem solving. Another international project, the Peer-to-Peer WikiSprint, has brought together activists, scholars, hackers, and journalists to map and document P2P experiences.

Mapping contributes to the gradually emerging collective consciousness of the evolutionary wave that comes in all colors and raises all boats. By ‘colors’ here I mean the ones associated with the altitudes in the evolution of an individual or a culture, as named by Spiral Dynamics—e.g., Orange (StriveDrive), Green (HumanBond), Yellow (FlexFlow), and Turquoise (Whole Systems).

People at the Turquoise altitude perceive the world as a single, dynamic organism, a whole system that has a collective intelligence. Just how much intelligence can flow through any system depends on how well its parts are connected. The kind of mapping that would be the most valuable to enrich those connections—our increasingly densely packed global nervous system—calls for the cooperative action of evolutionary cartographers working from holistic sensing and thinking.

Holistic sensing and thinking are competences that come online when I see myself not only as a part of the whole, but also the whole as a part of me—when I discover the we-in-the-I or my ‘we-self.’ Those competences can be cultivated and, in fact, are being cultivated in many of the ‘we-space’ communities coming together around the work of such evolutionary thought leaders and consciousness pioneers as Thomas Hübl, Ken Wilber, Terry Patten, Diane Musho Hamilton, Otto Scharmer, Dustin DiPerna, Bonnitta Roy, Jeff Carreira, and Patricia Albere.

Those we-spaces are vessels that help life carry itself forward towards higher relational competence, harmony, and complexity.

The questions on the lips of many in we-space communities are these: Are these initiatives scalable? What would scaling look like? How would ‘scaling across’ work if ‘scaling up’ doesn’t?

Those questions are particularly important for all those who are living and loving the we-in-the-I and want to honor their global responsibility, or as Thomas Hübl likes to pronounce it, their ‘global response-ability.’ My own sense of response-ability has been strongly inspired by the following observation by Barbara Marx Hubbard since I first read it 10 years ago:

”The larger social structures are proving to be inadequate to solve the problems they’re creating. New social innovations are emerging everywhere, but they are not sufficiently connected or empowered. So right now, any effort that we can make to connect and create greater synergy and participation in this awakening process is probably the most important thing we can do.”

Discovering and strengthening the patterns that connect our highest individual and collective aspirations are pivotal to their realization. So is discovering how those patterns arrange themselves in functional, ecological alignment in the ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives. For example, imagine what could become possible when the practitioners of the various arts and sciences of collective intelligence (CI) decide to intentionally augment the CI of their combined field and put the resulting new collective competences in service of evolutionary entrepreneurs working for societal innovation in education, organization design, healthcare, etc.

As Helen Titchen Beeth noted in her Kosmos article from Fall/Winter 2008, evolutionary entrepreneurship is a way of being of “someone who is willing to dedicate his or her life to fulfilling a collective need” and engaging “directly, consciously and with intent—with the living system, for the good of the whole.”

We meet more and more evolutionary entrepreneurs in all walks of life, but we haven’t yet entered a qualitatively new phase of the Big Shift. That is the shift that I described in the first paragraph of this essay as immersing ourselves in a global ‘flow state’ of co-generating the transition to a thriving and prosperous planetary culture. What could help us get there? One of the answers seems to be in becoming mindful together.

Another enabler would be mapping all the major initiatives that feed the self-organizing collective intelligence of evolutionary entrepreneurs and their communities. Thinking of their entirety as a super-organism, a sort of planetary metabeing, we realize that for it to be viable, its collective mind needs to be joined by a collective heart—consciousness plus compassion. That will start a new leg of the human family’s learning journey: the era of the species-being’s collective sentience.

To usher in this era, we need a tool for mapping the future. The link points to an early articulation of developing such a tool. Let’s help in raising each other’s global response-ability within and without. If you feel inspired to continue our conversation, it’s your turn.