Center for Spiritual Inquiry and Integral Education

R. Michael Fisher
CSIIE: An Experiment in Collective Intelligence
by R. Michael Fisher - Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 06:41 AM

I first want to acknowledge T. J. Dawe and the folks at Beams & Struts, an onlne integral (post-postmodern) zine. Dawe, one of the co-founders of this Vancouver-based group, came across my desk, thanks to my daughter Vanessa a few weeks ago. Dawe gives a 25 min. talk on the experiment of collective intelligence amongst this group of millenials, who thought if they put all their heads and hearts and hands together they could produce something more than any of them could do individually. That cooperative venture attitude is nothing new, but it is good to see what they have accomplished with a strong growing readership, and non-gimmicky approach to promotions. The quality of their work and exchanges is also quite high, compared to other sites you might visit on the web. Congratulations to them all.

The accomplishment there in a few years is something I'd like to see as well at CSIIE. We are still in infancy, and we don't have the intensity, nor commitments of energy, that the young folks at Beams has, which doesn't mean it won't be emerging. To start off this moment of sparking some energy under the wood, I recommend CSIIE Associates and faculty take the 25 min. to watch and listen to Dawe speak about this: go to

What stands out for me is that at CSIIE it is three people keeping it going (the Associates), and we are often on-the-edge of survival economically and in other ways, and our collaboration continuity and effectiveness wavers because of those conditions. It is understandable that when you are barely able to make it on your own two feet, it is really hard to imagine putting in a lot of collaboration with others, when they too are in the same survival mode. It is also evolutionary, if you think of Spiral Dynamics integral theory that eventually the Beige (v-meme) of survival will give over, of fall over, and bend over, to reach to a higher way of living, meaning, higher on the collective intelligence spectrum of possibilities. As I say, T. J. Dawe really gives a good explanation in his talk of how he is a hard and steadfast "individualist" and "community" is a swear word. At least, that's his initial reaction and personality profile, which he nicely shows can be overcome by the spirit of "trust and respect for others" and knowing "trust and respect is coming from others." That's what the three Associates have attempted to craft since we met in 2011 Feb.

My point, is that I don't see that we are anywhere near the "trust and respect" (and whatever other conditions are required) to push or grow beyond our survivalist mentality yet (i.e., Beige v-meme). The next level is Purple v-meme and a commitment that "two heads are better than one" (to put it bluntly). That shift is dramatic as a paradigm, and at this point the Associates have not fully "got it." But that also applies to the Instructors (faculty) of CSIIE and other friends of CSIIE, etc. "We" are on the website together, maybe, or we come into contact, maybe, but I see we are still all being "individualists" more or less, and more or less we are affecting the whole development of CSIIE--whether we want to admit it or not. I'm not for using fear-based means to organize, to inspire, to get the job done-- no matter what. I'd like to at times to just "kick ass." As a leader, my experience and theory and praxis dictate I do not follow that route of primal motivation. There are other ways.

The other ways, and the conditions, and the structures, and the v-meme patterns, are all important. The combination in complex networks and exchanges, webs, resonances, and attunements are all part of how we communicate with each other at CSIIE, and each effort, or not, will lead to results in some way. At this time, I propose we all watch and listen to T. J. Dawe for inspiration, if nothing else. And from there, let the conversations, exchanges, and consciousness of our collective CSIIE venture begin...