Scientific research into the
phenomenon of collective wisdom is in its infancy. However, a large number
of studies have been conducted over the past 30 years, which directly or
indirectly suggest the nature and effects of collective consciousness, and
provide a solid starting point for the scientific study of collective wisdom.
purpose of this essay is to explore the emerging theory of collective
wisdom in light of existing and similar theories. Collective wisdom
has been defined by philosophers, authors, researchers, organizational
consultants, and others in a number of ways. Many believe that
collective wisdom represents a level of knowledge and wisdom that
cannot be accessed by any one individual; rather, collective wisdom
can only be experienced by groups that are functioning in certain
states. However, for the collective wisdom theory to move forward,
an important question must be addressed: is collective wisdom
simply the repackaging of other, similar theories of social intelligence
or transactive memory systems? This essay will address this important
a phenomenological methodology Dr. Renee Levi has recently completed
a careful, revealing and provocative research study inquiring
into the influence of place, space and environment on collective
transformational experience. Her research was based on the following
questions: (a)What is the influence of place.
space and environment on collective transformational experience,
separate from other factors such as design of a meeting or gathering,
topic, or facilitator skill? (b) How is the setting
perceived and described by individuals participating in transformational
group experiences? (c) What specific elements
of the environment are most influential? and (d)
How can characteristics and qualities of place, space and environment—if
more thoroughly understood—be more consciously included
in the design of gathering places and guiding processes where
collective transformation is intended?
Collective Wisdom Initiative invited Fetzer Fellow, Robert
Kenny, to create an overview of the research that is relevant
to studying collective consciousness and wisdom. Robert's seed
paper includes an integrative, organizing framework, a rich array
of research examples, references to key researchers and research
institutions, and ample links to resources that interested individuals
can investigate. We invite you to take a glimpse into what is
likely the most up-to-date and comprehensive review and analysis
of the scientific evidence for collective consciousness. We and
Robert would love your feedback and comments. If you feel any
important research has been missed, please let us know.
summary by Renee Levi
provides a brief but comprehensive overview of her doctoral dissertation
on a group phenomenon she calls collective resonance, the "magic"
that occurs in everyday situations enabling groups to transcend
their usual ways of working together. If something in this writing
reminds you of a personal experience of collective resonance and
you are willing to share it, she would like to know about it.
The research continues
in the form of a growing collection of remembered stories, and
each one that comes forward amplifies the entire field. Please
Renee or visit The
Resonance Project. See also Elements
and Shifting Factors of Collective Resonance.