About Tom

Edit profile


I've been researching & promoting co-intelligence since 1988. I mostly apply it to creating a wiser democracy. I see it within the context of evolution becoming conscious of itself -- largely through our efforts to become a sustainable society. I wrote THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY and REFLECTIONS ON EVOLUTIONARY ACTIVISM. I'm working on a book about the many facets and manifestations of wholeness. //// I was born in 1947 and grew up in NY, OH, and PA. I never graduated college. During the Vietnam War I was a conscientious objector and then draft resister, followed by 10 years in a spiritual community. My daughter was born in 1976. In 1986 I went on the 9-month 400 person cross-country Great Peace March, which was probably the primary watershed experience of my life, during which I experienced palpable collective intelligence for the first time, triggering my subsequent inquiries into co-intelligence. I currently live in a 9-person co-op house in Oregon.



Areas of Expertise

co-intelligence, evolutionary activism, wholeness, holistic activism, Group Process, Conscious Evolution, wiser democracy, Collective Intelligence, collective wisdom

An idea worth spreading

We can create a society capable of conscious, wise self-evolution. Top targets for transformation: our political & economic systems & worldviews on which they're based. When we work to effect those transformations we are functioning as conscious agents of evolution. We need to learn more about evolutionary dynamics & use them in our work. E.g., top strategies: (1) Powerful conversations, a human form of a fundamental evolutionary dynamic - interactions among diverse entities in supportive and/or challenging environments generate innovations & emergent phenomena. Thru such conversations wisdom of the whole can be accessed on behalf of the whole. (2) Designing systems so the self-interested activities of the parts of society (e.g., individuals, corporations) serve the well-being of the whole (society, planet, etc.). E.g., internalizing the social & ecological costs of products in their prices so harmful products become more expensive at which point free markets heal the planet.

I'm passionate about

Catalyzing a society capable of conscious, wise self-evolution. Includes primarily transformation of political and economic systems and the worldviews upon which they are based.

Talk to me about

Resources for wiser democracy and conscious evolution of social systems, including transforming change agent roles like activism, philanthropy, and consulting

Comments & conversations

8cfa3bac7e52f9df5d4028c56a32322ff7b4fa71 50x50
Tom Atlee
Posted almost 3 years ago
Have We Outgrown Our "Belief systems"? Are They Actually Obstructing Our Advancement? What Are The Alternatives?
We can transcend _a_ belief system, but we cannot transcend belief systems, as such. Even when we "know" something or have the "evidence" of our experience or trusted others, we operate on a belief in stories about how we know things. And, whatever we know, it is edged all around with what we don't know, a realm that grows bigger as our knowledge grows. (My own contribution to ultimate wisdom is this: "There's more to it than that." This applies to all situations and may well be the most important thing to know in any situation.) So all of us have beliefs by the hundreds, many of them woven into systems of beliefs that manifest and reinforce each other. As far as I can tell this is kind of unavoidable... The issue, to me, is how we relate to our beliefs and to the beliefs of others. Do we nail them down in the "Truth" or "Falsehood" dichotomy, or see them as things that happen to make sense to us now, given our life experiences so far? Can we "suspend our assumptions" (as David Bohm said) -- recognizing them as just assumptions, open to inquiry? To what extent are our beliefs really ours, and to what extent have we adopted them without inquiry into their validity for our lives? Do our beliefs inspire us into actions that clearly serve life? Are we able to change them when circumstances change or evidence mounts that they are not serving us or Life? Can we live in inquiry together, exploring and evolving beliefs together, sensing how they resonate (or not) with Life in all its dimensions and learning from that? All this applies both to "belief systems" and to individual "beliefs". (You may have even intended this inquiry to be about mainstream cultural belief systems, but the opportunity to inquire into beliefs, as such, was just too tempting. :-) ...) Many practices exist to help us with all this, but even they are grounded in beliefs that such pursuits are worthy of our time and attention. Which I believe this one is :-)