Tom Atlee: Making Wise Decisions on Public Issues

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Tom Atlee

Dear friends,

I have worked for several months to develop the ideas in this article and to articulate them in an accessible way.  They are fundamental understandings underlying the co-intelligence vision of a wiser democracy.

If the ideas intrigue you, you can find a longer version with more detailed guidelines and references online.  I wrote the abstract below to make it easier for you to see the whole pattern at once.  I hope you find both versions interesting and useful.




by Tom Atlee

As a civilization we have tremendous collective power, but we don’t always use it wisely.  We can make good decisions, but we face messy, entangled, rapidly growing problems with complex, debatable causes.  Efforts to solve one problem often generate new ones.  We need more than problem-solving smarts here.  We need wisdom.

A good definition for wisdom here is

the capacity to take into account
what needs to be taken into account
to produce long term, inclusive benefits.

To the extent we fail to take something important into account, it will come back to haunt us.  But often we only realize we overlooked something long after our decision has been implemented.  Certain practices – because they lead us to include more of what’s important – can help us meet this challenge.  Here are eight complementary ways to do this.  The more of them we do, and the better we do them, the wiser our collective decisions will be.
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Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization

About the Idea, Augmented Reality, Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Ethics, InfoOps (IO), IO Deeds of War, IO Technologies, Methods & Process, Policies, Reform, Standards, Technologies, Tools

Open Source Ecology — 50 Open Source Tools for Resilience

Industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale….it just requires open source design.  A single DVD is a civilization starter kit.

Interactive Transcript

About The Speaker

About This Talk

Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that’s only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).

Seven Promises to America–Who Will Do This?

11 Society, About the Idea, Advanced Cyber/IO, Civil Society, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Officers Call, Strategy
Robert David STEELE Vivas

UPDATED 26 Oct 2011 to add YouTube overview

Seven Promises to America – Raising the Bar for 2012

UPDATED 20 June 2011 after talking to Cynthia McKinney.  Changes 7th promise to subsume End of Empire to Start of Green Non-Zero World that works for all.

Over the course of the past decade, as I have turned to non-fiction reading and reflections on integrity and intelligence, I have come to realize just how corrupt the US Government is at the political level, and how compliant the good people are that are trapped within a very bad system.

Below are the 7 promises I would demand of anyone who aspires to be President of the United States of America.  I know of no one else who can credibly commit to these 7 promises.

1.  Electoral Reform (9 points, 1 page)

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MUST READ CAPSTONE WORK: Noosphere — The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness, A Testimony by Jose Arguelles

11 Society, 6 Star Top 10%, About the Idea, Advanced Cyber/IO, Augmented Reality, Consciousness & Social IQ, Cosmos & Destiny, Culture, Research, Ethics, Historic Contributions, InfoOps (IO), Information Society, Intelligence (Extra-Terrestrial), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Methods & Process, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Officers Call, Philosophy, Real Time, Strategy, Strategy, Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Phi Beta Iota: We reproduce the excerpt in order to add links to all of the books and individuals mentioned.  Tip of the Hat to Reality Sandwich for this offering, and to Evolver Editions (North Atlantic/Random House) for their new Manifesto series in support of human consciousness and planetary synthesis.

Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness, A Testimony

Amazon Page

To mark the recent passing of José Argüelles, we offer an excerpt from his upcoming book Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness, available from Evolver Editions/North Atlantic Books in October 2011.


We must enlarge our approach to encompass the formation taking place before our eyes … of a particular biological entity such as has never existed on earth-the growth, outside and above the biosphere, of an added planetary layer, an envelope of thinking substance, to which, for the sake of convenience and symmetry, I have given the name of the Noosphere. –Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man

Amazon Page

Manifesto for the Noosphere is the result of forty years of study, contemplation, investigation, and synthesis. While the noosphere may be beyond the grasp of conventional science, it is a deep and pervasive intuition that has gripped the minds of scientists, philosophers, poets, and artists since the concept first emerged in 1926. It is an evolutionary concept posited by studies in both biogeochemistry and paleontology. It is a whole-systems paradigm that melds prophecy and analysis of current world trends. It is a perception that the transformation of the biosphere is inevitably leading to a new geological epoch and evolutionary cycle, and it is due to the impact of human thought on the environment that this new era — the Noosphere — is dawning.

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Reference: Emergent Democracy

11 Society, About the Idea, Advanced Cyber/IO, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Methods & Process
Jon Lebkowsky Bio

EXTRACT from Google Group Next Net:

That made me think of the Emergent Democracy paper that Joi Ito authored collaboratively (2001-2003) with several other folks (including Ross Mayfield and I) a few years ago. Digging into my files I found the attached marked up version…  it aligns pretty well with some of the discussions here.

There’s been a lot of interesting thought about the Internet and the web as platform for enhanced social activity. That idea of “finding our tribes and ourselves” was a core aspect of FringeWare, the company/community that Paco Nathan and I started in 1991. We realized that like-minded fringe thinkers and doers were scattered everywhere, and the Internet gave us a platform where they could find each other and form community.  All it took was an email list and a compelling concept (“fringeware”) to catalyze that community.

“Declaration of Interdependence” sounded familiar… I did some searching… – Barlow wrote this, and I think he referred to it (earlier or later, not sure which) as a declaration of interdependence). – This notes that the Whole Foods mission statement is called “declaration of interdependence” – This also refers to the Barlow document and our 2008 EFF-Austin party.

Interestingly, Will Durant made a “declaration of interdependence” in 1945.

See Also:

Journal: Politics & Intelligence–Partners Only When Integrity is Central to Both

Review: Evolutionary Activism by Tom Atlee

Review: Philosophy and the Social Problem–The Annotated Edition

Kickstart the Freedom Box–Micro-Giving Rocks!

07 Other Atrocities, About the Idea, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Internet, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Key Players, Peace Intelligence
Click Here to See & Be

As of today, 29 February 2011:




pledged of $60,000 goal


days to go

Phi Beta Iota: Along with OpenBTS, SolarOne, VECTOR, and “Buy This Satellite,” Freedom Box joins the vanguard of the global revolution.  “Connected, We Are One.”  [Connexum Sumus Unum–scholarly check welcomed].  Please give as generously as you can, this is the non-violent equivalent of Bunker Hill in the global war against corruption and the many attrocities associated with repression of diversity and dissent.

Public Intelligence Mind-Set

About the Idea, Analysis, Collective Intelligence, IO Multinational
Seth Godin Home

The simple two-step process

Step one: Open all doors. Learn a little about a lot. Consider as many options as possible, then add more.

Step two: Relentlessly dismiss, prune and eliminate. Choose. Ship.

The problem most people run into is that they mix the steps and confuse them. During step one, they aren’t open enough, aren’t willing enough to consider the impossible. And then, in step two, fear of shipping kicks in and they stay open too long, hold on to too many options and hesitate.

Simple doesn’t always mean easy.

Tom Atlee on Congress 2.0: Empower the Public

About the Idea, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Commerce, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Open Government
Tom Atlee


by Tom Atlee

Why would you want to become one?  Here are four very enticing reasons:

Read full posting….

The alternative approach:

*  You might have to advocate policies that would be hard on yourself, your constituents or your supporters — even temporarily.  You might become unpopular.  You might get assassinated or your plane might develop unexplained engine trouble and crash.  You might even not get re-elected!

*  You would actually have to face reality, get the facts, learn about complicated stuff like how complex systems work.  (It’s really unfortunate, but most of our thorny problems are all tangled up with complex systems that are tangled up with other problems, too. Yuck!!)

*  You would have to listen to and work with people who see things differently from you.  After all, they may know something that’s important to take into consideration.  That could be really unpleasant and take you far afield from your party line, out in the political boonies where the real danger lies.

*  You just wouldn’t get the same adrenaline rush you get when you stick with oversimplifications, grandstanding, being loved by your supporters, and launching juicy attacks on your enemies.  There just aren’t as many ego-strokes or perks available for working with others to deeply understand things and come up with what makes sense for the long haul.

Co-Intelligence Institute’s Pledge for Politicians

Read full posting….

Assisi, Egypt, US Hypocrisy, Global Revolution

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This is the one link to share if you wish to have a consolidated view on these topics.  The Tiny URL for this consolidated posting is

Phi Beta Iota: Egypt is a lever for the Assisi Peace Summit.

1)  Against dictators and corruption, inter-faith dialog and coordinated action is HAPPENING.

2)  The connected young are the antidote to radical violent Islamic fundamentalism.

3)  Muslim demographics must be understood by all Catholics and Protestants

4)  The Church can be a central force for Open Spectrum, Open Source Software, Open Source Intelligence, and Open Society–imagine, in a revolution, all churches and mosques as sources of wireless solar and wind-powered information that cannot be shut down, that collaborate to avoid inter-faith violence and promote non-violent “presence” in the streets to overturn the 44 dictators and demand the withdrawal of all foreign military forces….

5)  Revolutions are no longer national–the diasphoras matter–the global presence of the Church matters from local to national.

6)  The hypocrisy of the USA is now fully revealed–Barack Obama made 500 promises to the American people he has not fulfilled, and he dares to suggest to anyone that they honor their promises?  It is time for the Church to recognize that the people are the sovereign power, not governments, and that the Church can profit much more from a free people creating wealth than from absolving corruption by governments and corporations and crime families.

7)  Liberation Theology is back–it must be elevated by the Most Holy Father NOW.

2012 is not the year of apocalypse, it is the year of awakening when the meek inherit the earth.  The time between now and Assisi and from Assisi on is strategically priceless, in our collective view.

Below the line:

On Assisi Peace Summit and Inter-Faith Intelligence (7 Links)

On Egypt as Awakening (14 Links)

On Revolution in & Hypocrisy of USA (10 Links)

Direct to the Core Revolution References (8 Links)

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Open Source Insurgency: No More Corruption

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Mario Profaca Recommends...

A Plausible Promise

by John Robb of Global Guerrillas

For an open source revolt (here’s some background on “open source insurgency“) to be successfully formed, it needs a plausible promise.  A meta issue around which all of the different factions etc. can form (remember, most of the groups and individuals involved in an open source revolt can’t agree on anything but some basic concepts).  A generic “day of revolt” doesn’t accomplish that. What could?

Using the multi-million scale No Mas FARC protests as an example and the critical ingredient in the Tunisian protests (extreme corruption that generated an endless wellspring of anger/frustration), a potential “plausible promise” for an Egyptian open source revolt is:

No More Corruption

Not only is a movement opposing corruption something the government will find hard to oppose, it is something every Egyptian deals with on a daily basis.  It also has the added benefit of directly harming the entrenched ruling elite, who are likely to become poster children of the very thing the movement is against.

See Also:

Open Source Insurgency in Now Mainstream, So What’s Next?

Emerging Concept of Open Stewardship

Reference: Peace versus War–Competing Visions

Reference: WikiLeaks and Al Qaeda as Open Source Insurgencies

Reference: On WikiLeaks and Government Secrecy + RECAP on Secrecy as Fraud, Waste, & Abuse

21st Century Infotention

04 Education, 11 Society, About the Idea, Advanced Cyber/IO, Analysis, Augmented Reality, Collective Intelligence, Collective Intelligence, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, info-graphics/data-visualization, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), Methods & Process, Technologies, Tools

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Original with links

See Also:

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Reference: Steele at Huffington Post Updated

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Robert David STEELE Vivas

Robert David STEELE Vivas

Comprehensive Architect, Prime Design

– – – – – – –

Posted: January 4, 2011 02:08 PM

Cyber-Intelligence — Restore the Republic of “Of, By, and For”

– – – – – – – –

Posted: December 26, 2010 10:00 AM

Infinite Wealth for All

Below the line:  prior posts on the Virtual Cabinet–who, what, why, how, when….

Continue reading “Reference: Steele at Huffington Post Updated”

Journal: Hard Truths to Power–Anyone?

About the Idea, Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Corruption, Ethics, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), Key Players, Officers Call, Policies, Threats
Chuck Spinney Recommends...

Phi Beta Iota: When did it go out of style for warriors to speak the truth and only the truth?  Lies kill our own and dishonor our Republic.  It is time for integrity to come back into being.  Advanced Cyber/Information Operations (IO) are about truth & trust.  No amount of courage at the tactical level can overcome a dishonest, unaffordable, intellectually-bankrupt strategy.

MACGREGOR: Afghan report 2010

Deluding ourselves from one failure to another


American forces invaded Afghanistan more than nine years ago, and we still don’t know whom we’re fighting. It’s hard to know who did the better job of playing us for fools a few weeks ago – the Afghan who passed himself off as the “moderate” Taliban leader, who was rewarded with American cash for his performance, or Hamid Karzai.

. . . . . . .

With the lion’s share of Iraq‘s southern oil fields in Chinese hands and the Kurdish nationalists determined to control the country’s largest oil reserves, more fighting in Iraq is inevitable. This sort of thing would almost be funny, in an insane sort of way, if such military leadership did not result in the pointless loss of American lives, undermine American strategic interests and erode the security and prosperity of the American people – the things the nation’s four-stars are sworn to defend.

. . . . . . .

When the budget ax falls, many inconvenient facts will come to light, unmasking the great deception that America confronted a serious military threat in the aftermath of Sept. 11, a deception promoted and fostered by politicians and ambitious generals who sought to gain from it. It will horrify and discourage Americans to learn we’ve bankrupted ourselves in a fight that always was analogous to clubbing baby seals. From 2001 onward, we never confronted armies, air forces or capable air defenses. Bottom line: There was no existential military threat to the United States or its NATO allies emanating from Afghanistan or the Middle East. There is none today.

Read the entire righteous piece….

For the time being, no one will say these things. It’s easier to go, in Winston Churchill’s words, “from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” and nurture the money flow to Washington.

Retired Col. Douglas Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran, is executive vice president of Burke-Macgregor Group. His newest book, Warrior’s Rage, was published by Naval Institute Press.  See also his earlier books, Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation Under Fire.

Why Can’t Europe Avoid Another Crisis? Why Can’t the U.S.?

By Simon Johnson (bio), Baseline Scenario, 30 December 2010

Our leading bankers looted the state, plunged the world into deep recession, and cost us 8 million jobs.  And now many of them stand by with sharpened knives and enhanced bonuses – also most willing to suggest how the salaries and jobs of others can be further cut.  Think about the morality of that one.

Will no one think hard about what this means for our budget and our political system until it is too late?

Worth a Look: Communications, Communities, & Modalities

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Tom Atlee at Phi Beta Iota

Seven years ago Tom Atlee, our mentor on collective intelligence and community self-organization for resilience and sustainability, began focusing on “ways of communicating.”  Responding to a recent query from us about alternatives to partisan politics or dictatorships, he offered up the below links, each of which has many other links, as food for reflection.

1.  Designing Multi-Process Public Participation Programs

2. A map of Community Intelligence and some of its important constituents

3.  Approaches to Community Engagement and the Generation of Community Wisdom

The latter offers a 1-paragraph description of each of almost 50 processes).

And, of course, there is Tree Bressen et al

4. A Pattern Language for Group Process

Below is a general commentary he offered on “modalities” as a mixed bag.

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