Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tom Atlee

Intelligence is our capacity to create patterns of response that actually work.

It includes all the capacities we use to solve problems and conflicts, to recognize opportunities and dangers, to create ideas and initiatives, to sustain healthy relationships and lives, and to respond in every other way that works.

We can think of intelligence as a whole toolbox of capacities we use to continually create a "fit" between ourselves and the world around us. On the one hand, we often change our ideas, our desires, and our lives to better fit the conditions we encounter. On the other hand, we also change the world we live in to better fit our ideas, our desires and our lives. The elegance and success with which we do both of these things is the proper measure of our intelligence.

Once we broaden our vision of intelligence, we realize that groups, organizations and whole societies respond in workable -- or unworkable -- ways. So they can be intelligent (or not) just as individuals can.

Furthermore, the intelligence we apply can be merely clever or it can be wise (more or less). It can also be more or less in tune with the patterns and intelligences around it -- including larger forms of intelligence that function in and beyond the natural world.

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