Ever since I embarked on the journey of discovering what an Integral City might mean, I have anticipated that the city would be the site where human collective intelligence is most likely to unfold. Why? Because it is where we are gathered together in collectives – i.e. families, groups, teams, departments, organizations, sectors, neighbourhoods, communities. Indeed, the city as a whole is a meta-collective of all these collectives.

Trying to imagine the impact of these different groupings on one another is what lead me to drawing maps of the city – and why one map was never enough.

Because the dynamics of collectives shapeshift the individuals and elements that make up the city.

But Collective Intelligence arises not just through dynamics – but when those dynamics become coherent and conscious. When the dynamics of individuals in the group align with one another for a purpose or to produce an outcome then an awareness of consciousness also arises that becomes like an invisible field that connects everyone. As we come into that field coherence emerges and makes room for another quality to arise, namely resonance. Resonance occurs when we as individuals and groups attune to one another as we share our intentions to manifest an outcome. The sharing of this field reinforces an energy that we share, as we work towards our common goal.

In Findhorn, we recognize this energy as one of three guiding principles: “Work is Love in Action.“ Love itself, is perhaps the most recognizable and shared energy that we can share in our relationships as human beings. It is fundamental to our sense of belonging – to a family, group, collective. And the experience of sharing love is the most cohesive energy that we can experience as we relate with one another in our shared experience.

Therefore, when people ask me how we can experience collective intelligence in the city, I first suggest they become part of a collective that has a purpose. (This could be for volunteering, caregiving, work, or sports.) The next step is to discover how your gifts and talents (what makes your heart sing) can contribute to the shared interests of this collective. Then the third step is to contribute your energetic passions in service to others and this shared goal. In acting and working together to achieve the goal, an experience of collective consciousness will inevitably arise.

How deep, wide, high or clear will be that experience of collective consciousness will depend on how the collective can bring together its individual capacities, within the context of the shared goal and with the level of care that weaves together all these qualities. When these align with coherence and resonance, then the quality of collective intelligence can be demonstrated. And the more often we repeat this practice, the more likely that collective intelligence will become perpetuated as a quality of our collective experience.

Referring to the last two blogs I wrote about the experiences of Taizé and Sanctuary – they are both collective practices that manifest collective intelligence not only because of their daily repetition but because they are always offered in service to the greatest good of humanity and all sentient life on Gaia. They reinforce for me, the possibility that the collectiveness of a human hive (or city) will create the conditions where collective consciousness has the highest potential to emerge.