What seems to be emerging in our understanding of the nature of intelligence is that it is related to collective networks of ‘nodes’ that share information, more than a single cell or node.
Here’s a perspective I also see emerging from this more advanced understanding: the human species is like a super-organism of nodes (or cells). Humans are in some ways a network of neurons on the planet. Each unique perspective adds intelligence to the network. The more nodes that are included and connected, the more intelligent the human super-organism becomes. An organism that can adapt to its surroundings and create ways for it to sustain itself is another feature of intelligence.
When the human super-organism excludes communication from certain nodes, it dumbs down its own intelligence, making it less able to figure out solutions to its challenges. Fewer nodes, means less data, which makes the system less able to predict future outcomes and find ways to avoid scenarios that will lead to its own death or impairment. *
*this mechanism is also why social media needs us addicted to its platforms
What leads to dynamic intelligence that can continuously adapt to ever-changing events and information?
As many nodes as possible within that system contributing to the collective perspective. When nodes are excluded, this impairs the system’s ability to predict and shift when needed. We can see this in healthy versus less healthy brain functioning as well. A healthy brain has a rich diversity of communication across multiple regions. In issues like depression, anxiety, obsessive rumination, we see a lack of communication, or sometimes 'hyper-coherence' of certain networks:
- Hyper-coherence is when certain networks are almost ‘locked into’ a rigid form of repetitive, hyper-active communication, to the detriment of the brain's overall functioning.
- Hypo-coherence describes not enough information traveling among certain circuits.
What can improve this type of hyper- or hypo- connectivity? Sharing of information that transcends a specific node or circuit.
I believe that when we are using our own experiences to be of service to someone else, we are sharing information in ways that transcend our 'individual self-networks’ (which tend to be hyper-coherent')
This is the essence of ‘self-transcendent purpose’ - something I think helps people discover a feeling of meaning in their life (and adds to the collective intelligence of the human super-organism network).
How do you see these same principles applying to human behavior?
(maybe in ways that are more hopeful today than ever before, but also in ways that may be detrimental to our collective intelligence?)
How do you think the collective intelligence of the human super-organism could evolve into its highest potential?
What’s currently missing and what can you, as an individual or community, do about this?
Where do you see 'hypo- or hyper-coherence' of human networks?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment in this post and I’ll create another article based on these comments.
If the concept of Purpose resonates with you, you may be interested in these resources:
A non-profit organization devoted to Purpose Education: nXu
On the nature of intelligence and artificial intelligence: Santa Fe Institute Complexity podcast with Melanie Mitchell
On self-transcendent purpose: The Mindset Scholars Network - purpose and relevance
Growth mindset and self-transcendent purpose: my free growth mindset neuroscience video series (with free downloadable handouts, and the growth mindset goal-setting booklet)
Purpose and the prefrontal cortex: Mindset Neuroscience Podcast - Season 1 Episode 4, ‘A Sense of Purpose’
Master Integration Weekend (Dec 12-13): Part 3 - self-transcendent purpose and meaning
Please note: the master integration weekend has been changed to December 12-13.
I'm really excited to spend several hours with a group of you!
We are going to do some deep-dives into human behavior and transformation and look at:
- How we create neurochemical ‘setpoints’ that make it really hard to create change in our life and what we need to do to push past this
- How what we didn’t get in our childhood affects our relationships now and what we can do about it
- Why our ‘project and detect’ systems for micro-signals are skewed and can keep us in a self-fulfilling prophecy until we figure out these patterns
If you're interested, click here