Reflections on Evolutionary Activism

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About the author:
Tom Atlee was raised in a progressive Quaker activist family and left Antioch College in 1968 to do anti-war work. After a decade in a spiritual community, Atlee's peace work led to the 1986 cross-country Great Peace March, a watershed experience of collective intelligence in a self-organized mobile community. That experience inspired him to study innovations that help groups, organizations, and communities function in a collectively intelligent manner. As an integrative thinker, Atlee wove these innovations into coherent theories of holistic intelligence and wise democracy.

In 1996 Atlee founded the non-profit Co-Intelligence Institute and in 1998 created its vast and very popular website,, including many materials on using social crises for personal and social transformation.

His activism ceased to be partisan and became targeted at increasing the ability of society to make wise decisions on all the issues it faces. In 2003 he published THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY: USING CO-INTELLIGENCE TO CREATE A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR ALL. He became a leading figure in the development of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and in its creation of the 2009 "Core Principles of Public Engagement", which is now the leading set of guidelines in the field of citizen participation.

In 2005 he became closely involved with the evolutionary spirituality work of Rev. Michael Dowd and his wife, science writer Connie Barlow. Atlee realized that his co-intelligence work was part of a larger evolutionary development -- the formation of a functioning global life-form embracing nature, humanity, and human technologies.

Atlee sees potential for a more activist, social change dimension in the "conscious evolution" work of Dowd, Barlow, and others, who focus more on celebration, personal development, and shifting the dominant cultural story. Atlee feels that conscious evolution implies a coherent and powerful role for a new form of activism that can stimulate evolutionary leaps in social systems. This led to his 2009 book REFLECTIONS ON EVOLUTIONARY ACTIVISM.

At 62 Atlee lives in a cooperative house in Eugene, Oregon, currently with nine other people, three cats and two dogs. While mostly occupied with his research, writing and networking, he occasionally speaks and advises professionals and officials on group process and community engagement. He enjoys movies, playing guitar and occasionally relaxing in nature.

Reflections on Evolutionary Activism

Essays, poems and prayers from an emerging field of sacred social change

Authored by Tom Atlee

Reflections on Evolutionary Activism contains more than two dozen recent essays and poems by life-long activist Tom Atlee, founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute, to introduce this unique approach to evolutionary activism.

Evolutionary activism goes quite beyond Darwin. Atlee says evolutionary activism is social change work inspired by the 13.7 billion year Great Story of evolution -- a story of unceasing creativity from the Big Bang till now. Evolutionary activists know we are all part of that Story and we are all related because of it. Not only did we all arise from the same early microbes and ape-like ancestors, but we are all made of the atomic dust of first-generation stars and supernovas.

Evolutionary activists know the creative power of the universe is in every one of us and in our (potentially) wise interactions. They also know our social change work can find innovative guidance from the wise dynamics of evolution, knowledge readily available from the ongoing discoveries of evolutionary science.

Activism is part of evolution unfolding today. Evolutionary activists use evolutionary understandings to transform social systems, cultures, and technologies so humanity can use its emerging crises to learn how to maintain a wholesome "fit" with our changing environment.

A 2005 spiritual experience showed Atlee humanity as evolution becoming conscious of itself. "Conscious evolution," however, is more than a peak experience. It is a deep responsibility and mission, one that humbles and inspires evolutionaries as striving to play the evolutionary role they are called to, and to which they call all of us.

In these essays and poems, Atlee proposes a cosmos-inspired "conscious evolution" movement to create a civilization not only sustainable and just, but wisely self-evolving. He vividly explores that movement's worldview, strategies and tactics, noting that it, too, will evolve. His book invites us all as authors of the Great Story of evolution.

Publication Date:
1449597955 / 9781449597955
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
5.25" x 8"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Political Science / Political Advocacy

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