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The Return of Collective Intelligence

Ancient Wisdom for a World out of Balance

Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Reveals how we can each reconnect to collective intelligence and return our world to wholeness, balance, and sanity

• Explains how collective intelligence manifests in flocks of birds, instantaneous knowing in indigenous peoples, and the power of sacred places

• Offers ways for us to reconnect to the infinite source of wisdom that fuels collective intelligence and underscores the importance of ceremony, pilgrimage, and initiation

• Draws on recent findings in New Paradigm science, traditional teachings from indigenous groups from North, South, and Central America and Siberia, as well as sacred geometry, deep ecology, and expanded states of consciousness

For our ancestors, collective intelligence was a normal part of life. We see it today as the mysterious force that enables flocks of birds, swarms of bees, and schools of fish to function together in perfect synchrony, communicating and cooperating at some undetectable level. At its most subtle, it’s an instantaneous knowing, shared by members of a group, of the wisest course of action that will benefit all.

As Dery Dyer reveals, collective intelligence still resides within each of us, and it is the key to restoring balance and harmony to our world. She shows how it occurs spontaneously when individuals who share a need and a purpose instinctively “self-organize” into a group and function with no leader or central authority. Such groups exhibit abilities much greater than what any of their members possess individually--or what can be replicated with artificial intelligence. Dyer explains, due to an unquestioning dependence on technology, modern humanity has forgotten how to connect with collective intelligence and fallen into collective stupidity, otherwise known as mob mind or groupthink, which is now endangering the interconnected web of life on Earth.

Drawing on recent findings in New Paradigm science, traditional teachings from indigenous groups, as well as sacred geometry, deep ecology, and expanded states of consciousness, the author shows how the ability to think and act collectively for the highest good is hardwired in all living beings. She explains how to release ourselves from enslavement by technology and use it more wisely toward the betterment of all life. Underscoring the vital importance of ceremony, pilgrimage, and initiation, she offers ways for us to reconnect to the infinite source of wisdom that fuels collective intelligence and which manifests everywhere in the natural world.

Revealing that once we relearn how to hear the Earth, we can heal the Earth, Dyer shows how each of us has a vital role to play in restoring our world to wholeness.


Chapter 7. A New Kind of Intelligence

We educators have to remember that formal education is only a very recent addition to a process of learning that has taken place over hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. We must look for ways to connect learning as we see it with those much older roots.
--Robert L. Fried

What David Bohm envisions as a “new kind of intelligence” is in fact ancient. It’s the way our ancestors learned to live in the world before the world became so complex that we needed schools and teachers to interpret it for us.

We once experienced the world directly. Now we learn about it from a remote vantage point many times removed from it. What we’re required to know comes packed in layers of information that only teachers trained in countless diverse areas can decipher.

Knowledge has become so specialized that it can be transmitted only by a hierarchy of initiated intermediaries; in fact, most of us will never be able to acquire even a fraction of the knowledge that makes up our world. We’ve been cut off from our sources of knowing as surely as we’ve been severed from our spiritual guidance.

Tragically, this reinforces the boxes in our brains through which we perceive the world, intensifying our feeling of separation from All That Is.

“Our education has taught us to separate, to compartmentalize, to isolate, and not to join notions together,” say Edgar Morin and Anne Brigitte Kern. “Therefore, it makes us conceive of our humanity as an island, outside the cosmos that surrounds us, outside the physical matter of which we are constituted.”

For Bohm, civilization and the formal education that sustains it robbed us of our ability to perceive the “wholeness of existence.”

“In early times man’s activities were an undivided whole, in which art and science were not separate,” he explains. “Similarly, young children do not tend, of their own accord, to separate such activities. What happens is that they are gradually trained to think, feel, perceive, and act in terms of this kind of separation (as happened to mankind in general with the growth of civilization).”

Contemporary education serves the status quo. But is it equipping us to live in harmony with the Earth and our fellow beings? Is it helping us solve our most urgent problems, or is it simply perpetuating the Old Paradigm . . . and the old problems?

Confined by specialized straitjackets, our fragmented modern minds are simply too limited, their focus too narrow, to come up with anything but fragmentary solutions--which is undoubtedly why our problems are not only persisting, but growing. And it’s why many new thinkers are taking a closer look at old ways of learning.

We Can’t Not Learn

Modern educators struggle to teach. But traditional people and the new science insist that we can’t not learn.

Watch a kitten, puppy, baby bird, or human child: they are driven by curiosity to know their world. Sometimes, their curiosity gets them in trouble--but if they manage to survive their more hazardous encounters with life, they always, inevitably, learn.

“The ability to learn [something new] is a principle common to the whole of humanity,” David Bohm says. “Thus, it is well known that a child learns to walk, to talk, and to know his way around the world just by trying something and seeing what happens, then modifying what he does (or thinks) in accordance with what has actually happened. In this way, he spends his first few years in a wonderfully creative way, discovering all sorts of things that are new to him.

“As the child grows older, however, learning takes on a narrower meaning. In school, he learns by repetition to accumulate knowledge, so as to please the teacher and pass examinations.”

Education professor Robert L. Fried insists that the desire to learn “must surely be as strong as any impulse within the human soul. Children cannot not learn.”

Adults cannot not learn, either. Curiosity continues to drive human behavior throughout life, and when unfettered, can lead the learner in unimagined directions.

Curiosity leads naturally to the kind of group interaction that produces collective intelligence. When people come together in curiosity rather than certainty, magic happens. Sources of deep wisdom are tapped; totally new ideas and solutions emerge.

“This permanent movement of searching creates a capacity for learning not only in order to adapt to the world but especially to intervene, to re-create, and to transform it,” writes Paulo Freire. “Curiosity as restless questioning, as movement toward the revelation of something hidden, as a question verbalized or not, as search for clarity, as a moment of attention, suggestion, and vigilance, constitutes an integral part of being alive. There could be no creativity without the curiosity that moves us and sets us patiently impatient before a world that we did not make, to add to it something of our own making.”

Good News, Bad News

Discoveries in neurobiology confirm that we can’t not learn. Biologist Humberto Maturana showed that all living organisms become “structurally coupled” to their environment at a cellular level; we are “hard-wired” to learn, easily, naturally, and continuously.

“We have ignored for half a century or more the studies that show some 95 percent of all a child’s learning or ‘structures of knowledge’ form automatically in direct response to interactions with the environment,” writes Joseph Chilton Pearce, “while only about 5 percent form as a result of our verbal teaching or intellectual instruction.”

The good news is that we can learn everything we need to know in spite of what Freire calls “the banking system of education” in the industrialized world. The bad news is that some of what we’re “structurally coupling” to may end up threatening our eventual survival. We’ll be looking more closely at this in Part Two.

About The Author

Dery Dyer was former editor and publisher of Costa Rica’s award-winning English-language newspaper, The Tico Times, where she worked for over 40 years. She held degrees in literature and journalism from U.S. and Costa Rican universities and studied indigenous spirituality in many different parts of the world. She lived in Costa Rica.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (January 7, 2020)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591433538

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Raves and Reviews

“Pachamama, Mother Earth, is speaking--and we are awakening to her message. The collective intelligence described in this beautiful book delves into the magic of the wisdom we hold deep inside--individually and collectively.”

– John Perkins, author of The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Shapeshifting

“At this critical, uncertain time in history, building interdependence and community resilience is crucial. To do this effectively, we need to bust out of our mental straitjackets and breathe in the freedom of collective intelligence. Dery Dyer’s exciting book is at the leading edge of how to do just that!”

– Bill Pfeiffer, author of Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture

“We need to draw on our collective intelligence, and we need to realize that the best way of doing so is to ‘re-cognize’ the intelligence that resides in each of us. Dery Dyer’s book tells us why and how. A must-read in our critical times.”

– Ervin Laszlo, Ph.D., philosopher and author of Science and the Akashic Field

“A compelling weaving of story, science, and mysticism that will help you remember who you are and the potential within and all around you. Dyer shows us how to release conditioning and misperception to see from the eyes of the heart and to root into primordial rhythms. She guides us into the mystery--to live in harmony with the Earth and the sacred circle of all life.”

– Llyn Cedar Roberts, award-winning author of Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness

The Return of Collective Intelligence is much more than a book--it is a Michelin-star mind meal at what could arguably be humanity’s last supper. Dery Dyer has dished out a veritable smorgasbord. This beautifully crafted, highly readable ride through the latest literature and research on collective intelligence brings clarity while delivering a challenge to our hearts that (she rightly tells us) our intellects alone cannot answer--how do we cultivate wisdom in this information age? Dyer skillfully offers a clearer lens through which to evaluate the usefulness and limitations of our social networks and digital media platforms. By directing us to indigenous wisdom and Great Nature as the sanctuary and source of collective intelligence, her words ring the golden truth bell in our hearts. Our collective intelligence contains the resources required to right our world through love, empathy, and connection, if we act together. This is the promise and hope provided by the title of this work. May our collective intelligence indeed return, and quickly! Dery Dyer has certainly done her part to make it so.”

– Elizabeth B. Jenkins, author of The Return of the Inka, Journey to Q’eros, and The Fourth Leve

“A richly textured tapestry, artfully woven from widely disparate threads of human experience--from ancient civilizations to modern medicine, education, and quantum science. If you harbor any doubt about the essential intra-connectedness of life across space-time, and that we are designed for the sole purpose of co-creating the magical TOGETHER, Dery Dyer’s engaging narrative will relieve you of it!”

– Christina Strutt, principal thinking partner at CoCreating Clarity

“I breezed through this book during the 24 hours when I was in the midst of tech-savvy people conferring about the internet’s future. My neural excitation surpassed my ability to stay grounded in wisdom about who to be and what to do! I’m endorsing The Return of Collective Intelligence as a prompt for our fieldwork-- to utilize Dery Dyer’s great integration that stretches across times and cultures. The words on these pages are a robust pod for passing, the best collection I’ve seen--but how do we choose to live, applying what we learn? Please, let’s not go back to sleep.”

– Joan Lederman, steward of the Collective Wisdom Initiative

"The optimistic title of Dery’s book reflects a belief that ‘with the return of collective intelligence, the promise of an incredibly exciting new world is real. And it’s doable. In spite of the disastrous legacy humans have left up to now, there’s hope."

– Geoff Ward,

"In The Return of Collective Intelligence, Dyer sets out an ambitious agenda for all of us to get out of the mental boxes that have conditioned us into believing that we are part of a mechanistic universe and embrace what indigenous wisdom and increasingly modern science tells us: that we are all part a flow of cosmic energy which transcends the ego-driven self and embodies a greater cosmic 'Self.'"

– -John McPhaul, ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America

The Return of Collective Intelligence is a well-crafted piece of work, referred to by others (and I agree) as an example of longform journalism as much as anything. This isn't surprising, since author Dery Dyer is, both by education and profession, a journalist. I didn't do a hard count but it's safe to say half the book or more is putting context to quotes from more than 200 sources. A very compelling argument is constructed, carefully, building one piece upon another until a very persuasive case for the need to get all of humanity in tune with the collective intelligence of (by and large) our indigenous forebears.”

– Patricia Mullen, Facing North

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