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Archive for Collective Wisdom

Introduction to Magic in the Middle – Part Three

By Finn Voldtofte, 2005

Collective Intelligence – Collective Wisdom
Intelligence here simply means the ability to think – that is to reflect, consider, examine, learn, be absorbed, distinguish … .

The shift in awareness, from the individual to the magic in the middle of a group of people, is also a shift towards paying attention to the emerging ability to think together, the collective intelligence of the group.

A collective intelligence has the possibility of thinking at a different level than we can individually. The characteristics of a collective intelligence can be described intuitively with the words “higher”, “deeper”, “broader”, “bigger” … .

What we gain by making use of this ability to think together, we could call collective wisdom. Collective wisdom is thus a form of knowledge that we, in principle, do not have access to individually, but that can only arise in our common field. As such it is not knowledge that we have in common; it is knowledge that only emerges in communities.

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This is the third of six weekly posts taken from an Introduction to Magic in the Middle written by the late Finn Voldtofte in March of 2005 (click the following links to go directly to Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5, or Part 6).

Finn was one of the original co-founders of the World Café. He worked tirelessly with Juanita Brown to distill and articulate the World Café Design Principles that underlie all World Café practice. Finn was an amazing human being who inspired and touched many, many people on a profound level. His articulation of the “Magic in the Middle” is still one of the most evocative descriptions of what makes World Café “work” and we are honored to publish his words here in this crucial time, when they ring as truly & eloquently as ever

 


World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.


This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares on this post.

Becoming Wiser Together

The most profound gift that I’ve received from the World Café is seeing this “accidental discovery” spread from 24 people in our living room to supporting a global dialogue movement that has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people on six continents as they engage in courageous conversations and wise action around the most critical issues of our time.

I feel honored and blessed that the World Café has enabled me to meet people who care about our common future from all corners of the earth. Experiencing their incredible love, skill and commitment gives me hope that we can face these challenging times in ways that retain our common humanity and show that we CAN become wiser together even as we work across the boundaries that so often divide us.


World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.

This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares.

Conversations among wise Elders

Richard Durning shares about his experiences in hosting “Boomer Cafes”:

“About ten years ago, my wife Lina – an experienced World Cafe practitioner – was about to turn 60.  She, as with many of our circle of family and friends, was frequently in conversation about what this big 6-0 (and beyond) means. These upcoming “golden years” promise to be much different than those of our parents. Our life expectancy is much longer. “How do I spend this bonus time?” “What will our community (ies) look like – certainly not a gated community. And, most of us do not play golf.”
“These conversations beg for a Cafe,” Lina declared.  “We’ll call it a ‘Boomer Cafe’”.

Her invitation was met with a terrific response. We hosted three Boomer Cafe gatherings with over 45 participants. Our questions ranged from post-retirement: “If retirement is not calling you, what are your priorities for your next phase of life?” to our well-being: “How do we take care of ourselves and prepare for inevitable changes in our lives?”and to our future community: “How do we create a community that supports our well-being?”. These questions generated lively exchanges. One participant insisted that she did not want to be “around old people all the time.”

I was fortunate to host a table and witness the elegant simplicity of World Cafe conversations. Within minutes my small groups were in the space of shared inquiry, stories, playfulness and sudden insights. One individual’s comment stood out for me. “Where is ritual?” In the Western world (United States) there is no place for ritual that allows for the celebration, reflection, and acknowledgment of our entering “the third stage.” We can, and should, learn from other cultures that honor their wise elders.

At the end of the third Boomer Cafe, I commented to a fellow host, that I often marvel at the scope of World Cafe – corporations, organizations, governments, and faith communities. Now add another application: Conversations among wise elders.”

Richard Durning

Chicago, IL USA


World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.

This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares.