Gift economy


Cadeau happy_smurf_334x400

It will be almost four years since I chose to live in the gift economy (I plunged in 100% in September 2011). Four years, many adventures on seas sometimes calm sometimes windy, and especially a beautiful acquired experience that I enjoy sharing in the series of articles that will follow. I hope that this will also answer, at least in part, to the many letters I receive. Many people are wondering, some would like to live this experience partially or completely, which requires a lot of technicality. The gift economy can not be improvised.

Precisely, this first article is first of all “technical”. It lays the foundation and key concepts of the gift economy. Then, I will be able to talk to you about my personal experience, my failures and successes, the things I learned and the questions this raises today.

But let’s start from the beginning …

What is the gift economy?

The gift economy implies that a person A offers a wealth to a person B, without that person B having to give a consideration.

Naïve the Smurfs? Not that much. Read “The Financial Smurf”, remarkable!

It is often said that one gives without waiting and without counting … Nothing more wrong. The gift certainly implies that there is no counterpart requested (unlike the market economy), however there is always a context in which a donation is made. A party, a birthday, the desire to help, a gesture of love, a transmission between generations, the social life in a village, a medical act … so many contexts that determine the nature of the gift, its quality as its quantity. We do not give anything to anyone, anytime. If I live in a village, I can decide to help my neighbor repair his roof, will I offer him my house? I offer a book to my friend for his birthday, but will I offer him 1 million euros as long as I have them? For my child, on the other hand, I offer my life and my time without counting. At the hospital, I give my blood, on couchsurfing I offer lodging to the traveler. There are circumstances in which one can sacrifice one’s life for others, for love, for ideology, for an act of war or peace, for an act of faith. If I die, I can also offer my organs. One can also give one’s time for a cause … Each example I have just quoted shows the importance of the context as to the nature of the gift. You must never ignore the context.

The market economy

schtroumpf_financier_vente_pain_800x388The market economy involves what is called the counterpart condition. A gives a wealth to B provided that B returns an equivalent wealth, otherwise the transaction is not made. Note that the market economy also includes barter. The two protagonists must agree on the equivalence of the wealth they exchange, which may give rise to negotiation or bargaining. The final price, or the nature of the final agreement in case of barter, is determined by the balance of tensions.

The market economy can take place with or without money. If it takes place with a currency, the latter can exist in the form of money (the type of money we know based on the debt, and in which we grew up), or with other monetary forms that remain to be invented ( see “Towards the post-money society“). If you use money, then it’s called a rare currency. Scarcity will then fan competition, hoarding, concentration of wealth and power. Money is an appropriate technology for a human society with pyramidal collective intelligence, which is precisely about market economy, competition and scarcity. I anticipate that the shift to holomidal collective intelligence will occur with the birth of post-money technologies that will foster sharing and cooperation, without taking away the benefits that competition can bring when it is fertile.

The language of the gift economy

Jargon financier (anglais)Nous grandissons, nous vivons, nous mangeons, nous dormons dans le paradigme de l’économie de marché. Il constitue notre paysage quotidien que nous décrivons au moyen de centaines de mots, termes et concepts : achat, vente, remise, marge, chiffre d’affaires, impôts, travail, salaire, charges, bénéfices, pertes, intérêt, crédit, propriété, actions, parts, dette, emprunt, taux, parité, bons, monnaie, argent, billets, cartes de crédit, payant, gratuit, ROI, levier, loyer, thésaurisation, investissement, amortissement, EBITDA, OPA, Bourse, valeurs, obligations, OPCVM, liquidités, spéculation, produits dérivés, broker, trading, coûts de latence, data snooping, et tant d’autres…

We grow, we live, we eat, we sleep in the paradigm of the market economy. It is our daily landscape that we describe through hundreds of words, terms and concepts: buying, selling, handing over, margin, turnover, taxes, labor, salary, expenses, profits, losses, interest, credit, property, shares, shares, debt, loan, rate, parity, bonds, currency, money, notes, credit cards, paying, free, ROI, leverage, rent, hoarding, investment, depreciation, EBITDA, takeover, stock market, stocks, bonds, UCITS, liquidity, speculation, derivatives, broker, trading, latency costs, data snooping, and many others …

How many words do we have to qualify the economy of giving?

Less than a dozen. And still, imprecise and vague for the most part. They even have a connotation of nice, idealistic Bisounours (or Smurfs). The articles found here and there on the subject, including wikipedia, betray this blur and the lack of theoretical and practical experience of the authors. Unclear and vague, they borrow their words from the market economy. For example, we speak of exchange while it is about gift, and one confuses without complex gift and gratuitousness. The “experts” on the subject go so far as to evoke the notion of gift and counter-gift, so much the spirit can not escape the market and the debt.

This confusion reaches its climax in the word “wealth” or “rich”. If I designate someone as wealthy, everyone will think of their bank account. Who will think of the most essential wealth, that of happiness, that of self-realization? In most modern cultures, one confuses rich and money. The consequences of this ontological confusion seem to me very destructive on the social and psychical levels.

To give you a picture of our lack of vocabulary, we behave in the face of the gift economy, like car manufacturers trying to describe an airplane. Even if there are intersections, the vocabulary and concepts of auto mechanics will never describe a plane, let alone fly it. We must develop a new science, that of aeronautics, with its names, its laws, its formulas, its definitions. In the same way, the language of the market economy will never be able to describe and make the gift economy work. We need a “science” of the gift economy and, more broadly, an economic science that transcends that of money and debt, which today predominates.


Yet the gift economy offers a range of possibilities far superior to that of the market economy, a bit like aviation compared to the automobile where we move to 3D in relation to 2D. The gift economy allows to build more wealth, it carries a multidimensionality that is not found elsewhere, it offers a more holistic and integrative societal model of the individual in the collective and the collective in the individual. But as long as we do not have the language to describe it and make it work other than in small committees, the gift economy will have no chance of existing on a large scale.

There is therefore everything to invent to describe this paradigm, its mechanisms, its social engineering, its technical infrastructure. One of the primary tasks of my adventure is therefore to put precise words, definitions and concepts to describe this other reality.

A few words to start …

The mini glossary below will give you definitions as I use them in the context of collective intelligence, which includes, of course, the question of currencies and wealth technologies.


The management and regulation of wealth. This definition goes well beyond, and more universally, than the “production, distribution, exchange and consumption of goods and services”, as indicated by wikipedia. Larousse, for its part, uses the term “riches” rather than “services”, but it is also confined to the notions of “production, distribution, exchange and consumption”, which implicitly confines us to only material wealth. In my definition of economics, we are talking about wealth in the broadest sense possible, which includes non-material wealth. To distinguish this term from its former meaning, I also speak of integral wealth.

Gift economy Economy operating on the act of offering and receiving unconditional consideration.
Market economy Economy operating on the condition of counterpart, that of giving a wealth equivalent to what we receive, otherwise the exchange does not take place.
Gift “Gift” does not mean “exchange”. If, by giving something, you expect something in return (another “gift”, consideration, love, reputation …), then you operate in a dynamic different from that of the gift. Similarly, if when you are offered something, you feel in debt, then you continue to operate in a form of exchange. Donation means giving or receiving without consideration, think context. What context do you offer or receive? Clarify this with your peers and with yourself.
Gratitude Gratitude and recognition are the keystone of the gift economy. I like this english (and new) term of giftism, difficult to translate into french. You can receive a gift and want to express your gratitude, whether it’s saying “thank you” or offering another gift. I insist: it is absolutely not an exchange.
Holopticism Coming from Greek roots holos (all) and optikè (see), Holoptism implies “seeing everything”. Imagine playing a team sport. You have constant access to the “everything”, what is happening holistically on the ground. You see your team as a living entity, as well as the opponent. Moreover, what makes a good player comes as much from his technical ability to play the ball as its quality “holoptician”, that of understanding and seeing this all. It requires some training. Now imagine living in a small village. You know what you can offer and receive, because you have constant access to everything. You feel the balance of things, what you can give and not give. You feel if an action will not only help a person, but also contribute to the general wealth, wealth you will benefit from. Holoptism offers this extraordinary property that connects the individual to the whole, and the whole to the individual, allowing dialogue and permanent adjustments. It makes possible the saving of the gift (as explained below). See more advanced definition in English.
Free / paying These words do not belong to the language of the gift economy. They belong to the market economy to distinguish what one pays from what is transmitted “without paying” (often to buy something else behind). But I insist – and I know it takes a lot of time to integrate – donating does not mean free. Don means … gift. The gift engages efforts, manifestations of a whole lot of immaterial wealth so that it can take place. We do not give without this famous context of which I spoke to you above. For example, when a company asks me to help, I set very strict conditions for the context (I’ll talk about this in more detail). However, I do not ask them to pay me or give me anything in exchange.
Wealth All that brings us closer to the beautiful, the good, the true. See conferences on the subject.
Integral wealth Integral wealth includes all forms of wealth: mobile, measurable, orderly, and enuncible. See conferences on the subject.

Holoptism as a condition of the gift economy

It is necessary that the individual has a clear perception of the community in which he evolves to feel well what he can give and receive.

The gift economy is practiced naturally in the context of original collective intelligence (village, sports team, jazz band, family …), that of the small group where everyone sees and perceives themselves. When I give or receive, I know the impact that it has for me as for the collective to which I belong, which allows Holoptism. Holoptism exists as a natural property on a small scale; nature has equipped us with a biological information system – our senses and our current brain – that allows us to see the collective in which we evolve. Rather than a primary vision like that of a physical object, it is a representation, a complex construction that is elaborated in our cognitive space. Most mammals, as well as some migratory birds, have this ability. What makes a good player in a sports team is as much in his ability to play the ball well as to represent everything in his mind. This allows him to build symbiotic actions with the team, actions that can be seen as forms of donations offered and received (we do not “bill” the km ran or efforts invested).

There is no gift economy without holoptism.

From holoptism to panoptism, towards the market economy

Peinture murale de la tombe de Djehutihotep
Peinture murale de la tombe de Djehutihotep

When we become too numerous and at a distance from each other, we lose holoptism, we move on to panoptism, which results in centralized and pyramidal mechanisms of control and regulation. Imagine society as a mountain. Those from above see everything but without the detail, those from below see the detail but without the overall vision, with all the intermediaries between the two. The panoptic society, which characterizes the pyramidal collective intelligence, is constructed with presbyopes and nearsightedness. This relative blindness thus makes us lose holoptism, consequently, our natural capacity to live in the gift.

The market economy is part of this evolution, with the arrival of the pyramidal collective intelligence. Its advent has allowed large collectives to organize, entire civilizations to be born, with their castes, their social classes, their centralized powers, their chains of command. Money has made it possible for the circulation of wealth on a large scale, where the economic equilibrium is maintained by the market, the counterpart condition at each exchange.

The market economy extends well beyond our immediate sensory perception; the village becomes city, country, continent, planet. Macro, conceptual, abstract, immense, transcendent, too vast for the individual mind, many theories have tried to demonstrate that the market economy enjoyed its own balance. We lend him the famous “invisible hand” that regulates and arranges everything. Here we have all the characteristics of an egregore, if not a religion. But more pragmatically, behind the invisible hand, we find above all concentrated powers in the hands of a few, on scales of which very few people have idea. Who today realizes the level of concentration of wealth and power? It’s beyond the imagination. The rare money-based market economy is the DNA of the pyramidal collective intelligence. Without this dynamic, it can not exist. Our states, our current constitutions, human rights, are based on these cultural notions of property, labor, market, signatures of pyramidal collective intelligence. A paradigm that claims, wrongly it seems to me, the “natural right”.

While it undoubtedly represented a necessary step in the evolution of mankind, the market economy based on rare money today shows not only its limits, but its toxic and destructive aspects for life and the planet. All riches are not sold or bought, far from it, and the word “wealth” can not be reduced to material commodities alone. Let us add that the flow of life on earth – resources, energy – can not simply be content to follow the market and money routes that all converge on megacities and major economic centers. Life needs to follow its own flow, more complex and holistic. The Human has no alternative but to move on to the next stage – probably the next one – which will build its reality on a new language constituting a new reality, the language of the flows and the integral wealth. What I work for, with passion and patience. But I am conscious of oversimplifying here, while it would require lengthy explanations, step by step.

And some corrections …

At the margin, the gift economy?

This may seem odd to some, but the gift economy is the first form of economy we learn, the oldest and most natural. It begins with the family where, as far as I know, we do not get what we give and what we receive. It then extends into the extended community, the village, the school, the sports team, the friends … The gift economy is the oldest social form we know, the one in which our cognitive structures and relationships work best. We will see why.

The majority of people think that the gift economy lives on the margins of the market economy. Worse: they believe that the gift can exist thanks to the dynamism of the market. Let’s grow, earn a lot of money, we can offer it through charitable actions … Similarly, social solidarity (taxes, social security …) is it not based on ‘market economy ?

There is a terrifying mistake behind these beliefs. It can be forgiven for the fact that everyone lives in the little bubble market where everyone sees lunch at the door of his shop. To forgive, without accepting it.

“What do you think of a compromise? We keep the land, the right to deposits, natural resources, wood, and we recognize you as their traditional owners.”

In fact, the market economy lives thanks to the gift economy. The market economy exists because the trees offer their fruits, because the land offers its resources and men take ownership of them, because one day, men have landed in new places and declared them their property, because that men and organizations also claim ownership of what they discover (research, data, process, etc.). The market economy represents a very small portion of the economy in general, as long as we define the economy as the management and regulation of wealth (not the management of scarcity). We can look at this from every angle, there is always an original flight that, one day, made the market possible. We take ownership, then we sell.

I have no judgment on this “original flight” or this “appropriation”. I simply believe that one must honestly understand existence and dynamics as a phase of history and evolution. A more advanced consciousness sees archaisms that must be left today.


Without money, the gift economy?

This, I hear all the time: “you live in the economy of the gift, it means that you do not use money?”. False, it has nothing to do. Money represents a wealth like the others that can be offered and received as gifts. So the money I use today comes exclusively from donations, I do not win, in the sense of conquering it through a sale or negotiation. He comes in gratitude, and that enchants my heart.

Free, the gift economy?

False too, as specified in the definitions above. Free and paid belong to the paradigm of the market economy. When the sale and the purchase disappear, the free-paying duality disappears too.

Yet I hear people trying to say that they do things “for free”. They hurt themselves and they hurt the wealth they offer by devaluing them. Giving means knowing how to clarify the context, the one I mentioned above. If you give or receive, do it in a context always clear for you as for others. If you want to operate in the gift economy, get rid of the words “free” and “paid”.

Jam for …?

Père Noël chevauchant un cochon

To use the term “consecrated”, I have seen too many people being exhausted by giving jam to the pigs (and God knows that I love pigs, sentient beings that we massacre without complexes). By offering, and still offering, they are pleasing to themselves (people, not pigs), they follow an ideation of a world that needs them, which flatters their ego. This illusion ends one day or another by a lamentable moral state, where one feels exhausted, misunderstood, in need of recognition, in the face of an ungrateful world. This posture of unconscious or compulsive generosity embodies the feminine syndrome, which gives, gives, gives, until exhaustion, without the voracious “mouths” around the situation. Needless to say, the opposite counterpart of this feminine syndrome – the masculine syndrome – is found in the obsession of conquest and possession that characterizes the market economy through rare money.

In other words, the gift economy requires as much to practice empathy and care – the feminine one – as the rigor and practice of limits – the masculine. We must learn to give and receive in consciousness, which brings us once again to the clarity of the context.

What about large scale?

Until now, we could not develop the large-scale gift economy because we did not know how to create holoptism on a large scale. But in recent years, the arrival of the internet, social media, socialwares and communitywares has shown that large collectives based on the gift economy could exist. Some examples: wikipedia, couchsurfing, freecycle, thingiverse, and of course many MMOGs that open the way to gamification. Play Ingress, for example, and you’ll understand.

The post-money technologies I work on with others transcend the duality of the gift / market. They will allow any collective, small or large, local or global, to define its own tools to organize, share, produce its wealth, in market mode or donation. Utopic this economic biodiversity? Explain to me then how does the internet work if not on an immense biodiversity of technologies allowing to organize the human experience?


So much for the outline. In my next article, I will tell you about my more personal journey. See you soon !


schtroump_financier_riche_839x374Schtroumpf financier tout seul




Evolve the We, Evolve the I

Please activate English subtitles

I gave this keynote conference October 24th, 2013 in Marseille for the opening of a big convention with 3000 CEOs and senior managers. Twelve minutes (actually, a little more, fourteen), to talk about our inner evolution in a world where everyone talks mostly about technology and external change.

Maybe the next humanity stands one breath away?



Pioneering Humanity – A Conference in India

During my trip to Auroville, India, December 2014, I gave a conference about collective intelligence and my research work in exploring new ways to exist and evolve consciousness. This conference has different parts, from external objective science to empirical exploration I do at the personal level.

Keywords: #aurobindo, #auroville, #CollectiveIntelligence, #breathing, #conscisouness, #economy, #e-prime, #GiftEconomy, #food, #holomidal, #innovation, #internet, #InvisibleArchitectures, #ontology, #OpenSource, #PyramidalCollectiveIntelligence, #SocialCodes, #soul, #spirituality, #technology, #wealth, #wisdom

Collective Intelligence – a New Research Field

In this first part you will hear the great story about collective intelligence. How did it evolve through the ages, where does it go today? This part focuses on the external objective aspects of my scientific research: facts, data, words.


Evolving the We in the I

The second part of the conference offers a more complex –and deeper– understanding of collective intelligence by addressing how the collective operates in the self, how the “we” plays in the “I”. Hence the fact that we see many collectives that evolve lot’s of external aspects such as technology or governance, but people still carry, like holograms, the social dna of the old society: same social codes, same wealth technology (money), same language, same food, same relationship with the body, same beliefs (doxa), same relationship to time, etc. My research has lead me to explore and deconstruct this social dna and explore new possibilities. I share some examples in the videos below.


Language carries lot’s of archaic forms of consciousness in the way it builds reality in our individual and collective psyche. Unveiling these archaic forms and deciding whether we get rid of them of evolves them helps make important evolutionary steps, individually and collectively. Here I share the example of speaking in e-prime (not using the verb “to be”).


Social Codes

No social code exist randomly. No matter how unconsciously we perpetuate social codes, they all have a function: perpetuate and maintain a given social order. Evolution means we also question the function of each social code, and decide what we want to keep, get rid of, or evolve. In this part of the conference I share how I changed a few social codes, like breathing before speaking, and the consequences it had on me and around me.



Pyramidal collective intelligence has made market economy its core economic engine. Why? Because gift economy didn’t have the capacity to reach large scales due to the exponential complexity it generates. However now holomidal collective intelligence allows the rise of gift economies at large scale, offering amazing competitive advantages compared to market economy. But it takes a quantum leap to understand and trust the process, a question that I share in this part of the conference.


Food, Technology, Body

Food carries lot’s of social beliefs and binding in it. Food and consciousness walk hand in hand. If one asks this double question: “what does good for me and for the world at the same time?”, then no conventional cuisine today offers a satisfying answer. Evolving the self means evolving the way we eat.

Technology also shapes individual and collective consciousness. We have a different world and reality before and after the invention of fire, of the writing, of the printing press, of flight, of computers, of internet. What consciousness do we cultivate in order to have technology serve us rather than the opposite?

Last but not least, the body plays a key role in invisible architectures. Culture determines in a large manner the relationship we have with or body, how we experience it, how we manifest it. Conventional lifestyle in the pyramidal collective intelligence world places the body in a social and cultural mold. How can we free ourselves and get to live fully our bodily experience? Why should we do that? What consequences?



If we had 3 core ideas to keep in mind, I would pick these ones:

  1. become holoptical
  2. transmute old social dna
  3. reclaim your body


Questions & Answers

People in the public asked a series of fascinating questions, as shared on the time line below.

0:00 – What about languages that don’t use the verb “to be”?

2:10 – In the gift economy, don’t people usually give back to you rather than giving back to someone else?

5:15 – Can we consider an intermediary stage between market economy and gift economy that we could call social entrepreneurship?

9:30 – Question from a sports coach: “I follow my heart by teaching what I love and do the best, however it keeps me binded to  a city, a place where I don’t want to live. If I follow and listen to my heart, how should I deal with this?”

15:10 – How does friendship play in linking the I and the We? What role of social environment in this transformation?

20:00 – Do you know good examples of holomidal collective intelligence?

24:40 – Auroville began with very innovative ideas about education. Unexperienced people applied them, and later more and more of the pyramidal world came in, with money, taxes, etc. So, what do you think about education?

29:10 – 2 questions:
1. What sense do you have about our organization in Auroville ? Does it contribute to holomidal collective intelligence?
2. When you work with companies, what agreements do you propose for groups to change in a soft way?

35:20 – You have yourself evolved towards live (raw) food, but before enough people make such a conscious step, they will end up depleting our current natural resources. What do you think about that?

37:15 – You’ve spoken about collective intelligence and shared about things you do at the personal level. How do you do the two things combined together, the personal and the collective?


A big thank you to Bruno and Damien for capturing this conference, and to Joel for the sound engineering.


Evolutionary Boot Camps

Evolutionary Boot Camps offer a training space for humanonauts who want to pioneer the next humanity. This project has grown inside me for the past 3-4 years. Now time has come…

NOTE: the first Evolutionary Boot Camp will take place in Bali, April 11-17 2016. Details here.

A little bit of context

Our species evolves, so does the way society organizes itself. And so does collective intelligence. We transition from thousands of years of pyramidal collective intelligence (top-down, centralized, market and money based…) towards holomidal collective intelligence (distributed, local and global, based on mutualist economy…). More and more people pioneer new ways to exist individually and collectively, from energy to education, from science to healthcare, from ecology to food (as expressed in trailer The New Republics).


Levels of consciousnessOn that same evolutionary wave, many people take the journey of personal growth. Sociology offers a precise scrutiny of this evolution, for instance through the rise of cultural creatives (Ray & Anderson). Maps of stages of consciousness (Wilber, Aurobindo, Gebser, Graves) show also a clear rise of consciousness on the planet, leading to more and more people wanting to interconnect and build societies and organizations that reflect their being and their values. We can also see a shift from rational societies to transrational societies (they include rationality, but transcend it to go beyond its limitations).

Individual evolution doesn’t provide many clues on how to build an enlightened society. Many people have pioneered a specific sector in the doing side, like permaculture, ecology, sustainable economies, renewable energy, software, schools, etc. But how do we put the pieces together? How do we design thriving societies from that? How do we activate individual evolution in making evolved collectives?

In my trips around the world, I see the same pattern reproducing again and again: evolved people keep reproducing the same old society together, and they suffer from it. It operates like if some hidden old social DNA kept the old society alive, with its limitations, regardless the work on personal growth and the breakthroughs in external technologies. Something seems to operate independently.

After years of research, I came to realize that the “we” that operates through the individual hasn’t evolved very much. Spiritual traditions have focused on liberating the “I” –the self– as a primary condition for liberating the We. Yet they haven’t addressed that part of the “we” –society– that perpetuates itself through the I, now time has come to take the challenge.

For instance, by writing this page in English, I use a collective tool: language. All languages contain multiple layers of archaic forms of consciousness by the very way they describe reality. They perpetuate the use of old maps and archaic, if not violent, forms of consciousness. Evolving language certainly evolves the we.

Another example: conventional money. This very old technology supports pyramidal collective intelligence very well. Because money concentrates itself in the hands of a few, it serves societies that need to rely on competition, market based economies, centralized power, i.e. pyramidal collective intelligence. It doesn’t serve holomidal collective intelligence, based on distributed networks and mutualist economy. Shifting to such an economy requires we build a technology better than money. A technology that makes us see integral wealth, a language of flows. It will evolve the We and its consciousness in a magnitude that no one can imagine today.

One last example (among so many others): social codes. Social codes never exist randomly. They have a purpose. They keep the societal structure alive and protect it. For instance standard conversations don’t leave space for silence, deep breath, meditation. We “take the floor”, we want people to listen to what we have to say, or push. Because of their speed, conventional conversations make us operate on automatic pilot. They protect our integrity and they mostly operate from the mental. Wisdom driven conversations and transrational based conversations, require a whole other set of social codes to support them. The 6 agreements that include a deep breath before speaking, for instance, offer an architecture that support the emergence of wisdom in conversations.

For years I have given 3 days seminars on collective intelligence. They offered an initiation based on an integral approach involving body, mind and spirit. I have trained hundreds of persons to evolve their body, their language, the way they use technology or see the world. It has contributed to spreading and growing awareness and knowledge about this new discipline. Although I kept saying and writing that one shouldn’t attend these seminars for personal development, most people kept coming for this motive. Many of them faced a “transition crisis” and wanted to invent a new life for themselves, clean the bad old contracts they had with the conventional world, and embody another world via their own choices and lifestyle.

Noble motives, but not sufficient.

Pioneering the next society and the next consciousness requires much more than a personal therapeutic shift. It requires the spirit of an fierce explorer giving 100% of his/her energy and attention. To make a long story short, although collective intelligence seminars served lot’s of people, they didn’t contribute to train the fierce pioneers that the world to come needs.

So, late 2011, I stopped giving seminars. I realized I had to invent a better and more powerful architecture for these spaces, evolve my communication, and become super selective. This question really helped me: what kind of design does it take to train ourselves as humanonauts of the next evolutionary leap?

Just think of an astronaut who prepares himself/herself to travel to a new planet or galaxy, and you get the real picture.

From Astronaut to Humanonaut

Imagine you dream to travel into space to discover and inhabit new universes. Because of their own physics and topology, these virgin worlds offer many possibilities to reinvent life. New civilizations can grow there from a clean start. You feel an irresistible attraction for the journey. You want to become an astronaut who will pioneer these worlds.

"Sometimes George thinks he is an astronaut"Could you do that on your spare time? Would reading books on personal development do the job? Of course not. You know that becoming an astronaut will ask for every single piece of your will, your courage, your attention, your energy and your time. You will have to leave everything in order to commit to the journey. If you have a family, then you will need to make an agreement with them so they support you unconditionally.

Before getting into the spacecraft, you will follow a long and extensive preparation –physical, mental, psychological and, in many regards, spiritual. You will learn how to make the right decisions in unknown and sometimes risky environments, you will prepare yourself to face every possible scenario and provide appropriate responses, you will master zillions of techniques and technologies. You will train yourself to keep cool in situations that would drive anyone crazy or frozen by fear. Although this training and journey may terrify many people, you love it because it makes you thrive. You made your dharma of it.

Becoming a humanonaut that explores and embodies the next humanity requires the very same intensity of training and commitment as an astronaut.

Boot Camps for Humanonauts

So, what will we do in evolutionary boot camps? I guess you have the concept now: train and play. These boot camps will give you an overview of the journey you can take to prepare yourself for the next humanity. No one in these boot camps will tell you what you should do in the future and the kind of person you should become. You will train with other fellows so you can build great capacities to invent the future.


  • We will learn the fundamentals of collective intelligence and the language for social engineering.
  • We will contemplate the arrow of evolution that manifests via our individual and collective consciousness.
  • We will envision possible worlds that want to come into existence.
  • We will intensively train our bodies for some hours everyday so that everything we learn or unlearn becomes fully embodied.
  • We will explore new technologies and see how we can hack them or design them in order to provide the right infrastructure for the world we want.
  • We will explore how the old social DNA perpetuates itself through language, food, social codes, technology, time, culture, the body, the doxa.
  • We will practice new architectures for new social DNA through language, food, social codes, etc.
  • We will see how we create architectures that support higher forms of consciousness, individually and collectively.

Evolutionary boot camps will last for 7 full days. It doesn’t include arrival and departure, they must happen the days before and the day after the event.

Can we learn all these things in just 7 days? Of course not. Didn’t I write that becoming a humanonaut requires a 24/7 involvement? However these 7 days will give you enough tools and context to decide whether you want to embark on the full time journey for yourself. Not for me or any specific organization. For yourself.

What will come next? I have no idea. You will decide. Everyone will decide. Maybe a movement will emerge. Or a global boot camp. Or nothing. I have no agenda, I invite you to trust the process, as I do.

The week will have 2 parts:

  1. Days 1-4: intensive training, as described above.
  2. Days 5-7: we continue the training and the group has open spaces to reflect on the “what next?”, for you, for others.


Attending an evolutionary boot camp means you match and agree with every criteria listed below:

  • You fill in this form to explain why you want to attend.
  • You have a super physical condition. I mean super. Not as an international athlete, but you should consider running 10km, doing 20 push ups or jumping from 2m high a natural thing. You may have a good level in some sports (martial arts, swimming, rock climbing, marathon, dance, anything…). Intensive training hours don’t scare you.
  • You don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs.
  • You consider yourself as a free person and a free spirit.
  • You have developed artistic skills — music, drawing, writing, filming, circus… anything.
  • You have a strong rational, scientific, intuitive and curious mind.
  • You have solved your main psychological and existential issues. Boot camps will not serve as a space for therapy, healing or just personal development.
  • You experience a deep spiritual journey grounded by a spiritual practice (yoga, meditation, martial arts, shamanism…).
  • You at least eat vegetarian, if not vegan.
  • You agree that during this week you will eat raw organic vegan food.
  • You have a skillful practice of the Internet, such as social media, coding, design, architecture…
  • You have a free life as well as a free spirit. You haven’t entangled yourself in heavy duty life style such as a family life, heavy work position, a house to pay for the next 20 years, etc.
  • Breaking old social codes also includes exploring other possibilities with the body, such as nakedness. You feel okay with it.
  • If people tell you that Boot Camps hide a secret sect under the control of a guru, and you fear this for real, please don’t register. It means you haven’t built enough autonomy to trust your own judgment and to experience that freedom depends exclusively on you.
  • You speak fluent English — I mean fluent, not school level.
  • You agree that I will coach you during this whole week and you trust my leadership on this. At least for a week.
  • If I see you as a possible candidate for the boot camp, you agree we have a one-to-one interview so I can sense your deep motivation and you can ask all the questions you want.


I will not organize evolutionary boot camps myself. You will organize them, from finding the place to calculating the costs, to dealing with logistics (accommodation, food, cooking, travel…), to distributing everyone’s role and setting up the support system. It demonstrates your capacity to make things happen. It also makes clear that we don’t make yet another class for personal development or spiritual tourism. Boot camps belong to the DIY philosophy.

We begin with an interview together. We will get to know each other. I will ask about your motivation, leadership and the role you want to take in setting up the event. You can ask all the questions you want.

These boot camps will work with groups of 12-30 people.


Tiny EarthBoot camps can take place anywhere on the planet. From Patagonia, to Central Manhattan, to the heart of India, to Hogwarts.

Boot camps should take place in spaces that embody the values we hold: ecological, beautiful, spiritually grounded.

The place should have the capacity to host daytime activities for everyone — from indoor/outdoor physical play (depends on the climate), to computer work, to meals, to meditation circles. If the place can’t host everyone during the night, then the close neighborhood should offer complementary facilities.

The place should have a very good internet connection.

How much?

Boot camps rely on the gift economy. It means:

  • I offer you my work, my experience and my time. I only ask the group to support my travel expense + food + accommodation.
  • In the end you can make a conscious gift. Not as a debt or duty, but from gratitude if you experience it. A gift to me, or to anyone else in the world. The philosophy consists in keeping the chain of kindness alive.
  • On top of your travel expense, you will likely have to invest some conventional money for accommodation and food, unless someone also offered these things to the boot camp.

Imagination and inner autonomy always help find practical solutions. For instance you may organize a conference for me that pays for the trip. Or your aunt has a chateau she wants you and your circle to enjoy. Or your best friend has extra air miles to spare. Just allow the flow to happen, and it will happen.

How to apply?

  1. Read carefully the criteria above and ask yourself whether they apply to you
  2. Fill in the registration form
  3. Have an interview with me if I select you as a potential candidate

If I don’t select you, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t say anything about your richness and potential as a human being. It just means you don’t match with the specific criteria for this specific boot camp. Maybe next time. Don’t give up if you really want it.

See you soon maybe!


An objective map of evolution of consciousness…


One Breath Away from Evolving?

The I in the Mirror

Climate change breakthrough technology

We speak a lot about human evolution on the technical plane, shaped by a materialistic vision of reality. There comes one of the signatures of pyramidal collective intelligence in which we see and understand the world only through mental dualism.

Although most prospective analysis look relevant, they leave aside the inner evolution of the being that happens in parallel with the external evolution of the world. Did humankind invent fire that changed humankind, or did humankind invent humankind that invented fire? Same question with the writing, the printing press, flight, computers and the Internet. We cannot separate the inner subjective evolution with the outer objective evolution. Which one starts first? We get into the usual chicken and egg question. The subjective being that initiates and the objective being that creates mutually invent themselves in a set of self-reflecting miroirs.

Invisible architectures: where social DNA hides

Nevertheless, pyramidal collective intelligence invests massive amounts of money in technical evolution and everything that can materialize in a product or a service to sell.

Social DNA barcodingBy doing so, it leaves aside the inner evolution of the being. This evolution doesn’t necessarily need years of personal development. Sometimes we just have to change a little bit of code in the invisible architectures that shape us individually through the play of the collective. Invisible architectures apply to most of what defines our behavior: the way we see the world, the way we think or we make decisions. Ontology (the way we build reality through language), money, the doxa (belief system built on obscurantist assumptions), our social construct of time, food, social codes, each of them operate like invisible architectural spaces inside which we swim, like fishes in their bowl. Change one rule in any of these structures, and the whole consciousness can either regress or evolve. It works exactly like changing a gene in a physical body.

Social genetics has become one of my most important discoveries in collective intelligence. I will write, publish and communicate a lot on this theme in the future.

Evolve the We, Evolve the I

In front of 2,800 corporate leaders (Marseille, France, Oct. 2013), I tried to share this idea of evolution through the leverage of invisible architectures, through one example: breathing. I also wrote about this theme in the article United Air Ways. What would happen if, rather than interrupting each other and leaving no space for silence during our conversations, we decide to make a long deep breath before speaking? As you will see, we only change one social code (gene), and from there everything can change radically.

What impact did this talk have? Quite hard to say. My message has probably reached some people at a deeper level. I received a warm feedback, but it doesn’t say anything about how deeply it infuses. I could have shared a softer message, a little less evolutionary. Here I made this choice I make every time: speaking to large audiences doesn’t mean I will dull my talk so it can pass the filters of conventional thinking and receive an applause from everyone. Yes, part can land in everyone’s ear. For the deeper part, more essential, only people who want to overcome doxa, habits, and see through the veil, have a welcoming energy and can contemplate the content more deeply. In think than less than 1% do that.

In Written Words…

Here comes the transcript.

Caveman writing

Voice off: “As one leading the Collective Intelligence Research Institute, Jean-François Noubel can sense it, it is yet a weak signal that forecasts more radical transformations, and each of them begin with a deep personal work.

I have 12 minutes… 12 minutes to share my passion for evolution, for evolution of life, for evolution of consciousness, with the lenses of a new discipline, a new research discipline called collective intelligence. Collective intelligence tries to understand why, how, when we put a certain number of beings together, human beings, plants, animals, ecosystems, something happens, more or less effectively. Sometimes, a whole emerges, like a body, then something magical happens. Magical for the participants of course, magical also because a whole emerges, congruent, with a self-awareness, capable of evolving, moving… Here I mean anything like an enterprise that works well, or this band that we just saw singing, or a large company.
So I have 12 minutes to talk about this passion, at two levels, because on the one hand we have the technology, everything we can see, the objective external side, and on another hand we have a much more difficult aspect, much more invisible, I mean what will change inside of us.
In order to give us an idea about what will shift inside of us, I propose we do a small exercise together. Let me show you first…[deep and long breath]

A long breath.

Why don’t we try together? Ready? Let’s go!

[long collective breath]

Once more…

[long collective breath]

So, what connection? What connection with the evolution of our species?

I should first come back to collective intelligence, and to a travel back in time. We will speak about different forms of collective intelligence through evolution, and I will begin with this one, here, a school of fish… I could have shown an ant colony, or a flock of birds, or one of these big herds of buffalos. This form of collective intelligence, likely the first one that appeared on Earth, we call it “swarm collective intelligence”. One of its main traits, as you can see: the big numbers. Also at the individual level, the individual, in this configuration, doesn’t have a great margin of freedom. The fish follows the school, same thing in a big herd.

So here comes a question: in humanity, do we know it? Does this form of collective intelligence exist in humankind?
Well, not inherently but… sometimes. In a street protest or a big event. Here we have an extraordinary view of New York Marathon. But we know it too –maybe you experienced it no later than this morning– lot’s of people experience it everyday, like this. Indeed, when we drive our car, we don’t have a huge degree of freedom, however at the collective level, something incredible happens: a city fills up and empties every day! Imagine if a team had to plan that! Same with the ant colony.

So, this form of collective intelligence, has amazing capacities as a whole, but it also has limitations. Sometimes it can jam, entire herds can fall off the cliff, etc, etc.

Humans come from another place. They come from here: original collective intelligence. Precisely we call it this way, a tiny number of individuals. At some point it works in the opposite way compared to swarm collective intelligence because here we have a small number of individuals, but every individual has a strong individuation. Humans mostly exist in this configuration, the one we just saw on stage before my talk, wonderful! Let’s take a look at this jazz band. I love this picture because it shows how each and every musician lives his individuation. He knows his art, his instrument, and then he fully meets the others through himself.

It happens at two levels: horizontally, he perceives well what every other musician does, and vertically, he has a knowing of the whole, he can feel it, he can update himself because of it.

Indeed, this has a name: holopticism. I won’t say much about it now, only that it has a name.

The strength of this structure, in collective intelligence, we all know it. Super agile, learning, always adapting, it reconfigures, just take a look at a sports team that adapts itself to the unknown all the time.

But it also has its own limitations, two limitations : number, and distance. Of course, players need to play in a sensorial space where they can perceive each other, and see what everyone does.

So for humanity that has known this for a very long time, with villages, tribes, a crisis happened, a major systemic crisis, a global one at this time. Yes, when agriculture appeared, and when cities started to emerge, with the labor specialization, an explosion of complexity happened, and some sort of quantum leap needed to happen. Here humanity invented an incredible technology: the writing, that allowed to escape from oral proximity, from oral tradition, to evolve towards big civilizations. Egyptian civilization, Mesopotamian, Chinese, Mayan, etc. Each time, we see this same structure constituted with casts. A living God at the top, and below the high priesthood and nobility. Below, the artisans, the merchants, and below again we find farmers and herders. And at the very bottom, a mass, open to ruthless exploitation, slaves, villains, Untouchables, etc.

Of course it has evolved. Nowadays we wouldn’t represent it this way: a large company works with a board of directors. So we see small groups of original collective intelligence. Then they organize themselves in pyramid, with departments, services, etc. And who has never experienced the silos effect in large companies?

Speaking of strength and weaknesses, the great strength of pyramidal collective intelligence, comes from its capacity to put together thousands and even millions of people.

In the music realm, we see this great strength in a symphonic orchestra. A couple of days ago, when I prepared my slides, my son told me: “Dad, I can draw what you can’t find on the Net” I wanted to see a chief orchestra, he did this. So thanks to him, thanks to Estéban. He really understood the concept.

The strengths and weaknesses of this pyramidal collective intelligence, we hit them hard today, I think this image shows it well, the one of the Titanic or a big liner. The strength, we can also find it in the image… Here we have an extraordinary technology, that drives and transports people, a great number of people from one corner of the planet to the other. At the same time, an error in the command, or a criminal intent, and it can turn into a catastrophe.

It shows that pyramidal collective intelligence has a very very low resilience. If something does wrong in the head, everything can collapse.

It has a poor adaptability too. It knows very well how to develop processes, repeat them, repeat them in advance, but if later some change occurs, it doesn’t operate well.

We find ourselves confronted to a shift, a necessity, facing a wall of complexity that obliges us to reinvent ourselves. So what happens?

Well, we enter, fully, inside a new form of collective intelligence that we call holomidal. Holomidal, from “holos” — holistic, Here, you see this picture of the Internet that I like very much, a little old already, how servers connect with one another. It emerges. No one organizes it top down. It emerges and it self-organizes. We find this structure in a forest too, under our feet, the rhizome. Same thing, same structure. In our brain too. And now, as you know, we have social networks everywhere.

All the social fabric self-organizes itself and we find again the advantages of pyramidal collective intelligence –involving many people– however coming with the resilience and self-organizing capacity of original collective intelligence. It adapts itself, it learns fairly well, it reconfigures all the time, it organizes itself into semantic tribes, etc, etc.

So, knowing that, we can easily get, hence our coming together to look at it, that a dramatic transition has begun. From now on I could talk about what will happen, 3D printers for instance. A great deal of industrial production, centralized, pyramidal, will become completely distributed. I could also talk about the end of money and the rise of post-monetary society, because if we want to transition from an competition-based economy to a mutualistic economy, then we can’t use anymore this old technology called money. We will have much more powerful tools!

But for now, I would like to talk about the inner aspect of the self. The most difficult thing that I feel passionate about, that makes me wonder almost 24/7… How will a human being experience existence inside himself in the coming years?

To address this question, let’s take an example: social codes. More precisely, I will put my focus on social codes we use for conversation. When we speak, when we have, a conversation around the table, or a political debate, what happens? First thing we notice, people speak right after another, very very quick. No space for silence, and no space for breathing time. Furthermore, we interrupt one another. Believe it or not, I see it in most cultures. Not all of them, but globally people interrupt one another. It means, if I interrupt someone, that what I want to say has more importance than what the person in front of me has to say.

Now let’s imagine, let’s place ourselves in a new situation, we change the following social code: we don’t take the floor anymore unless we have done a long breath before. Imagine inside yourself, if you began to do that, the consequences that it would have for the collective, if a collective starts doing that, at your work, in your family, and if you begin to do this as a practice. Imagine the consequences that this sole change of social code can have, a long breath before speaking.

When I give seminars, and I ask the participants what benefits we would have if we breath? Everyone knows! It allows an inner connection with ourself, it brings peace, if gives perspective, it opens to the feeling of our emotions, our body, it offers an inner reconnection. It allows to feel the other, to sense the group, and the emotions that want to rise. It also invites inspiration. Breathing means expiring and therefore ‘inspiring’.

However we don’t do it. Why don’t we do it? Why? Because of a signature behind all this speed during the flow of words we have in conversations. The mental comes into the play. Pyramidal collective intelligence, the world of pyramidal collective intelligence invented, developed, over-developed the mental, the conceptual view. The mental operates very fast. It runs very very fast. It speaks very fast, and it knows very well how to maintain its own paradigm. Escaping a paradigm requires we deactivate the mental. This breathing can become a full meditation.

I have trained lot’s of people to breathing techniques, not just individuals, but collectives too, including companies. Everyone of them, without exception, told me: “it changed our vision of the world“, “it changed my relationship with myself, my relationship with others“, “we don’t make the same decisions together“, “we don’t see the world the same way“, “our whole company, our whole strategy have changed“.

Notice I don’t speak about millions of $ to invest in R&D. I just talk about breathing.

This breathing brings us to this question of personal change, and how we perceive ourselves from the inside, how it will evolve, with, now, an essential question, indeed, about the perception of ourselves.

So let’s imagine ourselves in the dark, inside a forest, and I will finish on that. I turn my flashlight on, And now I begin to scan my environment with it, Here I see a tree, there I see a rock… By directing the beam in different directions I can now decide where to make my next steps. Doing so, I build a kind of reality of proximity.

The mental operates exactly like this. A beam that sees parts and connects them with one another, and thanks to this, I can walk. It works not so bad… Now if I turn my flashlight off, and I decide allow the night light to infuse me, light from the stars, from the moon, then something else happens. First I accustom myself. I lose the precise details of my immediate environment while a much vaster reality begins to open itself to me.

All the people who open themselves this way will have their own words to express this. I like to use the word “transrational”. Transrational happens when we go beyond the rational. Indeed, we still have the rational at our disposal, I can still turn my flashlight on again, always. And at any time I can turn if off too, and open myself to a vaster reality.

This vaster reality can also come from changing some social codes. Back to social codes, and back to the breathing we did together at the start. So, as I said, evolution will not occur only by means of 3D printers or the Internet… yes, quite interesting, go and see, you will learn tons of things, at the same time I invite you to think about what will change inside you, through social codes, ontology, language structure, through our postures, our relationship to our body…

In the end, who knows if the next humanity doesn’t stand just one breath away.

Thank you!


Going Post-Monetary

Will work for BitcoinsBitcoin?

As someone working on the vision and technologies of the post-monetary society, people keep asking me what I think about Bitcoin. Well, you know what? Not much.

Although Bitcoin works in a decentralized, peer-to-peer, open source way, it still remains part of the conventional scarcity paradigm. The fact that it plugs in the conventional scarce money infrastructure ($, €, etc) infuses the scarcity DNA in it. Even worse: it sticks to the “coin”, such an old meme! However I do acknowledge Bitcoin as a step towards the post-monetary society, while remaining inside the mainstream paradigm. It truly questions the bank monopoly for money issuance which paves the way to new possibilities. Advocates and users of Bitcoin will very likely make all possible mistakes that will accelerate the shift.

Complementary currencies?

I like complementary currencies for the service they offer. They help people make the first baby steps out of money as a unique and exclusive way to look at economy. They help people make all necessary mistakes, trials and errors, that may eventually lead them to think “out of the bucks”.

Today different categories of complementary currencies co-exist (some of them can have multiple roles, for instance local and social):

  • Local (or regional) currencies: they help a local territory (town, region, etc) to re-monetize themselves and uplift the local economy. Examples: Ithaca Hours (USA), SOL project (France), Chiemgauer (Germany)
  • Corporate currencies: they support a specific economic sector. Examples: air miles (travel sector), the WIR (corporate economy in Switzerland), Meal Vouchers (restaurant industry)
  • Social currencies: they support social and solidarity economy in the society. Examples: Time Banking (USA), Banco Palmas (Brasil)
  • Targeted currencies: they enhance a specific outcome in the economy. Example: carbon currency

I don’t put any work and efforts in complementary currencies. Their name says it all: they complement the system, just like complementary food complements your diet because of its inherent deficiencies. Complementary food and complementary currencies exist because of the mainstream system. On the good news side, we can see complementary currencies as the first steps towards a global interoperable open protocol (see below), just like local networks initiated the transition towards the Internet in the early 90’s.

Decentralized money?

I just came across a conference given by Fred Wilson, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures. I like the clear way he shares current trends and how it directs his investments. Fred has a good insight when he says the next currency system has to become an open internet protocol. First time I hear it from someone else than our small circle. Years ago it looked like pure science fiction when I shared this idea, now an investor says it, good news! However Fred Wilson still reduces his forecast to a decentralized monetary system, which means:

  1. a technology that only addresses movable wealth (commodities, services), and not integral wealth (i.e. movable, measurable, rankable, acknowledgeable, potential — see conferences below).
  2. a technology that operates only in the conventional market economy, i.e. where we just exchange things, and forget about other possibilities. It discards the rise of gift economies which, in my sense, will prove to become much more powerful and generative than the current market economy limited by immediate conditional reciprocity.

Shifting to the post-monetary society

I think our view on the not-so-far future can go way further. Basically:

  1. Next post-monetary technologies will work on an open internet protocol (Fred Wilson got this part, which I find very cool and rare) that will allow diversity, multiplicity, interoperability
  2. Post-monetary technologies will provide a language of integral wealth, not just movable wealth
  3. Post-monetary technologies will allow large scale gift economies that transcend (and include) market economies

Think out of the BucksWe still have many creative options to name this evolution. Just like the rise of aviation, it will develop its own ontology in our conventional language. I like to use expressions such as “language of wealth”, “integral wealth”, “wealth technologies”.

Also, we don’t have a word to acknowledge the fact we create wealth, in its truest and broadest sense. Hence the creation of the verb to weal: to generate, to give birth to wealth. In the future, we will weal. Weal as wheel (free wheel), weal as will (free will), etc. Will Will wheal? Years ago I booked domain names freeweal (org, com, etc) and They wait for their time.

Last but not least, this shift will eventually take us way, way further than what everyone predicts now. The next language of wealth will become a language of flows. We evolve from our current language of finite objects and their relationships towards a language of flows, alive, always changing, quantic (filled with superposed possibilities), holographic (where the I and the We contain each other), super-conscious. There I see the one of the next leaps of our species.

Much more to say about it, hence my long retreat at the present moment (feel free to weal me :-)).

More in-depth

Here come some key conferences about this topic.

Integral Wealth

Jean-François Noubel – Centifolia – Oct. 2013 – Grasse, France

Towards a Systems’ Paradigm and a New Expressive Capacity

Arthur Brock interviewed by Ferananda Ibarra.

After money – TEDx Paris



The Compost of Collective Intelligence

Luc Schuiten, the cities of tomorrow


We must not oppose the old dying system of pyramidal collective intelligence with the birthing one of holomidal collective intelligence. I hear all the time people say that the rise of social innovation cannot compete with the fact that technologies remain the monopole of pyramidal collective intelligence organizations, designed to make profit and to control. People who say this oppose political systems by means of intellectual abstracts on ideologies. My research simply consist in observing evolution, not to argue on which political or ideological system should prevail. From a pragmatic and concrete point of view, here comes a law of the living: any new ecosystem needs to grow on the old one. The old, while rejecting the new, offers its fundamental bricks as well as the compost produced from its own decomposition. Also its paroxysmal manifestation –more power concentration of power and money, more standardization, etc– provoke an evolutionary dynamics for those who want to extract themselves from the old matrix. Thus holomidal collective intelligence, until it becomes an autonomous social ecosystem, grows on the soil of pyramidal collective intelligence. We see a fractal, complex and non-linear process at play.

I often get this question whether people feel ready… I can only invite you to contemplate this question within yourself first. Evolution happens inside you, primarily. Waiting for it from the outside looks like one of the classical tricks from the mental.

Who, today, feels ready to evolve his/her own semantic structure, his/her own economy, his/her own health, the relationship to his/her own body, his/her diet, his/her social codes, his/her own use of technology? So far I observe this shift only in a small fringe of humanity, a tiny minority, mostly coming from the young generation. The good news say that this thin layer of consciousness that structures itself in the being and meshes in the collective suffices to provoke the necessary leaps for evolution. The past has already demonstrated this: big changes have never emerged neither from majorities nor from the powers in place.






Life in the plate

Raw food heartResearch in collective intelligence, as you know, connects to every aspect of social life. One of them I like very much: food. Indeed, what lands in our plate comes from a collective process that involves ecosystems, animals, plants, many humans, and a lot of technology.

First, collective intelligence in the nutrient: from its birth to our plate, food carries a super complex thread of life, death, actions, experiences. Collective intelligence in the cuisine, one of the pillars of every culture. Collective intelligence in the very fact of eating. From time immemorial, a meal represents a universal space of sharing and togetherness, present in every civilization. What happens in our psyche when we eat? What does our species and our planet experience during the billions of meals that happen every day? Collective intelligence, in the beliefs and ignorance that haunt every society and every human in regards to food. Everything tells me that this ignorance plays an active role in the genesis and homeostasis of every culture. Once more, it raises the question of truth in the collective.

What food?

I had to start from somewhere in order to open this long inquiry. So I began with this very simple question that I use as a guiding thread:

What food makes us healthy while doing good to the living in general?

A first quick answer: certainly not the food that lands in our plate today.

I have explored this single question for years, both at the theoretical level –health, nutrition, environment– and at the personal level, observing the changes that happen in me when I shift my diet (I also speak about it in the about page).

What health?

What do we call health? I often hear people reply “not having any disease“. An answer somehow superficial and automatic, that focuses only on the individual. A person may have no biological disease and yet have a calamitous health due to an unhealthy lifestyle or a poor psychological, social and spiritual life. It doesn’t matter whether we talk about the body, the mental or the spirit, we quickly come to realize that health operates as much in the individual as in the collective, and that we build our connection with health with culture and unconscious assumptions.

What would happen if…

… humans began to eat consciously?

I like to contemplate this latter question. Of course we can expect quite positive consequences on health and ecology, somehow easy to extrapolate. Inner transformation catches my attention even more, as consciousness walks hand in hand with the way we feed ourselves.

As for my personal journey, the call for a healthy and conscious eating lead me to become a vegetarian first, a vegan next. Then I got rid of fat and gluten, and evolved towards raw food. People call it live food, and in this more precise case, I love to stick to the 80-10-10 diet. It seems that this way of feeding myself addresses each and every question I raised earlier:

  • At the ecological level, this diet supports ecosystems, as we need to plant trees. It highly reduces the ecological footprint (water, carbon, pollution, etc) ;
  • At the individual level, after I explored many different diets and cuisines, I have never experience something better than live food healthwise. My body works better, it has a more robust defence system (I rarely get sick), it gains energy, liveliness, endurance, sleep, sexual capacities, you name it! My ideas and thoughts become clearer, I need less hours of sleep, my consciousness keeps expanded. Body, mental, spirit… every plane enjoys the ride;
  • At the societal level, the live food cuisine builds a harmonious relationship with our environment, and with ourselves.

However I don’t say that humanity should move towards this specific diet. The question of food has an infinite number of parameters which we cannot corner in a simplistic answer. I don’t believe in the ultimate diet. Furthermore, I don’t cope with systems that want to enclose every human being in a unique behavioral model that everyone should follow so that society can work. All the “isms” of industrial society have their root in this idea of homogenization. We know the consequences. So here I just try to unveil some principles that may have interesting consequence in a vaster and more diverse landscape of parameters and behaviors.

Ignorance as an active principle

Revolution Slider Error: Slider with alias plate not found.
Maybe you mean: 'home' or 'questions_parfumées' or 'fantomas' or 'a-propos' or 'evoluer-tous' or 'assiette'


Food offers an extraordinary space of observation for my research on the active principles that provoke and maintain ignorance and beliefs in the society. By “active principles” I make a distinction from “passive principles” of ignorance that come from a simple lack of knowledge.

For instance, people often explain to me that we can hardly survive without animal proteins. They assure with an absolute certainty that we have a carnivore metabolism, and that fruits don’t contain proteins. Have they seriously explored other perspectives than what the doxa imposes to them? Rarely.

Ontological obscurantism adds itself to these false beliefs, I mean the use of words and semantic categories that separate us from the way reality works, and from the empathy we can have with other living beings. Let’s take the word meat for instance. This word “thingyfies” the living by downgrading it to the level of inert and mineral matter. The same happens when we say we eat chicken or fish, of when we raise cattle. These words don’t connect us to the web of life. Thingyfication belongs to ontological mechanisms which purpose consists in maintaining a separation with a vaster and more evolved reality.

Even more interesting: although many people know their diet doesn’t do good to them, how many decide to change? A tiny minority. The majority perpetuates its usual addictions, saturated with certainty. Rather than radical change, this majority prefers drugs, cardiovascular diseases, hospital and all the related victimhood. What kind of dependency and belief maintains people trapped in their own jail at the expense of their own life? The discipline of collective intelligence gives us a profound understanding of this equation. I will write more about it in the future.

Sourd, muet, aveugleMeanwhile humanity dips in its own obscurantist juice and its crass ignorance. I see the signature of a collective consciousness not quite yet awaken, driven by the insatiable and anguished pulls of crowds in need of fat, sugar, salt and blood. The massacre of an unprecedented barbary perpetrated every second on other non-human beings proves it. On top of it, a disaster in the human community in which junk food became the best Grim Reaper’s ally in industrialized countries. Our descendents will likely see our societies as extremely violent and archaic.

The evolution of our species will not happen without the evolution of the way we eat, which invites us to exploring every possible direction, then share the experience. Exactly what I intend to do here.

Beyond food

In the end, don’t you think the true question consists in learning which energetic flow keeps us alive, happy and healthy? Physical food provides energy contained in the matter that the body harvests through chemical reactions. However the matter does not compose us, it goes through us. Like cresting waves, we keep a shape for a certain time. This shape erects, transforms and melts itself back in the Great Ocean.

Therefore I focus on the very way we can manifest and keep our vital energy without narrowing it to physical food, just like we cannot confuse “travel” with “car”. Let’s not confuse the end and the means. Direct experience again has shown me that no simple correlation exists between the quantity of calories we absorb and the energy present in the body. Many other emotional, psychological and spiritual factors play in the equation. We can control and regulate our energetical state not just through the sole food, but also through meditation and breathing techniques. People usually mention pranic food. I don’t cope well with this naming since no eating process happens here. An inner autonomous process takes place in the very center of the body, very different from the “filling” from an external source. Indeed, in this precise state of consciousness, the words outer and inner don’t mean very much anymore. How can we separate the wave from the ocean?

I already hear the “impossible!” shouting and other miffed arguing: how can a scientific mind like mine consider other options than physical food? Precisely, science consists in exploring the unknown and integrate what comes from observation, without judgment, and not to reject things that don’t fit in our current map of reality.

I have already tasted enough of the energetical approach to make it a privileged direction of my research. I’ll keep you posted.


Some reference:

[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”ddddddd” bgcolorto=”ffffff”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]


Nothing but the Truth

Vision from a rhinoceros
Drawing: Selçuk Erdem

If you and I talk, we will speak the truth.

Truth doesn’t mean to remain serious. On the contrary, it takes a great deal of humor to embrace it.

What truth?

I hear lot’s of people affirm clearly and loudly that “no absolute truth exists!“. Big smile here. At the very moment they say this, don’t they state some absolute truth? Here comes the mental biting its own tail.

I won’t do an essay on truth here, many have done it across the millennia. I just mean to clarify my own approach. When I commit to truth, I talk about the truth of what springs up from me: ideas, thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, inspiration, drives, desires… all these raw experiences, in their primordial naked truth, and that I contemplate and welcome unconditionally. I don’t claim that these inner events manifest any truth about the outer world. For instance, if I think of a Centaur, it doesn’t have a true existence in the animal world (until we prove the contrary), however no one can deny the truth of the presence of this thought inside me, and I can share it if needed. Therefore, when listening to you, if images or associations of ideas appear, I can make them available for you if you want. I can offer the subjective mirror of my inner truth, with your permission, of course. Not altering or toning down this inner truth implies I don’t subdue myself to what social codes, morals, or reserve impose. Expect that if you meet me. I will feel grateful if you do the same.

Once more, the gift economy enters the dance. Truth presents itself naked, it cannot come dressed up with conditions and intentions. Without judgment and censorship, truth fulfills us.

Collective intelligence: what space for truth?

Magritte - Memory of a JourneyAs a research discipline, collective intelligence raises the question about the relationship to truth in collectives, if not in entire societies. What role does truth play? At which moment does it threaten the underpinning of a collective? By extension, what role do the beliefs have in the uphold of a collective?

These beliefs have a name: doxa. If refers to the reality built on assumptions or postulates that no one has put to the test. In order to understand this principle, we just have to examine old doxas. An easy exercise since we don’t live inside these old paradigms anymore. For instance, ancient doxas put the Earth in the center of the universe, or declared that men with black skin don’t have a soul and can serve as slaves, or affirmed that we descend from Adam and Eve. Let’s not delude ourselves: today like in the past we live in a very, very, very sticky doxa. I will write more about it in the future.

For now, let’s just remember that collectives grow up in a hodgepodge of doxa and truth, and I feel quite interested in analyzing this.

In pyramidal collective intelligence societies (that shape the most part of humanity today), humans maneuver in a matrix that shapes them from the outside. Why? Because pyramidal collective intelligence relies on chains of command, and it needs predictable humans for this. Without predictability of its members, what chain of command can work? So, school teaches little humans to separate what they experience inside with what they have to do. At the cost of years spent sitting in a classroom, kids learn how to break away the being and the doing. The humans of pyramidal collective intelligence develop extraordinary capacities in the doing, while not knowing themselves inside. Because it takes such an effort for truth to dawn deep inside ourselves, it faces the same issues to find its way in the society. Since birth, without realizing it, we learn many strategies of lie. Strategies of avoidance, decorum, social codes, sense of duty… The “how are you” followed by the automated answer “well!” look like a ritual that seals the disconnection between the inner world and the external social world.

Holomidal collective intelligence, in a full eclosion today, offers a strong incentive for humans to build their individuation. Furthermore, the mutualistic economy invites us to a new social practice of truth. Mutualism requires radical transparency for the broadcasting of knowledge and open source, for underwriting the visibility of resources and wealth, for the thriving of collective governance… Holopticism calls for the forming a collective truth as a condition for functioning. The relationship to truth evolves: it becomes a prerequisite.

Truth, the quintessence of art

Magritte - La Clairvoyance
Magritte – La Clairvoyance

Lying requires a practice, truth requires an art: we need to know how to give consistency to the intuitions that enlighten us, then learn how to formalize them in the world, while we welcome the flow of an erotic joy.

Art means techniques. Education has taught me the techniques of lying, I decided to learn the techniques of truth. What practice do I need to make the truth bloom inside me? How can I bring it beyond the stage of vague intuitions so that, very quickly, it can take a consistent form in my inner universe? In what form should I manifest this truth? Language? Music? Images? Gesture? Silence? Emotions?

The technique of truth has also taught me not to deliver a truth if I feel it dressed with an intention, for instance the urge that the person “understands” such or such thing, or that he/she needs to make such or such decision. Similarly, I would never say something like “You are this or that” to someone. I the person asks me, I say “I feel this or that inside me“. By doing so, I can offer an objectivized truth that reflects what happens in my subjective self. I make it a work to contemplate, a work that doesn’t force itself on people.

Truth does not come from deduction, truth springs up. Even when we think we deduced it, our creative impulse strikes sparks of evidences, lighting up a new reality that the being wants. An artistic act, again. I see this happening even in a forensic investigation. Investigators look for a truth deduced by means of objective proof (fingerprints, DNA, etc). Through this obstinate quest for objective facts, a new reality wants to manifest, a world with a clear line between the guilty and the victim, a world with the narrative of a human story where the collective myth can beat. Criminals of an epoch sometimes become the heroes of another epoch, and vice versa. The doxa hides itself not far… Yes, even the material and objective truth worded by scientific proof comes from the subjective self.

In the end, it doesn’t matter which truth we speak about — express a reality in our consensual way to perceive the world, make a logical deduction or a scientific inductive reasoning— it always leads to the creative self that calls for a new reality. I wish to make truth an artistic practice, it starts by uncompromising observing and sharing about what manifests in my deepest self. Even if it seems obvious on the paper (or the screen), it attracts spaces and situations that challenge what usual social codes and norms.

What about you? What relationship to truth did you decide to have in your life? Do you have a moment when you say “stop” to truth? Until which point do you think we can go, individually and collectively?

[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”F8F2EF” bgcolorto=”F8F2EF”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs some improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]


United Air Ways

Fish and bubblesIf you happen to speak with me, sometimes you will hear more silence than words. You may find it a little awkward if you don’t know me, specially on the phone. It doesn’t mean I get bored or I don’t know what to say. Don’t bother! My moments of silence, sometimes my with eyes closed, happen because I breathe. Indeed, I have decided to follow two principles: breathe before speaking, speak only with permission.

Breathe before speaking

Taking the time of a long breathing before speaking allows me to engage in a quest for words and answers that the inner autopilot will never offer. Platitudes, certitudes coming from the doxa, behaviors imposed by politeness or morals don’t interest me. The autopilot knows very well how to defend those lines, it gives us the illusion to operate as a complete and congruent system. Breathing deactivates these mechanisms. I can become again present to myself, to my body, my emotions, my true self. I can contemplate other possibilities, welcome crazy ideas, listen to the inner child, put on my clown nose, let soul spring up, allow inspiration. With years of practice, every long breath has become a meditation. I meditate a good part of the day while in motion. Don’t you think that inspired action offers a little more potential than autopilot?

Sometimes I don’t allocate time for this breathing, usually because I want to say something really stupid (good at it!). Also when this breathing may create too much disturbance, I prefer to play by the good old social codes, at least until I can clarify my behavior to the person.

With permission

I speak exclusively with permission, one when someone asks me. When I get interrupted, which of course happens a lot, I stop and let the person speak. If he/she doesn’t want or need to listen to me anymore, why should I force? I give the floor back and offer my listening, very simply. Gift economy means that too.

From the collective intelligence perspective…

From the social engineering perspective, these two transformed social codes — breathing before speaking, and speaking only with an offered floor– work like modified social DNA. In fact I precisely apply the six agreements.

Although I do not procelytize and I only apply this social genetics to myself, it has a strong collective and individual impact. For me: happiness nourished by the pure joy of breathing, and from enjoying the peace of non-competitive speaking. For the collective: this practice triggers trust, kindness and listening. Who needs to get irritated or distrust a person who remains neutral, and only offers his/her word when asked? People never listened to me as much before I applied these principles.

I have coached many groups who decided to operate from the six principles. Their testimony leaves no ambiguity. Everything shifts: their decision making process, their way to flesh out problems, to manage their relationships, social dynamics, ideas, solutions…

And you? Want to try? Why don’t you share your experience in the comments below?

[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”F8F2EF” bgcolorto=”F8F2EF”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs some improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]

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