This book seeks to detail what we mean when we speak of human associations – groups, organizations and whole societies – as composite minds in their own right, with characteristic identities and changing mindsets of their own. The book’s first chapter discusses the notion of mind as such – generic mind, so to speak. How do we recognize a mind when we encounter one? Subsequent chapters then focus on the minds of human associations, asking and suggesting answers to such questions as: How do group minds recruit the cooperation of their members, and influence their individual behaviors? What kinds of group minds are there? How does adaptive intelligence, emerge in human groups? What features and limitations are characteristic of such intelligence? How does the collective thinking of groups emerge from and relate to the thinking of their leaders, experts and individual members? A digression on human evolution follows, reading the archaeological record as the story of some primate hominids who became specialists in group-mind – thereby achieving tremendous collective power at the price of individual dependence upon, and subservience to our groups. The book concludes with a chapter on the world-mind of today’s global society, and then with a brief discussion of motivations for the book’s approach. Its implicit contention is that we cannot be truly conscious and autonomous today without a clear understanding of the collective minds that shape us.
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