Collective Intelligence

Collective intelligence refers to the capability of a group to collaborate in order to achieve goals that an individual, even the most gifted, would not be able to accomplish alone.

On a strictly behavioral level (excluding the symbolic layer of culture), collective intelligence communities are not exclusively human.  They are observed within many social animal species.  From the anthill to the wolf pack and the fish shoal, the group is manifestly “smarter” than its individual components. From a nonviolent activist perspective, it is important that groups can collectively solve problems without a leader (for example, to evacuate patients from a hospital after Katrina).  Just as mob violence can be encoded in cultural forms, leading to scapegoating and war (see the work of René Girard), the human collective capacity for good could be developed and encoded to bring about a peaceful society and world.
For a review of the concept, see Collective Intelligence: The Invisible Revolution.