Its Shadow and Its Generative Potential
Keywords:group coherence, consciousness, social fields, social transformation, the shadows and amorality of coherence, expanded ways of knowing, holistic intelligence, participatory and transpersonal research
The purpose of this commentary is to offer reflections on the phenomenological inquiry undertaken by Guenther (2022), exploring the nature and potential of group coherence in addressing our global meta-crises. I deepen the discourse in three interrelated areas, to expand our understanding of collective coherence and to explore how we can approach researching it.
Firstly, I highlight research, mapping the evidence for consciousness-based practices in engendering greater social harmony and coherence. Secondly, I shine a light onto the shadow sides of coherence and how the power of coherence may be abused for ill purposes. I argue that the cultivation of coherence must not only involve consciousness-raising practices, but that it must also entail direct engagement with social and systemic wounds and fragmentation. Thirdly, I call for multi-faceted forms of research, to enable us to gain a deeper appreciation of group coherence in varied life contexts. Building on Guenther’s vision, I affirm that this research must invite alternative and participatory ways of knowing, so that a multiplicity of voices, inner and outer, are heard and honoured in action.
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