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Collective Acceleration is a phenomenon of these times

What is Collective Acceleration?

We are experiencing life amidst swiftly moving currents, so there is a felt experience that is widely shared in these times: a feeling of much more going much faster.

Historians and scientists observe current phenomena as compression and acceleration of history itself. Rarely is there such disruption on a global scale —and this moment of disruption is resulting in multiple upheavals, including global pandemics, war, mass migration, and technological advances including artificial intelligence. The experiences are destabilizing across societies and nations because they appear to distort time and space.

There is a lot going on, and it feels like more and more is being stuffed into each moment.

Anything that was falling apart prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic is crumbling faster. Ideas that were on the rise prior to the pandemic, irrespective of their placement on the ideological spectrum, are gaining ground beyond the expectations or organizing power of their most ardent supporters.

This is a time of paradox

The structures that have been pushed against with fierceness and political resolve cannot stand, and yet we have been counting on these atrophied structures to respond across vast and diverse human needs. There remain many unknowns, resulting in great uncertainty, about what the many manifestations and impacts of this acceleration will be. We do not yet know how the tide will turn — toward continually multiplying fracture, or toward the possibility of greater intactness.

And yet, unprecedented paradox, paradoxically, is unprecedented opportunity.

If “returning to normalcy” is insufficient — a resigned stepping back, a move that may even be dangerous — why not spring forward instead?




Collective acceleration is a phenomenon that was created by many things, some of it human and some of it by forces of nature. Across history, human choices and behaviors have created conditions for the acceleration of events and acceleration of the ways in which, for example, technology would iterate, the acceleration of how even things might grow. For example, climate change is the result, still unfolding, of an accumulation of actions that have fundamentally altered the course of nature — such that nature itself has taken the cue, and is accelerating in its own evolution. As all of that is occurring, we are also engaged in things together as peoples. The acceleration exists irrespective of whether we actively and purposefully participate in it or not. We can think of the pathways of acceleration as a slipstream: like a fish that can jet along the current with little need for propulsion, or a butterfly that can swiftly ride a current of air with minimal flapping of its wings.


Opportunity in chaos

The opportunity before us is not because things are coming together, but because they are falling apart. We are at a moment where everything feels like it is shape-shifting in ways and at a speed we cannot fully comprehend, and it is both a danger and an opportunity at the same time. As people and communities suffer in this moment of falling apart, it is urgent, critical and proximate upon us to not allow their hard work and sacrifice to go in vain. This is a moment in which if we do not take action, then our peoples will not see themselves to the other side. So, we interrupt hesitation and cultivate discernment around sensing opportunities that move us toward purpose, and identifying the critical junctures that enable opportunity to arise, and how we can most fruitfully and swiftly move into those junctures.



The long arc of our many peoples is broken in many places, and therefore requires mending amidst acceleration. This moment of collective acceleration when everything is falling apart around us may actually serve to propel us toward an emergent worldview that is less fractured, that enables us to re-member our wholeness. This is the horizon of intactness that we continually move toward, while cultivating intactness in the day-to-day of our present. In this world we are moving toward, one people’s thriving is not based on another’s people’s suffering. Conflict and ruptures still arise, but we remain intact. The interdependence of diverse peoples, beings, and places is complex, and still requires us to practice adaptability and move through difficulty, but we remain intact in relationship to one another. As we come to know and embrace our role in moving toward thriving, we grow our intactness.


Arc of seven generations

The arc of justice that many transformational leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, have spoken of, indeed bends towards justice — but it is not something that moves on its own. The arc is ours to create and live into. From the Indigenous perspective, the arc exists within the context of seven generations — the seven generations that came before us, and the seven generations that follow us — a span of about 150 years in each direction. Instead of a predestined trend line, we can think of and experience the future as the story that descendants live in, in which they describe how ancestors imagined it and then made it true. And while justice is moral, it is a hollow victory if not accompanied by thriving. A seven generations arc exists because of the intentionality of each generation to tend to current conditions while working toward more fruitful futures, passing that responsibility and the wisdom of experience from one generation to another.The bend toward a just thriving is dreamt and cultivated, fought for and worked for. As the current generation, we are stewards sitting at the midpoint of the arc of seven generations, making choices that shape the bend of the arc.


Mutual stewardship

We all have a responsibility to each other and the places that we come from, with the understanding that we are not the first and will not be the last. Kuleana is both a sacred responsibility, and a privilege of being in relationship to the peoples, beings, and places to whom we belong. Mutual stewardship grows from the ties we have to each other, which reflect our interconnectedness and our role in the past, present, and future of our peoples, beings, and place. It grows from observing the ways of nature and of the universe, and moving in alignment with those rhythms. As the current generation, our kuleana is to mutually steward the unseen and unhealed with care, reaching back to the past while persistently creating the through-line to the future. Mutual stewardship includes making the choices and necessary leaps toward greater possibility for future generations.

Why engage in inquiry together about collective acceleration?

Collective Acceleration is an area of urgent inquiry into actively tending to possibilities for collective action and governance, cultivating spirit, stewarding water and land. We are humans being … poets, healers, leaders, artists, storytellers … fractals of one another, amplifying this essential inquiry.

Together, we tend to evolving intactness as the world experiences an era of unprecedented change.

We engage in purposeful inquiry and endeavors to activate the skills, capacities, practices, and relationships needed to pivot our culture, governance, and systems towards collective thriving.

Collective Acceleration aligns us around endeavoring to step into sacred responsibility for all of our peoples, beings, and places. We are informed by the past with attention to the future.

In this effort, we are intentionally working in and across networked communities to amplify and accelerate ways of being and governing that lead to collective thriving.

We know this will take a radical shift in many places, among many peoples, simultaneously. By working together across place and time in a decentralized, networked and profoundly relational way, we can amplify this transition.

> Explore more deeply how we are collectively accelerating

“You have to leap into it. You have to grab it as it moves past you or moves toward you, even as it begins to move away from you. Before it moves away from you there will be other phenomena: the opportunity will move across you many times. It is baiting you. It is baiting the part of you that has a possibility of something bigger, the best part of what it is that you are.”
Norma Wong, Forward Inquiry Talk, February 2023


Poem by Omar Brownson
Our slipstream
is collective acceleration
human kind
and being kind
in a current more consequential
than ourselves

Change does not have to be
s m a l l

This slipstream can carry us upward
in this moment

Some may see this moment
as chaotic and tumultuous

We see audacity

This moment is not
calling us to be cautious
How do we know?

Each child born
disrupts our habits
and keeps us on the side of possibility
restoring us in our wholeness

Practical actions
create binaries
and separate us
from ourselves
splitting our wholeness

Work in progress
Is not practical
It is wholeness to wholeness
It is worth it
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