Tom Atlee: What I most want to communicate about Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


From: Tom Atlee
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: What I most want to communicate about Y2K
Date: Friday, April 16, 1999 7:29 PM

I have added the following page to my website. The URL is

What I most want to communicate about Y2K
If you only read one page on this site,
let it be this one.

-- Tom Atlee
Y2K arose from a profound societal co-stupidity that does not reside within
the specific people and institutions involved so much as within a system
that calls forth behaviors which seem to make sense for good, intelligent
individuals, yet add up to potential catastrophe for all of society.

Such co-stupidity is not limited to Y2K. We see it all around us. We are
collectively creating global warming by driving our cars and running our
air conditioners. We are poisoning our children with the chemicals of
everyday life. We are destroying the fertility of our farmland by the ways
we farm. As a culture, we don't see that we're doing these things and even
those among us who do know have to struggle mightily against the current of
a system that virtually guarantees nothing will be done about these things
in time.

So is it any wonder that in the early 1970s the Pentagon and thousands of
companies made Y2K inevitable by preferring to invest in short-term
productivity and competitiveness rather than take the giant, significant
step of converting their computer codes to four digits? Will it be any
surprise if panicked people trying to secure their financial future bring
the banking system to the edge of collapse by withdrawing all their money?

Tragedies like this demonstrate that
we lack truly effective ways
to see and reflect on what's happening
to our collective destiny.
The institutions established for that purpose - government, media, and
education - are not dealing well with the great threats we face: In 1998
while our government and media should have been taking effective action on
Y2K, they were busy having an affair with Monica Lewinsky.

When someone can't put their attention where it is most needed, can't think
through their predicament, can't pass the tests of life, we call them
stupid. But stupidity isn't just a problem for individuals; it infects our
collective life, as well. "Co-stupidity" describes the collective inability
of our groups, communities, organizations and societies to see what's
happening in and around them, and to deal effectively with what they find.
Y2K exemplifies co-stupidity, but it is only one giant example of something
we all see, every day, all around us. It is literally destroying us.

The good news is we don't have to continue this way.
The know-how exists with which to
dramatically improve our collective intelligence.

We could build the capacity to be wise together
instead of co-stupid.
I urge you to start exploring this subject, perhaps beginning with my
article "Raising the Quality of Dialogue about Y2K."
[posted at]: In fact, if you learn only one thing about Y2K, I pray that it is this. Because if we can
work with the Y2K problem to improve our co-intelligence, it will
profoundly improve our capacity to deal with all the other challenges we
will face -- many of which are all around us even now, and growing.

If we deal with such challenges in a co-intelligent way, we'll
simultaneously build a decent, joyful, sensible civilization for our
grandchildren. After all, we've got everything we need for that project
right here and now -- except for the capacity to see, think and act
together on what we know would be the good thing, the right thing to do.
This is our chance to change that.
And this is why I believe
there is no shared problem or opportunity we face that is more important
than increasing our ability to fruitfully deal with
all the shared problems and opportunities we face.
Tom Atlee
April 1999
Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * Oakland, CA *



-- Critt Jarvis (, April 17, 1999


I did that on purpose so you wouldn't miss the link!!!!


nobody's gonna believe that...


-- Critt Jarvis (, April 17, 1999.

You're right, Critt. Nobody is gonna believe that. LOL! Thanks for the pointer, nonetheless.

-- Faith Weaver (, April 17, 1999.

There was another link buried in there--

-- Tom Carey (, April 17, 1999.

Good essay, Critt. Are you surprised to learn I think Tom Atlee is pi--, er, shouting in the wind? Atlee says we have everything for a Utopia "except for the capacity to see, think and act together on what we know would be the good thing, the right thing to do." That's a helluva big exception! Be nice if we could change that exception, though.

-- Old Git (, April 17, 1999.

Yep, that's exactly what we need: Another COLLECTIVIST SOLUTION. They've all served us so well over the past 40 years !

-- Yan (, April 17, 1999.

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