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The Power of Collective Wisdom by Sheryl Erickson, Alan Briskin

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fourWhat Makes Groups Foolish

Groups that realize their potential for collective wisdom can experience moments of profound connection and become capable of extraordinary action. It barely needs to be said, however, that this is not always the case. Often, when human beings gather in groups, we become conduits for wisdom’s opposite—folly. We use the term folly to reflect a continuum of behaviors from mere foolishness to acts of evil. Put bluntly, if human beings have the capacity to access collective wisdom, why don’t we? Why are we so often responsible for collective foolishness or worse? Why do we become enmeshed, again and again, in seemingly endless cycles of petty and profound violence?

One answer to these questions is straightforward: Like ...

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