We tend to think of collective intelligence as a ”group thing” right? It’s people working together, using different tools to process data, and build on each other's ideas and the outcome are solutions with a high level of creativity, innovation even (often created for a company). As a result of us thinking outside the box, questioning social norms and rules that no longer apply, etc. We tap into our knowledge of things and our unknowing of things. We explore together. No individual could have produced these products or solutions without the rest of the team members.
That’s one level. That’s NOT the level I am addressing in this post even if the process and the outcome are the same.
I’m talking about collective intelligence that happens on a global level throughout our life as we grow as individuals. We are a part of a group, HOMO SAPIENS, and we are collaborating and co-creating all the time without even thinking about it. Through technology, our collective intelligence is now increasing exponentially. But to understand how collective intelligence helped me out of my depression I will not focus on technology, even though that was curial as well. The best way to explain my take on this phenomena and how it helped me is through something that EVERYONE can relate to; MUSIC.
If you are new to my blog, Welcome. This post is a part of a series of posts where I talk about the tools that got me out of my existential- and work-life depression. If you haven’t read that post you can find it here.
Every time I go for a walk or a run I listen to my playlist called ”Exercise” (very creative I know). I have had the same playlist for many years, adding songs as I go about life. When I need to push myself a bit extra or need a dose of courage and empowerment I play, ”Give it 2 me” by Madonna. It goes like this;
What are you waiting for Nobody’s gonna show you how Why work for someone else To do what you can do right now Got no boundaries and no limits If there’s excitement, put me in it If it’s against the law, arrest me If you can handle it, undress me Don’t stop me now, don’t need to catch my breath I can go on and on and on When the lights go down and there’s no one left I can go on and on and on …
For me, it’s inspiring and empowering 100%. Now, imagine that I have listened to this song, every now and then, for several years, over a decade, feeling inspired and empowered every single time. Have you ever thought about the fact that inspiration is an emotion (energy in motion) that has a physiological reaction in your body? It can create different levels of adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine (and more) which is the reason why I manage to push those extra 5 minutes on the treadmill and/or maybe get an aha-moment to a difficult situation. Now, do you believe that this song, the words, have had an impact on my thoughts and actions? I do. I am certain of it. I have never met Madonna yet she has mange to send her energy across the ocean and influence my life.
I see, I hear, I think, I feel, I act. Inspiration is a call for action. Inspiration is an emotion (energy in motion).
When our favorite artist manages to express what we are going through there is an emotional connection happening. Through the lyrics of our favorite songs or through the words in a great book, we are processing our current life event. Books, movies, songs, WORDS, can make us take a leap of faith and leave a bad relationship, process breakups and heartbreaks, and quit a shite employer, go traveling, dance, laugh, love. Some of these artists are 1000 miles away, STILL, they can have a massive impact on our lives through emotional – and collective intelligence. Books, movies, and music make us feel less alone; someone else has been going through exactly the same thing that I am going through right now. We are channeling our need to express ourselves through someone that has the ability to make art. We heal. We release painful emotions (energy in motion) and we move forward. When I no longer carry the heavy burden of pain and sorrow I move more easily. That's why music (and all other ways to express ourselves) plays such an important part in our wellbeing in general and my recovery in particular. Through music, I process the pain, I release energy, my stress level decrease, I come back in to flow, I get access to my brain and I make better decisions. That's how emotions created by music also creates collective intelligence, –I become better because of you.
Music is powerful and EMPOWERING. It makes us believe and take a leap of faith.
This is happening a lot. You get inspired by all sorts of things. However, something happens when we DON’t act on that inspiration. When we don’t act on the inspiration we block that energy inside. That's why inspiration can be bittersweet. We can end up loving and ”hating” the inspirer. Getting angry is also an emotion (energy in motion), so is the emotion of being disgust. When someone behaves inappropriately with no moral or ethical boundaries, we should act. When ”negative” emotions such as anger and disgust are handled in a good way we are able to convert the energy into inspiration, compassion, love even, and act in a way that generates a positive outcome. When we act out of anger (instead of inspiration) it doesn’t lead to something intelligent (speaking from experience). We simply didn’t make each other smarter we probably made each other angrier and we are just as ignorant as before. Inspiration is a call for action. We get inspired by different things. Something inside of you is pushing or pulling you (otherwise you would not feel inspired). If you choose not to act on it, it becomes pain. For years I didn’t act on the inspiration I was feeling from a lot of you and I converted that emotion of inspiration into frustration, irritation, anger, and sadness … Why? I was afraid. It takes courage to act and express ourselves. In the end, it is 100% up to me what I choose to do with my inspiration. Throughout life I have been so supported and I have been co-creating my life together with so many brilliant minds. Whitney Houston (and Dolly Parton) helped a lot of us through breakups and heartbreaks with the song ”I will always love you”. (I know, I’m getting old). The Ark made me accept that I am crazy but at least, I am not a fool, with the song ”It takes a fool to remain sane”. When everybody seemed to have an opinion about me, Eminem helped me process anger through ”The way I am”. And ”Cleaning out my closet” helped me write one of the hardest letters ever written; The one to our parents. Alanis Morrisette helped me through my rebellious years when she, through several albums, expressed her take on gender norms, patriarchy, feminism, and life in general. R.E.M helped me through the most lonely time in my life with their song ”Everybody hurts”. Maria Mena helped med process my childhood. Laleh with the song ”Live tomorrow” really touched my soul. Swedish House Mafia inspired me with ”Save the world”. That was the beginning of my awakening. Avicii helped me express myself during one of the happiest times in my life through ”Levels”. Avicii also helped me in my depression through his song ”Wake me up”. –You told me to; Feel my way through the darkness guided by my beating heart, So I did. And slowly I got better. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you Avicii, R.I.P. The list can go on and on and on …. And all they ever did was to express themselves and tell a story, amazing isn’t it? Think of all your favorite artist (and art) and how they have played a significant role in your ability to process your life events. Cherish that co-creation. As we speak I am collaborating with Micheal Jackson listening to his song ”Heal the World”. I think this decade could use a cover on this song. Maybe adding some ”Enough with this bullshit attitude” to it. What could be more appropriate in this post than to thank Daniel Ek for creating Spotify. Maybe he found his purpose ”Save the world” and heard his calling ”Change the way we listen to music”. Anyway, I am so grateful for his service making my leaders so available to me everywhere all the time. You have really changed the way I listen to music Daniel.
If you feel lonely, sad, or depressed like I was, don’t forget that your favorite artist and their music is right next to you. Always there to support you! Blast the stereo and dance!