Sign in or
First Victoria Wise Democracy Forum Nov 10-12, 2006
Summary of WDV ForumWise Democracy Weekend, November 2006
Introduction by Tom Atlee and Jim Rough
Friday Evening, November 10, 2006
About 80 people attended.
Caspar Davis welcomed everyone to the Wise Democracy Forum, explained that the Victoria Branch of the World Federalist Movement had initiated the process leading to this weekend because of their belief that global democracy starts with local democracy, and provided some context for the planned events.
George Sranko introduced the evening with Elizabet Sahtouris’ story (relayed by David Korten) which tells of the emergence of the butterfly in the cocoon. First, the caterpillar actually dissolves, and the resulting soup is reshaped by organizer cells into the form of the butterfly – but not before the organizer cells are themselves harassed by the remnants of the caterpillar’s immune system.
George introduced Tom Atlee, who enthusiastically recounted the Brian Swimme/Thomas Berry vision of our evolution from the hydrogen created in the Big Bang and the complex elements forged in Supernovas. He also told of his friends, the erstwhile fundamentalist preacher and his scientist wife, who have written a book called “Thank God for Evolution” and who travel in a van displaying a Darwin fish kissing a Christian fish. Tom said that people acting together are capable of both co-stupidity and co-intelligence, and that the context determines which emerges. Co-intelligent processes temporarily lift people to a higher state, where they are able to make statements that can be used to carry social evolution forward. He said that Wisdom Councils are a very effective tool for this purpose.
Jim Rough then told some stories of how Wisdom Councils had been used successfully in different contexts to create a much higher quality of community conversation. The extensive Q&A session elaborated on these issues.
Wisdom Council Workshop
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Approximately 35 people attended
We started with a round of introductions answering the questions, “Who are you, and what brought you here?” This round lasted for some time, and revealed that the participants were a very diverse group with a wealth of experience under their belts. It also led rather abruptly into a dynamically facilitated (by Jim Rough) session on the question of whether the workshop would be recorded or not. Some people found the facilitated session exhilarating, while others were mystified and/or resentful of what they saw as an anarchic and possibly pointless process.
As lunchtime approached, Jim realized that some participants were desperate for more context, and he started in on his theory of social evolution:
“Civilized” political authority was originally organized on the pyramidal model. Power was person-based, with the king on top, and loyalty to the king the overriding virtue.
In the 18th century, a very imperfect but radically innovative “We the people” consisting of (only) propertied white males, established a contract – the US Constitution – as the new basis for political authority. This rules-based model, which Jim depicted as a box, is based on a competition of self-interested parties. When it doesn’t work, people rebel, but so long as they stay inside the box they may change elites but they do not change the system of competition among self-interested parties. There is no real space for the common interest.
Jim says that it is now time for a conversation based political regime, depicted as a circle, in which each participant is a co-founder of whatever emerges. He sees Wisdom Councils as the vehicle that can take us out of the box and into the circle. Box processes are self-limiting, and they can be managed by elites. But circle processes are self-organizing. They cannot be managed, and they are messy. There is no telling where they will go, but they always have the potential to go to “of courses” – a place where all the participants look at each other and say, “Of course. That is how it is” (or how it must be changed).
Square processes are “decision making” – they are designed to choose between a range of recognized options. Circle processes are “choice creating” – they are not constricted by the recognized options but can create new – and sometimes better – options that no one had thought of before, and that take account of each person’s concerns.
After lunch Jean Rough described the Wisdom Council process, which requires the holding of a series of Wisdom Councils:
1. The holding of a Wisdom Council – an open-ended, dynamically facilitated conversation among approximately 12 randomly selected people.
2. A community meeting immediately following the Wisdom Council at which the Wisdom Council reports to the full community at a well publicized public meeting. The members of the Wisdom Council also talk about their experiences in the Council. It has been found that the energy and enthusiasm of the participants about the process energizes the whole meeting, and kicks off
3. A larger conversation throughout a small community, or in the churches and community groups of a larger community.
4. Ongoing Wisdom Councils build on and contribute to the momentum until the whole community is engaged in a new way of relating to each other and to issues.
About 15 people said they would like to be involved in organizing a series of Wisdom Councils.
Sunday, November 14 eleven people met to begin the work of planning. Six others had said they wanted to be involved but were unable to attend the Sunday meeting.
Latest page update: made by GeorgeRS
, Nov 9 2007, 8:08 PM EST
(about this update
About This Update
No content added or deleted.
- complete history)
Keyword tags: None
More Info: links to this page
There are no threads for this page. Be the first to start a new thread.