Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fixing Democracy, Part 11

This is the next in a series of posts on how to make our democracy work better based on an article in The Intelligent Optimist magazine (formerly Ode) by Tom Atlee.


“In a citizen deliberative council, the experience being considered is the diverse experience of its members, and the teachings of the diverse facts and lessons provided by various experts. It is precisely the diversity of these things that enables them to support the emergence of wisdom.


“Instead of wisdom deriving from making sense of varied moments over time in one person’s life, it derives from making sense of the diversity of life experiences and lessons in a mixed group and the diversity of information and perspectives gleaned from fair full briefings and diverse expert witnesses.


“Instead of this being mulled over in the lone mind of an individual, it is mulled over in the minds of a dozen or a hundred people in respectful, creative conversation. Whatever coherent understanding emerges from the process has broader applicability and benefit.  This is because of the diversity of knowledge and experience from which was not suppressed but instead honored and used creatively.


“The popular ‘wisdom of crowds’ idea—that the aggregated responses of many independent people generates better answers than any one of them would, or even than experts would—is sometimes useful for crowd sourced estimates and predictions. But it does not generate true wisdom. That requires high-quality deliberative conversation among diverse people.


“My definition of deliberation in this work is ‘thorough, thoughtful consideration of how to best address an issue or situation, covering a wide range of information, perspectives and potential consequences of diverse approaches.’”

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