Empowering Public Wisdom

Empowering Public Wisdom

Tom Atlee

The revolution in decision-making that citizen deliberative councils offer us is of comparable magnitude to the revolution in decision-making created centuries ago by the idea of majority vote. It can be applied virtually anywhere, and it could make all the difference in the world.

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  • This is pointless.

    Your solution is democracy, this site is about democracy, the point of this site is to have solutions that democracy can be used with.

  • I used to be a very dysfunctional acsvtiit, pre-NVC. It's likely that I created more pain than healing in the world as a result, despite my intentions to heal the world.NVC has helped me to mature as an acsvtiit, to think more clearly, and to handle and diffuse explosive situations and misunderstandings in relationships. A number of times my relationships with other acsvtiits might have been completely destroyed if I had not practiced NVC and been able to create a different outcome. The circular firing squad for which the left is known would have unnecessarily gotten in the way of progress and the work getting done, and good intentions turned completely into bitterness, finger-pointing and brokenness. I'm now better able to handle the stressful life of an acsvtiit without self-destructing or scapegoating others and by defusing the tendency of others to scapegoat, I have helped make our organization stronger and redirected people's anger to the real problems that need attention. I hate to think of my mental state today if I had not been lucky enough to be exposed to NVC and specifically had my understanding furthered by Miki's teaching. Waste of time? No, without NVC I might have stopped being able to function, ground down by the world.At the same time, I do admit, I don't have fire in my belly quite like before. I am more willing to forgive and to see things in shades of gray and by increasing my capacity to listen and understand others, to see new truths and appreciate complexities. While some may see this as absolving others of responsibility, the truth is, if it were so easy for others to exorcise their demons, if things were so black and white, the world would be healed already. If you cannot connect to what is human in that other person, there is not much hope for changing them or redeeming them.Thanks to NVC I have had greater self-esteem and greater skills to grapple with the human condition and stay in the fight, whereas some of my colleagues have withdrawn altogether because it was just too painful for them to keep fighting the overwhelming power of evil in this world and dealing with their fellow imperfect human beings. On the other hand I have seen some who are almost completely without NVC skills stay in the fight regardless, some how. What's clear to me is that I no longer cause as much pain to my colleagues as those other folks regularly do. I am able to engage others instead of eventually driving them away. I feel more at peace, I am able to be more effective, and to be confident of creating a new way of being in the world.Post-NVC I believe I am more sophisticated about the roots of evil, without holding up specific human beings as enemies. I may believe these people I oppose are fallen people, victims of false ideologies, but human nonetheless. And I also know that if I were in their shoes I might not have ended up choosing differently from them. Yet, there is still the hope that they can change and see the light, that they can be redeemed. I am free to focus on root causes: greed, inequality, consumerism, worship of money, and so forth, and the institutional structures that enforce these. But sometimes I miss the energizing effect and clear sense of purpose of having a specific enemy with a human face. I never thought I would say that!NVC has its limits, but at the same time I believe NVC is necessary to be able to achieve lasting healing. I don't look to NVC to provide me with a political theory, but much of what is personal does manifest itself in the political. NVC makes healing possible, and is something that I depend on for keeping my sanity and making real progress. Most of the leader/acsvtiits I know would be happier people and would more easily attract and retain others to the work if they had NVC skills. And most people would have a lot less unnecessary pain in their lives if they were proficient at NVC, and they would free up a whole lot of time and energy for more productive things. NVC is hard, and lots of people who study it don't really get it or it doesn't stick . Which I find tragic because if they really did understand it their lives and relationships and whole relating to the world would be much improved.

  • This is way more helpful than aynhitng else I've looked at.

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