Tagged: Demosophia

Democracy as the Means to Discover the New Narratives for Sustainable Futures

Democracy is in the business of continually creating a new narrative … oral, textual, and graphic … that can move through and transform communities. While some voices within the Club of Rome have railed against the shortfalls of distorted democracy (and we can see their points), there are few alternative governance approaches which we feel can carry our faith through the changing cycles of national leadership.

A compassionate self-criticism of the Club of Rome’s reliance on the voice of its technological experts is well stated on the Club of Rome blog by Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, a secular, non-governmental body founded in 1995 by HRH Prince Philip.

The largest sector of civil society is the religions of the world. And they do not deal in the world of data and economics that have dominated and to a great degree destroyed the potential that the Club of Rome report unleashed 40 years ago. They, like the rest of humanity, know that we are a story telling species. When you introduce yourself to someone new, you don’t tend to tell them the data of your life – how much you weighed when you were born, not even usually the date you were born; nor how tall you are or what size shoes you wear. You tell your stories.” … “The challenge therefore is to assist in the creation of new stories which together can shape the new narrative from which can arise the new values as well as preserve the best of the old.”

What many do not realize is that the quest to bring the voice of the people into the vision of the Club of Rome was one of the Club’s founding principles – however, for want of a technology of inclusive participation in crafting new narratives, the visionary intent was abandoned at the outset in favor of a focus on the voice of technical experts. At that time, the Club’s champions for the voice of the people detached themselves from the quest of the Club and took up the mission to cultivate sociotechnology — a means for understanding situations together which we call Demosophia — to extract new narratives from the wisdom of the people.

As the notion of inclusion rises within the Club of Rome, sociotechnology may now be rejoining physical technology as a means for understanding and interacting within our world.

DEMOSOPHIA Observatorium announced in Cyprus

The Chairman of the board of a municipality of 10.000 people in Cyprus, Mr. Spyros Elenodorou, has agreed to construct in his new municipality building a DEMOSOPHIA Observatorium, which has been a dream of Drs. Christakis and Warfield for over 30 years.  DEMOSOPHIA means “Wisdom of the People” and reinforces the idea that citizens will now have a place where they can visit and gather a view of the ideas that are taking shape in their community. AGORAS (Community) Observatorium

The Observatorium is a physical (or virtual) place, whose building interior contains a variety of rooms, and facilitates rapid familiarization with their contents by the persons who navigate it. The visual and virtual displays in the Observatorium are tailored to help navigate the complexity in understanding situations, societal evidence and policies, both broadly and in depth. The facility is meant to expose to participants the nature of a large organization, its problems, vision, and an ongoing status of collective efforts to resolve shared concerns.

Comparison with the planetarium for shared viewing of the complex field of stars in the universe, by presenting meaningful presentations is self-evident.

The first step in resolving issues related to large, complex systems is to provide a well- designed situation room, equipped to enable groups to work together effectively. The second step is to carry out whatever prolonged design work is required, using processes proven to be effective, yielding visual displays of the system patterns that hold understanding of the logic underlying the system. The third step is to embed the results of the second step in the corporate observatorium, where insight into the large, complex system comes both at overview and detailed levels, according to the efforts put forth to comprehend what is seen in the sequenced displays.

John Warfield had promoted a similar proposal throughout his career, based on the Triad of policy design espoused by Harold Laswell. The Social Planetarium, Lasswell’s concept, was one of 3 systemic practices advocated for policy design and co-development:

  • Decision seminars
  • Social Planetarium
  • Pre-Legislature