Democracies – and worse
Daniel Schmachtenberger: We need new systems of governance. If we think about how much we love the word „democracy“ and we love the word „democracy“ because it´s better than tyranny and it´s better than the other like really horrible systems that we´ve experienced at any scale. But when Winston Churchill said „democracy is the single worst form of governance ever created save for all the other forms“, what he was saying – and that was really insightful – was, that getting lots of humans to agree on anything is just a hard think to do and we suck at it. And we´ve never actually done a good job at it and this is a really flawed system. Now, we like it because, like we said, it´s overcoming things that were even more problematic.
If you think about democracy for a moment and whether we are talking about representative democracy or liquid democracy using a voting currency or binary vote, fundamentally of a process of saying „okay, we can´t get everybody to agree beyond a very small number of people“ – done by a number of tribe, you can get everybody agree, because they all can be in a conversation together.
Beyond the level of which you can have a conversation together, you can have a few people control everything and they can be in a conversation together – some type of oligarchy or meritocracy. But when you´re like: „No, we want most of the people to agree at least“, that seems like a good idea – but somebody puts forward a proposition to do something that they think is important, based on their limited sense making that is never everything. That proposition – because it wasn´t informed by comprehensive sense making – will always, in the process of benefitting something, also damage something else.
And so some people love it – based on if what it´s benefiting is directly relevant to them and other people hate it – based on if what it´s damaging is relevant to them. You just created inexorable polarization because you make shitty propositions and then ask people to vote „yes“ or „no“ – on a shitty proposition.
So you notice people actually don´t all get to contribute to the sense making of what a good proposition would be. There´s no kind of collective input there. There isn´t even a generation of what would „good“ mean here. So really even their choice making is just „yes“ or „no“ on a frame that was already controlled.
And typically who is going to be able to even put forward a proposition is someone who has vested interests and so you` re stuck with polarisation in that particular system, right?
How do we individually and collectively make sense of what is going on?
So we need new systems of governance that are not any system of governance the world has ever done so far. There are systems of “how do we individually and collectively make sense of what´s going on”. Make sense of what we actually value and how those values can be synergistically satisfied – rather than a theory of trade-offs with each other – progressively better. And how do we create designs that are optimal synergistic satisfiers. So that´s totally new thing, governance wise.
We need totally new systems of economics, we need totally new systems of education, healthcare, all the way down to an individual level, a new basis for identity values, our own individual sense making choice making.
What does “I” even mean?
As long as I think that I am an individual that is fundamentally seperate from you and the biosphere and every thing else, I can think about optimizing my own quality of life independent of – and maybe even at the expense of your quality of life or the biosphere or anything else.
As soon as I get that, I start to say, okay, well, I am not that tree. But what would I be without trees? I would not exist, right? Well, there would be no atmosphere if there weren´t plants photosynthesizing, so I, fundamentally, I am not even a meaningful concept without plants. So if I think of myself as me that is not fundamentally interdependent with plants, I am actually not even thinking clearly, right?
It´s just a bad ontology, it´s a bad semiotic, and when I start to run that and say well what about soil, microbiota and what about – and it turns out that my life depends on the whole thing and so „I“ can be better thought of as an emergent property of this whole thing.
Not just the biosphere – because what would I be without the sun? So, as long as I have a sense of „I“ that is seperate and maybe even rival, in rivalrous competion for some scarce, status, resource, attention, partner, or whatever it is, then we have a fundamental basis for war. And in a world of exponentially increasing technology which means that the warfare gets to be more and more consequential that will selfterminate.
So, rivalrous dynamics, multiplied by exponential tech self-terminate – exponential tech is inexorable, we cannot put it away, so we either figure out antirivalry or we get exceed, an experiment comes to a completion. Thats like – thats the core thing.
Figuring out anti-rivalry is a psycho-spiritual process inside of ourselves – can we actually even get along with our family members, can we pay attention to our emotions and triggers that hijack us from soverignty – because the moment I´m getting pissed and my value system is not to be an angry person I´m actually hijacked, right?
Can I pay attention to that and actually have some sovereignty over my own inner state and how I show up in the world and can we figure out how to to that collectively as well?
Part 3 is to be found here