Tuesday, October 21, 2003


I've been looking around at various sources of information on Emergent Democracy and I realized that before I go any further I should spew some of my own brain children before I latch onto a pile of other peoples ideas. In fact, new perspectives seem to be an important element in all of this.

So I'll start it off for thanking my father for teaching me the difference between observation and understanding. Thus when seeing, hearing, or reading anything as a child I could either remember it as an experience or, if the threshold of learning was crossed, I would take it inside. Only then would I allow the pruning and grafting of the network in my head leading to my gradual evolution as a human being. Sleepy time is where most of the work happened but I think we can all remember certain Eureka moments in our childhood. A physics prof of mine touted the "from first principles" method of teaching science as it lent itself to building understanding trees rather than a list of "facts" to remember.

So, what I was getting at with this is that as a child, the complex systems of culture, politics, economy, religion, and life in general were far too complex to understand (and still are I might add). So I built up this list of observations of life that I gradually begin to link together. Along the way I would often decide how I thought things should be before I understood how they were. Without realizing it these hopes became the anchors between my observations and my beliefs. Strands of hope.

Many observations are vicarious and thus there is a trust factor associated with the source. My trust was in my family, friends, ministers, teachers, bankers, scientists, police, government and of course my self. Over time the trustworthiness of all these entities came into question. My faith in the system was beginning to fail, my strands of hope were being cut and reality was seeping in. The system was not what I wanted it to be and every day I learned something that showed me that it was even worse than I had thought the day before. So there seem to be three paths away from this disillusionment, action, apathy, and self imposed ignorance. I chose apathy. I didn't forget, I just chose not to do anything about it.

I have since come to understand that apathy is not a path to happiness, for myself or the planet. So I have been wondering what I did with those strands of hope and thinking that maybe they could be useful. From my idealized versions of family, friends, ministers, teachers, bankers, scientists, police, government and self combined with unshackled wisdom I should be able to come up with some worthy ideas on parenting, relationships, church, education, economics, science, law enforcement, governance, and psychology/spirituality. Not definitive solutions, but a perspective worthy of contributing to the collective.

The strength of a network of humans does not come from the quantity of connections, but the quality of those connections. How do you build something out of truth and trust? Are there conceivable systems where ego and self interest are not characteristics of successful elements, systems where the intent supersedes the letter, where power is not abused, where youth is inspired rather than molded, where the currency everyone is striving after is true universal happiness?

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