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Thursday, May 13

  1. msg From Janet message posted From Janet Reflection on potential and pitfalls It is 4.45 am in Vienna and the pounding of my head and con…
    From Janet
    Reflection on potential and pitfalls

    It is 4.45 am in Vienna and the pounding of my head and conscience has lead me to make a blogger contribution,whilst the reflections are floating and sorting into my consciousness. The potential and pitfalls cannot be divided into two neat compartments , they are of course systemically linked. The difficulties and potentials are linked and need to be addressed by means of systemic ( Taoist) principles.

    The stress we have felt due to space –time differences is undeniable,as is the physical stress caused by technological glitches with the link ups . The time differences cannot be solved by reliance on world time clocks – because clearly the local daylight saving is not always factored in quickly.Also human error seems to kreep in with day light saving occurring simultaneously in South Australia and in ???? in USA. Reliance on group emails to confirm times seems to be the safest approach to check on the times,particularly when so many players are involved in so many places internationally.
    Potential
    The facilitation locally needs to be conducted by people who trust the contributions of the wider team. This was built into the design and was the factor that carried us through the difficult stages of recruiting and sustaining the initial stages of the conversation. Clearly distance technology only augments the relationships that are created face to face. It is in these relationships that sufficient trust is built up to weather the stages of testing the new technology.

    The fact that students were clearly interested and keen to ‘give it a go’ was the other strong supporting factor.

    As far as the process is concerned as a local facilitator ,juggling many other teaching , research projects means that time is always a problem. Conversation and making time for conversation is difficult. Another challenge is that interested students like to ‘dip their toe into the water’ to find out about the participatory democracy process, which is good, but do not realize the amount of time required. This needs to be carefully managed. Fortunately Ida Widaya , Michael Martins and Chris Williams did their ‘shadowing’ alongside the local facilitator ( Janet) whilst the two registered students Kelly and Tony played the role as members of the discussion group. My role as local facilitator as well as participant was blurred as I stepped in and out of role. The same applied to Ken and Tom.

    The fact that students were registerd to participate and that much was at stake for them and for the participants leading the process cannot be denied either. The position and reputation power of the local facilators play a role as is the wish to develop democratic participatory processes! This needs to be unpacked more with the participants.

    The process itself is extended over weeks for teaching purposes and reflection which also has strengths and weaknesses on which the participants need to comment.

    For me the process of coming up with a triggering question is a vital stage, but leaving this out for the purpose of focusing on the 49 CCP was appropriate for the teaching experience. It also seems to hold promise for engaging with local and regional governments to address problems.
    My concern is that the process be applied appropriately. Citizens may like to comment on issues and sit in halls where they can hear the 49 CCP described by people with professional expertise and then move to ranking which are the 5 move pressing problems for them. Then move onto a SD that is facilitated along the lines we have followed using distance communication to scale up the conversations from local to regional levels.

    The actual process of thinking through the relationships across the variables is not problematic for people with tertiary level education or ( I believe from our shared empirical experience) for people with lived experience and a concern for the issues that are discussed in the triggering question.

    The biggest issue is the fear of technological failure and the need to make enough time for the conversation.

    I am keen to see the map of factors that the students and the surviving team generated on Monday. It would be useful to compare and contrast the map of factors ( and the relationships) with the earlier version generated by those who joined the agora before 9am Australia time.

    The way in which the conversation clarified and persuaded participants to change their votes needs to be explored carefully. When students and professors engage is the role the same as when complete strangers engage? Then again – would complete strangers make the time and make the effort to engage? This is the point I was raising initially about the potential and pitfalls being systemically linked. It is paradoxical and an issue which I explored in depth in ‘ Systemic governance and Accountability.’
    Democracy and governance require trust and openness. But this has risk. It is a risk we have to take. I spent time watching a BBC documentary on the risk posed by the Internet called ‘Web Warriers’ about the hacker called Michael Calce ‘ known as Mafia Boy’ who was imprisoned for 8 months for demonstrating that he could hack into all the government computing systems in the United States. The positive and negative potential for two way democracy and two way governance is undeniable .

    Soft ware to engage participation will need to be protected from those who could subvert it.

    The potential for viruses to infect and control computers so that messages or votes could be sent without our knowing is undeniable.

    Every human invention can be subverted,but society and the environment functions because we remain ( at this stage) able to manage the perturbations and changes.
    Well that was my wake up call from reception. I am going to a team syntegration run by Allena Leonard for the International Federation of Systems Research on strategies to advance systems thinking. Needless to say the SD approach will be mentioned as a viable means to scale up democracy and governance.

    To my mind if we close off freedoms to participate we will undermine democracy and the potential for good governance. Good is a value concept that needs to be defined with future generations in mind. We can be free and diverse –but only to the extent that we do not undermine the freedoms of others. Keeping a balance between centralized and decentralized steering is the challenge……
    Interestingly my headache has gone. I believe that my conscience feels better. Candace Pert (1997) ‘ Molecules of Emotion’ would agree that our thinking shapes matter . Our thinking matters because it is the basis of the design we bequeath to the next generation. As Prof Chroust said ‘ Brisbane is a natual history museum’. Magnificent Vienna does not have many birds. Our culture is our choice.Let it be informed and let us be stewards in the sense used by Laslow.
    Well tried to log into the wiki ,but have been told that because my time clock is different I am not allowed to enter the wiki!!!!
    I think this is another glitch that makes mere mortals feel challenged. It needs to be addressed.
    Must dash or I will be late.
    My warmest regards
    to all of you brave souls- letus keep trying our best
    As ever
    Janet
    11:49 am

Tuesday, May 4

  1. msg Invent a "biggest fibber" prize for non-sustainable rhetoric message posted Invent a "biggest fibber" prize for non-sustainable rhetoric Janet, the prize would probably be something like a roll of toilet paper extended in a "approp…
    Invent a "biggest fibber" prize for non-sustainable rhetoric
    Janet, the prize would probably be something like a roll of toilet paper extended in a "appropriate" ceremony. The prize is not intended to be prized. The recipient is not expected to step forward to receive it ... however, if they do have an apology to offer .... well, this might be a good thing.
    8:53 am
  2. msg Janet's Story message posted Janet's Story Yes, the map is a map of where strong agreement in importance and influence is revealed. All contr…
    Janet's Story
    Yes, the map is a map of where strong agreement in importance and influence is revealed. All contributions do remain part of the group's record, and individuals are free to comment on any and all maner of additional material in the context of the map that the group has constructed. It is important, of course, that any commentary that extends beyond the consensus output of the group needs to be identified as such by any individual author who uses the map to explain ideas that may build upon the group's agreements.
    8:32 am

Thursday, April 29

  1. page home edited END OF COURSE SUMMARY AS POSTED ON THE AGORAS WEBSITEA A Retrospective on Please go to the 49…

    END OF COURSE SUMMARY AS POSTED ON THE AGORAS WEBSITEAA Retrospective on
    Please go to the 49 Critical Problems page, then click on the Discussion tab to enter your clarifications.
    After studying and discussing the 49 Critical Problems, go to the Voting page, then click on the Discussion tab to enter your top 5.
    The Institute for 21st Century Agoras
    END OF COURSE SUMMARY AS POSTED ON THE AGORAS WEBSITE
    {Retrospective_Copyright_100dpi.jpg} Retrospective
    (view changes)
    9:32 am
  2. page home edited A END OF COURSE SUMMARY AS POSTED ON THE AGORAS WEBSITEA Retrospective on Please go to the 49…

    AEND OF COURSE SUMMARY AS POSTED ON THE AGORAS WEBSITEA Retrospective on
    Please go to the 49 Critical Problems page, then click on the Discussion tab to enter your clarifications.
    After studying and discussing the 49 Critical Problems, go to the Voting page, then click on the Discussion tab to enter your top 5.
    (view changes)
    9:31 am

Sunday, April 25

  1. msg recognise that the planet is overloaded and develop a new world view message posted recognise that the planet is overloaded and develop a new world view The global commons can only be protected by means of a change in our way of life and in our aspirat…
    recognise that the planet is overloaded and develop a new world view
    The global commons can only be protected by means of a change in our way of life and in our aspirations as a human race that identifies with other forms of life and the environment. We need to adapt our way of life and re-create our identity. It requires a realisation that our common future requires a change in the way we construct our conceptual and spatial boundaries. The global commons can only be protected by means of a change in our way of life and in our aspirations as a human race that identifies with other forms of life and the environment. We need to adapt our way of life and re-create our identity. This does not require closing our boundaries to immigrants or refugees. It requires a realisation that our common future requires a change in the way we construct our conceptual and spatial boundaries. Individual and collective interests need to be balanced to ensure that representation; accountability and sustainability principles are the basis for recognising the integral relationships across people , the environment and the next generation of life.
    Indigenous wisdom and systemics can be applied to enhance ethical literacy and to scale up participatory governance and democracy by adapting a version of the Aarhus convention.Creativity, imagination, deliberation and the exploration of scenarios could transform traditional democracy based on liberal voting procedures. Research on participatory democracy such as this process and the prototype we are currently testing with government organisations addressing poverty and pollution (in progress) demonstrates a proof of concept and a possible means to combine participatory democracy (to generate social, economic and environmental policy agendas) with ‘if then’ scenarios to inform regional decision making. We need to Contribute to the literature on ways to achieve participatory democracy and governance with diverse stakeholders holding diverse values in regional areas. We need to demonstrate how systemic skills can be used to draw connections in conversation which explores many domains of knowledge and also our emotions.
    The Copenhagen Climate Change Summit illustrates that even when organisations try to include diverse stakeholders and diverse viewpoints, the challenge remains as to how to include diverse viewpoints. We need to have public meeting spaces that can enable discussions on a regular basis locally, regionally and globally with diverse groups of people. Brown and Fox (in Edwards and Gaventa eds., 2001) stress that the internet is insufficient to build coalitions. Face to face local communications need to occur horizontally and representatives at regional level need to build face to face coalitions with other representatives and so on. But the internet can provide a means for these face to face links to be scaled up by representatives who act as ‘boundary spanners’(Christakis and Brahms 2003) because they have trusting relationships with counterparts at the regional and global level. The use of the process outlined in Chapter 3 and discussed in chapter 4 could translate this idea into practice and could contribute to addressing the sorts of challenges that will arise when diverse stakeholders engage with one another on complex issues.
    ‘Joining up the dots’ is more than an intellectual capability; it is a way of life. How to achieve pluralism and sustainability is the subject of
    So although the non local nature of human rights has been recognized, the political and economic interests of nation states have prevailed to prevent the realization of multilateral changes. It could be argued that for human rights to be implemented it will require our realisation that our survival is interconnected with the survival of the planet and maintaining diverse non human life and the environment to support life.
    Individual and collective interests need to be balanced to ensure that representation; accountability and sustainability principles are the basis for recognising the integral relationships across people , the environment and the next generation of life.
    Indigenous wisdom and systemics can be applied to enhance ethical literacy and to scale up participatory governance and democracy by adapting a version of the Aarhus convention.Creativity, imagination, deliberation and the exploration of scenarios could transform traditional democracy based on liberal voting procedures. Research on participatory democracy such as this process and the prototype we are currently testing with government organisations addressing poverty and pollution (in progress) demonstrates a proof of concept and a possible means to combine participatory democracy (to generate social, economic and environmental policy agendas) with ‘if then’ scenarios to inform regional decision making. We need to Contribute to the literature on ways to achieve participatory democracy and governance with diverse stakeholders holding diverse values in regional areas. We need to demonstrate how systemic skills can be used to draw connections in conversation which explores many domains of knowledge and also our emotions.
    The Copenhagen Climate Change Summit illustrates that even when organisations try to include diverse stakeholders and diverse viewpoints, the challenge remains as to how to include diverse viewpoints. We need to have public meeting spaces that can enable discussions on a regular basis locally, regionally and globally with diverse groups of people. Brown and Fox (in Edwards and Gaventa eds., 2001) stress that the internet is insufficient to build coalitions. Face to face local communications need to occur horizontally and representatives at regional level need to build face to face coalitions with other representatives and so on. But the internet can provide a means for these face to face links to be scaled up by representatives who act as ‘boundary spanners’(Christakis and Brahms 2003) because they have trusting relationships with counterparts at the regional and global level. The use of the process outlined in Chapter 3 and discussed in chapter 4 could translate this idea into practice and could contribute to addressing the sorts of challenges that will arise when diverse stakeholders engage with one another on complex issues.
    ‘Joining up the dots’ is more than an intellectual capability; it is a way of life. How to achieve pluralism and sustainability is the subject of
    So although the non local nature of human rights has been recognized, the political and economic interests of nation states have prevailed to prevent the realization of multilateral changes. It could be argued that for human rights to be implemented it will require our realisation that our survival is interconnected with the survival of the planet and maintaining diverse non human life and the environment to support life.
    4:48 pm
  2. msg Enhancement map story message posted Enhancement map story The challenge is indeed to develop new cultural values and institutions to support the new values.H…
    Enhancement map story
    The challenge is indeed to develop new cultural values and institutions to support the new values.How do we move from 'an overfull world' to a sustainable world?
    We need to consider the identity and power base of elite decision makers and shows how the powerless continue to be blamed for problems, including overpopulation. Global citizenship needs to enable a new form of democracy that enables lobbying to ensure that people face up to convergent social, economic and environmental challenges. the burden for change needs to be faced by everyone ( us) to makes a case for greater awareness of our shared complicity in not shifting the burden of responsibility for social, economic and environmental challenges. Unlike ‘Overloading Australia’ (O’Connor and Lines 2010) , I would argue the importance of an increased mindfulness of our place in the world and the way we can shape social movements and planetary politics to support social and environmental justice, not a limited approach to national boundaries which enable organisations and nation states to ‘shift the burden’ of poverty and pollution elsewhere. The way forward is to re-conceptualise the governance and democracy in the media and to argue against this mentality and to raise awareness that as a human race we are playing out the same problem at multiple levels. We cannot remove poverty and pollution by shifting the burden to other interest groups, other cultures, other races, other classes, other nation states or other regions. We cannot address the challenge of population reduction merely within the boundaries of the nation state. Regional areas (within and beyond the nation state) need to be open to support neighbours facing the challenges of drought or flood or conflict. Social, economic and environmental issues are regional and they comprise a planetary problem. By framing population reduction within the nation state the authors (intentionally or unintentionally support the argument of Hardin(1968) who coined the concept ‘Tragedy of the Commons’. Hardin argues that human beings are likely to exploit the commons because they are greedy and wish to make a profit. His argument can be used as a means to support capitalism and that the waste of resources can best be curbed in a nation state. Their argument rests on the ‘zero sum’ approach which stems from a misunderstanding of the critical problems facing the planet. We ( the human race)need to :
    • Face up to the convergent social, economic and environmental challenges facing the planet.
    • Extend the social contract ( via a global governance institutions) to regional areas that protect people within and beyond the boundaries of the nation state using a biosphere approach.
    • Scale up local participation and decision making so that social and environmental justice concerns can be addressed.
    • Become conscious of our rights and responsibilities as global citizens.
    The idea that population pressures are responsible for the problems facing the planet are undeniable, but the pressures by developed nation states and the rich are undoubtedly greater than the pressures by less developed nations states and the poor. But too many people continue to aspire to a standard of living that is unsustainable. We need to change our cultural aspirations and to re-think our identity.
    4:44 pm

Friday, April 23

  1. msg Invent a "biggest fibber" prize for non-sustainable rhetoric message posted Invent a "biggest fibber" prize for non-sustainable rhetoric the process of expanded testing of ideas would prevent lies from becoming culturally imbedded. By a…
    Invent a "biggest fibber" prize for non-sustainable rhetoric
    the process of expanded testing of ideas would prevent lies from becoming culturally imbedded. By awarding a prize we may paradoxically give status -
    1:33 am
  2. msg conduct SDDs message posted conduct SDDs Yes this form of participatory democracy could help to alleviate the sorts of problems experienced …
    conduct SDDs
    Yes this form of participatory democracy could help to alleviate the sorts of problems experienced in Copenhagen talks. The problem is that United Nations is very traditional in its approach to dialogue and consultation. There needs to be more awareness of the value of this kind of approach. To do this we need to write up the process and share it in a range of fora. One of these is ISSS. I suggest that Ken presents this learning exercise as a paper and that it is written up as a joint exercise in easily accessible language so that it could appear in a mainstream journal that has credibility. Many Systems journals are C ranked or B ranked. I suggest we opt for the Consciousness journal which is A ranked.

    This has traction politically as Baroness Prof Susan Greenfield is on the board of the journal. She supports participatory democracy and has great ability to popularise science for the benefit of democracy....
    1:31 am

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