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[ba-unrev-talk] Our Predicament: Collectively, we are creating effectsin our world beyond our collective ability to comprehend, etc. ?

The following excerpts that I've shamelessly copied below are from an intro to a new book that will be released, April 22, 2003The Tao of Democracy by Tom Atlee for $15.95 plus $4.50 shipping.

 Our predicament ?

Daily we watch our government do things which
then have dramatic effects on our lives. Does it feel like we have government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Does it feel like our government is making wise decisions? Are we happy with the way our government works? Do we have any choice in the matter?

"[Our] democratic innovations are critical at this moment in history to deal with the crisis-generating capacity of twenty-first century civilization:

Collectively, we are creating effects in our world beyond our collective ability to comprehend what we are doing, at a speed that surpasses our collective ability to reflect and respond."

Stop and think about this for a minute.

We cannot individually comprehend the range, depth and detail of the consequences we are collectively generating for ourselves.

Billions of dollars are spent each year for researching, developing and practicing the arts of war and profit. Perhaps it is time to demand that billions be invested in researching, developing and practicing the arts of wisdom, citizen deliberation and public judgment. Which expenditure do you think would provide us with greater quality of life and security?

It is time for our democracy to outgrow the manipulation of public opinion and start thinking wisely for itself. The troubling consequences of our "collective" decisions are growing more dramatic every day. It is time for us to free the heart, mind and voice of We, the People into its innate power to generate wisdom for the good of all.

[In fact,] the greater the crises we face, the greater the need for wisdom. Terrorism, war and other perceived threats often stimulate the engineering of unity -- what Noam Chomsky has rightly called (in a book by that title) "Manufacturing Consent." There is an urge to silence voices that diverge from the united front. Such suppression of diversity deprives us of the grist we need to generate real wisdom, at the very moment when that wisdom is most critical to our survival. The more divisive or dangerous the issue or circumstances, the more vital it is that public judgment be exercised to tap urgently needed wisdom. And public judgment REQUIRES that diversity and conflict be well utilized, not suppressed.

Furthermore, we need to apply an unprecedented level of collective wisdom to all the challenges we face. Right now, there is much wisdom on earth, scattered here and there. But our collective actions as societies are clearly not wise. It is far too easy to imagine that the problem is "out there," with all of the various powerholders and interests groups that keep the wise solutions that already exist from being implemented. But if we find ways to work with one another across a wide range of differences, we could then create the broad-based coalitions we need in order to implement the wisdom that we have.

As a culture, we have abundant insight and know-how that just need to be pulled together and aligned so our whole society can see and think and feel and dream more effectively together.

[Moreover,] we need ways to focus our full capabilities -- heart, mind, soul, and gut -- on our collective situation. We need to be informed by big-picture sensibilities, aware of our potential for both catastrophe and evolution, for both co-stupidity and collective wisdom. We need methods that can help us deepen and expand our thinking, feeling and dreaming, and we need ways to weave it all together, collaboratively, into a shared future. Co-intelligence is the capacity to do that, individually and collectively.

When we succeed at that, we will not only be saving ourselves from disaster. When we become fully capable of wisely co-creating a better future, we will be taking a giant step forward into conscious cultural evolution.

Doing that one thing would make all the difference in the world.

It is time for us to take that step."