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            WHO CAN VOTE? Add your comment on this item9


            The democratic ideal is not that every living person has equal say (or vote) on all matters. Every society that utilizes input from some of its members, draws a line between those who can participate in governance and those who are excluded. Embryos before birth are not, themselves, consulted; nor are very young children. Indeed, it is necessary to "manipulate" young children to enhance their survival and thrival' children are far from "free". "Criminals" and the "insane" (whatever the criteria) are usually excluded. In different societies at different times, whole classes of persons were excluded from participation in governance - Blacks, Native Americans, and Women in the USA -- and children up to some age in the teens. Add your comment on this item10


            I am aware that there are alternative processes for group decisions that don't involve voting. Decision-making by persons is different when deciders know of the impact decisions will make on others, as well as impacting future decisions. Optimum transparency and confidence in one's freedom to express one's views without fear of reprisal is also important. The process of decision making is much more complex than occasionally "batch" voting, especially when the "vote count" can be manipulated. This section is only concerned about who can participate in decisions and how their contributions can be "weighted". Add your comment on this item11


            Sometimes the line is drawn between who is considered "human" and who are "less than human" and thus open to exploitation.  There is probably some "psychological" states for in-group and out-group association that supports enforcing the line of discrimination. Add your comment on this item12


            This is an issue diligently avoided by even those most active in working for more participatory democracy.  Should there be a uniform age limit for participation, or should developmental maturity and knowledge be used to determine the cut in the diversity distribution for age?  Should humans, while growing up be given social responsibilities commensurate with their competencies (not age). Add your comment on this item13
Comments for item 13
06:09 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 13
Should humans, while growing up be given social responsibilities commensurate with their competencies (not age). YES.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
03:49 PM ET (US)
Regarding item 13
deepwater - Yes to Yes.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, if we were to honestly examine practices in infant, child and youth "raising", across all times and all cultures. Many would horrify us; none would be without serious flaws. Most cultures settle into a tradition of practices for handling the "immature", practices that don't destabilize the culture too much when the young become adults.

Although inheritance ("nature" plays a very significant role in determining a field of potential adults, "nurture" (or its absence)is also a very significant factor. The resilience of most children, not necessarily to be immune to nurture, but not to be totally destroyed by improper nurture, is a powerful factor - necessary for the species survival. Yet, the adult who was a resilient child is usually far from their realizable potentials.

The hard fact is that the adult world has enormous power to mold the upcoming generations, and with this comes an enormous responsibility. The neglect of this responsibility may open the gate for the generations to invent their own adult cultures. The counter-acting power of youth peer groups, and the power of children to mold parents, usually insures that adult generations can't totally control what the next generations will be. Also, adult determination to mold children to their ideals, independent of the nature and wishes of the developing child is recipe for disaster.

Using one of my recent terms, the adult world creates educational scaffolding for the galdee of the young. To date, this scaffolding has never been created with consideration of adequate knowledge of biological development and individual differences of the young. Although we need much more knowledge in these domains, our contemporary knowledge has far outstripped their applications in practice. What is applied is usually piecemeal.

Most of the design of "proper" practices for the galdee of youth (and today, a lifelong process) must be empirical. With this comes the awesome ethical responsibility of "experimenting with life". Yet, all child rearing today is experimental, if sloppy in doing (or not doing) whatever the parents think appropriate (with very few exceptions).

Parents (and other adults, including youth who are always a part of the developmental environment of their peers and those younger) cannot become paralyzed with anxiety about the power they ARE executing on the molding of children - even when the children don't grow up to fit their intended mold.

In my long career as an educator, I started teaching college, then high and junior high, then developing curricula for elementary and pre school. I learned that no matter how well constructed educational practices are, that really work with children, determined by empirical testing -- these practices are warped or ignored by most teachers and parents. The lesson learned: a better educational system (including media and non school factors) depends on the concurrent co-education of adults and children - everyone.

We are all continuing learners, continuing galdee-ers. We are also all learning educators - watch X year olds care for their younger siblings.

Older persons (those with requisite competencies) must design the fundamentals of the educational scaffolding, but final decisions must be in the hands of the learners, whatever age. I call this: Learners for Quality Education or LQE.

The immediate (educational scaffolding) environment should be as finely tuned as possible to the unique nature of the person, taking into account their whole biological and developmental history. Within this well tuned learning environment the learner should have maximum freedom. As we learn, and learn about learning and ourselves, we can begin to participate in the design of our own future educational scaffolding. This is educational bootstrapping.

Back to deepwater's decisive response. Yes, the young should have societal responsibilities -- otherwise when will they ever develop a sense of social worth and develop the skills of responsible citizens, partners, and parents ? Although puberty is biologically driven, adolescence is a societal illness - in persons having the need and competencies to assume responsible roles in society and not being permitted to assume those roles. Adolescence can continue through the twenties and beyond.

In view of the above, popular criticism of education is so very weak and misdirected. As critical a force as education is in determining the nature of a culture and/or society, one cannot wait for significant improvement in the general education system - which is mostly regulated by outmoded societal practices and immune to significant reform. A new and better education system can only co-galdee with new communities, societies, and persons. A challenging enterprise.



            I once viewed a film of a tribe of nomads who moved their livestock over a high mountain range, and back, for the different seasons.  The film featured the tribal chief's six year old daughter who had responsibility during the trek for the care of her four year old brother and two goats. Add your comment on this item14


            There are transitional periods in a person's development where their brains undergo massive reorganization, such as during puberty, when their behavior can be quite chaotic, even temporarily pathological (to adult standards).  So-called "primitive" cultures developed elaborate initiation rituals to assist their young men and women through this important transition.  Developed societies have abandoned assisting youth during this transition. The issue here is whether "rights" might be restricted during periods when a person is incapable of functioning appropriately (of course, the youth will question "what is appropriate"). Add your comment on this item15


            Stan Grof   is concerned with a common state of personal transition he calls "Spiritual Emergency"; which often occurs when a person is undergoing a very significant re-organization of their worldviews and values.  Often "psychotic" behavior and ideation accompany these "healthy" transitions. Grof was concerned that mental health professionals, unfamiliar with this situation, would prescribe medications or treatment that blocked the emergence. Grof organized a Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN) of persons who were aware of this issue and were prepared to consult with traditional mental health professionals should some of their patients give indication of being in a Spiritual Emergency.  I was part of the SEN for awhile; I don't know whether it still exists.  SEN is an example of a seafing network. Add your comment on this item16
Comments for item 16
12:50 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 16
This is something which would make a big difference to folk in their process of adjusting to the new. If there was adequate support, humans could consciously evolve at a much greater rate and in safety.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
01:35 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 16
/m4 Yes. I believe that human life may be very different in the future. In many ways I view humankind as still in its embryonic stage, in analogy about to undergo birthing. This is one view of jorl's phase shift.

But, we cannot take the analogy too literally. There are many details for us and our emergence that a different from all other examples. What does manifest over time will likely have many features unimagined today; even not comprehended if we were told about it. We need more Science Fiction where 21st Century humans visit places in our distant past and confront difficulties we would have tell them about our world.

If I had a billion dollars to spend, I would employ people well to create colab scaffolding, colab studios, seafing networks, semwrlds which I would truly enjoy emerging within during the last years of my life. The power of money is that it can pay others to dedicate their attention to you long enough for them to comprehend what they might do. We can attract persons to STAR without the promise of money, but it may prove difficult to keep their attention long enough for them to cross thresholds.

A really convincing vision of a good future, where we galdee "at a much greater rate and in safety" can be an attractor. To be able to live an early and yet primitive version of the vision, where reesee galdee is evident can be the bond that keeps members participating.

Can an "early and yet primitive version of the vision" be created by us?

What are the specs for such an early system and what is the strategy that will lead to its manifestation?

This is a query topic.


            Another sticky issue is whether persons should have governance participation rights on issues they either know nothing about, and/or are incapable of learning enough to make a competent decision, and/or are fixed in their opinion and closed to learning more?  I simply volunteer not to vote for persons or issues I am not sufficiently informed to make a quality choice.  Of course, the issue is WHO should have the ability and right to make these exclusionary decisions. This difficulty is no excuse not to face the issue.  I believe there are systems that will facilitate resolving this issue - but I doubt that they would be comprehended or approved by any contemporary decision-making body.  Yet, they could be an aspect of a new, emergent social system.  This is not to say that developing criteria would be easy. Add your comment on this item17


            Who can participate and are there differential rights for members is an issue for every stage of societal emergence, not just at the final stage. Add your comment on this item18


            Related to the above issue is the great diversity of cognitive competencies to comprehend complex issues.  As problematic as the IQ measure is, persons who score low are quite deficient in many critical competencies.  In one of my employments I administered IQ tests to adolescents. It shocked me to discover what persons with "average", 100 IQ COULD NOT DO.  Over half the population have serious handicaps in comprehending complex issues - which include most of the issues facing humankind today. Add your comment on this item19


            Persons with low IQ, or having other cognitive defects, can be good and productive (even creative) persons, who can live fulfilling lives.  However, if they could be propagandized and organized to support dominator systems, participatory democracy become fragile.  I am concerned that is the situation today, in 2008. Add your comment on this item20
Comments for item 20
01:05 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 20
Indeed this is the situation, and to make it worse the current 'government' education seems designed to further entrench this.
Between commercial interests and the governments' need to supply personell to its armed forces, the propagandising and education of all levels of society is works to ensure that not too many 'smart' people are available to pursue alternatives.
Larry VictorPerson was signed in when posted
02:01 AM ET (US)
Regarding item 20
/m5 It is probably a prime commandment for rulers, passed down for millennia, that an openly education population will not tolerate being ruled by elites. This becomes a difficult problem today, as the maintenance of our high tech societies requires highly trained workers, and it is difficult to train elite workers without also educating more of the population.

Deception is a technology with a long history, greatly accelerated with new technology. In the USA (and most of the developed nations) the population select media brands and stick with them. Today, MacCain supporters only watch Fox and Obama supporters only watch MSNBC. Neither hear or view messages from the other side, except sound bites that are torn from context and embedded in a new context. There is more complex segregation of information seekers.

The current elite are masters of control. They cannot be challenged on their playing fields. Their Achilles heal is that once exposed, all their magic won't work. Such awakenings are, however, usually only partial, and the awakened are trapped in a more subtle propaganda field. For example, the top, hidden, elite enable an opposition media to exist to appease the critics, let them think they can object but also keep tabs on them. Most of the "liberal" media in the USA are of this type.

Lesson: The revolution cannot be broadcast through the mass media.


            Beyond the IQ and traditional cognitive style differences, there are the significant models of adult stage development and transitions. See Robert Kegan's Subject/Object model and interview process in his "The Evolving Self" (1982) and the developers of "Spiral Dynamics" (Graves, Beck, Cowan). Adults at the lower stages of development are incapable of making appropriate decisions on certain types of issues. Rough measures of the distribution of stages in the population hints that only a small percent of the human population are, today, at the higher stages of development. New mass media control systems may work to freeze persons in their lower stages, keeping them manipulable by elites. Add your comment on this item21


            Many in the human population have been stunted during development by poverty, disease, pollution, abuse, war trauma, etc. Most of these people are probably locked into the lower stage developmental levels, and with other handicaps may find it very difficult acquiring the cognitive competencies to make decisions on complex issues. Add your comment on this item22


            There are many who at different periods suffer shocks to their systems are for a period are not competent. Add your comment on this item23


            Of course, there are many issues - mostly local - that many people can participate in, and hopefully could comprehend and accept that there are some domains where they are not competent.  In the next section I will address the fact that WE ALL have limitations that should exclude us from participatory decision making in some domains. Add your comment on this item24

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