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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).View comments on this item Add your comment on this item13


            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.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item16


            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.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item20


            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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