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VII. Pedia Sapiens: A Genesis Future on Earth and in the Heavens

5. An Organic, Participatory Democracy

    This image of a peaceful, diverse, tolerant, sustainable global abode is from the Earth Right Institute website: www.earthrights.net. We quote their mission statement from its home page: Earth Rights Institute is dedicated to securing a culture of peace and justice by establishing dynamic worldwide networks of persons of goodwill and special skill, promoting policies and programs which further democratic rights to common heritage resources, and building ecological communities.

 
     

There is much literature on the post cold war ascent of human habitation to a relative planetary phase. Compressed by its spherical surface, intensified by open communications, social media, air travel, commerce, and so on, a shift from human to humankind is underway. The malleable concept of Democracy is then debated and defined with little basis or agreement. In regard, The Complementarity of Civilizations section notes how archetypal, bicameral cultures and nationalities are spread across the continents.

Now this website is founded on the premise that such a fledgling worldwide polity may be coming to its own learned, revolutionary knowledge of an organically developing universe and humanity. By this Copernican vista, individual and collective human society might be appreciated as a further major evolutionary transition and emergence of a repetitive evolutionary genesis. Sustainable Ecovillages above documents an evident stage of “cellular” communities. The Amherst cohousing group cited is eminently democratic because all members can equally participate. This present section seeks to expand this theme through an array of references.

An imperative benefit would be to apply such abiding natural principles to United States political elections. As viewers know, the country is split into right or left, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, red and blue states. These preferences much align with gender modes of individual autonomy or communal nurturance, militarism or negotiation, conflict or tolerance, past or future, and so on. The 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush divided exactly in half to a few votes out of a 100 million. Again in 2004 the vote again came out 51/49 as if due to a deeper polarity. In this same decade, elections in Germany, France, Mexico, Africa and Asia have similarly split, often with violent results.

The United States constitution, still a model for the world, was founded upon 18th century Newtonian mechanics. Could we altogether imagine 21st century natural governance guided by an organic, creative, self-organizing, symbiotic, entity and empathy reciprocity? Our two party system is locked in right vs. left either-or gridlock conflict. A simple resolve would be me + We = US – where US could mean a complementary democracy as truly united.




Radical Middle Newsletter. www.radicalmiddle.com. An omnibus site by Mark Satin and friends for every aspect of this gathering Third Way solution. From its home page, for example, can be accessed 250 “Radical Middle” websites and supportive statements of over 35 writers and politicians such as Walter Truett Anderson, PM Tony Blair, Marilyn Ferguson and Anthony Giddens.

Alexander, Gary. eGaia: Growing a Peaceful, Sustainable Earth Through Communications. Norfolk, UK: Lighthouse Books, 2002. As a response to environmental devastation, a worldwide network of cooperative communities enhanced by shared electronic resources is described. For a working metaphor, our home planet earth is seen as a living organism just now reaching individual and collective consciousness.

Archibugi, Daniele. The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. A noted scholar with appointments from Italy to Britain wonders how a novel transnational humanist governance might be sketched in a way so as to guide the historic struggle from conflict, injustice, and poverty to benevolent participatory empowerment. But immersed in a continental mindset, an informing, intrinsic sense of a natural guidance eludes - see, e.g., Ellen LaConte below.

Bornstein, David. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Around the world grass roots activists are combining the latest technologies such as cellphones with innovative monetary and community solutions to improve the quality of life and opportunity of many emerging regions.

Brooks, David. One Nation, Slightly Divisible. The Atlantic. December, 2001. An eye-witness survey of perceived differences between the “red” rural, middle America states and the “blue” big city seacoasts. Although roughly dividing into conservative and liberal, orthodox and “cafeteria” religion, and so on Brooks senses a national unity after all.

Bruns, Axel. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. Noted more in Mindkind, a Queensland University of Technology computer scientist advises shows how a local neighborhood and planetwide connectivity can empower and foster a true citizens democracy, much beyond infrequent elections.

Bystydzienski, Jill and Joti Sekhon, eds. Democratization and Women’s Grassroots Movements. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1999. Reports from many lands about the difficult struggle of women to achieve justice, empowerment and community in authoritarian and emerging societies.

Carney, Dana, et al. The Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives. Political Psychology. 29/6, 2008. Among “political science” journals, this one offers a rare admission and study of these polar proclivities, which strongly divide into dual cerebral and personality archetypes. Social psychologists Dana Carney, John Jost, Samuel Gosling, and Jeff Potter cite such deep rootings for blue and red state options, so opposed in the 2012 election. And in the same journal, online November 2012, “Themes of Self-Regulation and Self-Exploration in the Life Stories of Religious American Conservatives and Liberals” touts the same categories. A popular note would be “Political Instincts,” New Scientist, November 3, 2012, which identifies this destructive contrast, which seems affect two party “democratic” nations on every continent.

Although skeptics continue to doubt that most people are “ideological,” evidence suggests that meaningful left-right differences do exist and that they may be rooted in basic personality dispositions, that is, relatively stable individual differences in psychological needs, motives, and orientations toward the world. Seventy-five years of theory and research on personality and political orientation has produced a long list of dispositions, traits, and behaviors. Applying a theory of ideology as motivated social cognition and a “Big Five” framework, we find that two traits, Openness to New Experiences and Conscientiousness, parsimoniously capture many of the ways in which individual differences underlying political orientation have been conceptualized. We obtained consistent and converging evidence that personality differences between liberals and conservatives are robust, replicable, and behaviorally significant, especially with respect to social (vs. economic) dimensions of ideology. In general, liberals are more open-minded, creative, curious, and novelty seeking, whereas conservatives are more orderly, conventional, and better organized. (Abstract)

Clark, John. Worlds Apart: Civil Society and the Battle for Ethical Globalization. Bloomfield, CT: Kumerian Press, 2003. A veteran NGO campaigner, mostly with Oxfam, seeks to mitigate the invasive, corrupt downside of global commerce with a “deliberative democracy” which would respect and empower local participants.

Cornell, Drucilla and Nyoko Muvanqua, eds. uBuntu and the Law: African Ideals and Postapartheid Jurisprudence. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012. Drucilla Cornell is a Rutgers University professor of political science and of woman & gender studies. She is also visiting professor at the University of Cape Town in “customary law, indigenous ideals, and dignity jurisprudence.” Grace Nyoko Muvanqua is a doctoral student in law at the University of Cape Town. She previously received a BA in economics from Smith College in Massachusetts, and an LLB from UCT. As part of a 21st century effort to recover, reorient, and advantage African traditions that sustained its lands before colonialism, the work opens with “Introduction: The Re-Cognition of uBuntu.” Search Roger Brooke and Claire Oppenheim for more on this natural Bantu wisdom that sustained (it takes a) their villages, lately advised by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. The volume goes on to a section of exemplary Legal Cases, and to articles on availing uBuntu such as Towards the Liberation and Revitalization of Customary Law.

In ubuntu human beings are intertwined in a world of ethical relations and obligations from the time they are born. The social bond, then, is not imagined as one of separate individuals. This inscription by the other is fundamental in that we are born into a language, a kinship group, a tribe, a nation. But this inscription is not simply reduced to a social fact. We come into the world obliged to others, and by turn these others are obligated to us, to the individual. Thus, it is a profound misunderstanding of ubuntu to confuse it with simple-minded communitarianism. It is only through the engagement and support of others that we are able to realize a true individuality and rise above our biological distinctiveness into a fully developed person whose uniqueness is inseparable from the journey to moral and ethical development. (3)

In the community is committed to individuation and the achievement of a unique destiny for each person, the person in turn is obligated to enhance the community that supports him or her, not simply as an abstract duty that is correlated with a right, but as a form of participation that allows the community to strive for fidelity to what D. A. Masalo has called participatory difference. For Masalo this participatory difference recognizes that each one of ourselves is different, but also that each one is called on to make a difference by contributing to the creation and sustenance of a humane and ethical community. (4)

Dahl, Robert, et al. The Democracy Sourcebook. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. In this format, seven sections cover definitions, sources, culture and society, constitutions, presidents vs. parliaments, representation and interest groups. A final chapter delves into democracy and the global order.

Edsall, Thomas. What Happens if the Gender Gap Becomes a Gender Chasm? New York Times. July 12, 2018. A commentator on politics, demographics and inequality writes a clear delineation of American governmental culture as ultimately defined, and compromised in terms of male and female identities. According to Jane Goodall, Christopher Boehm, Dan McAdams, Steven Pinker, and others, Donald Trump is a primate Alpha male with bombastic, abusive displays, which appeal to men but are abhorrent to emphatic women. Problematic issues such as gun control and climate change can only be understood and resolved if we become aware of this fundamental polarity. More than Republican conservative or Democrat liberal, the reason that elections in the USA, and everywhere, split 50-50 trying to get one winner is their basis in these gender archetypes.

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