Ch 5: THE POWER OF DIALOG – part 1

2005-02-03

Richard Moore

Friends,

Here is the latest version of Chapter 5. It was formerly called 
"Harmonization in the microcosm", and later "Achieving harmonization 
and wisdom in groups".  This material has changed substantially, based 
on feedback from Rosa Zubizarreta, Tree Bresson, Tom Atlee, and others. 
Because of its length, I'm posting it in two parts.

rkm

--------------------------------------------------------
draft version 3.10

Chapter 5

THE POWER OF DIALOG


* Meeting dynamics: collaborative & adversarial

Consider for a moment the many kinds of meetings that occur in
our society. In business meetings are held regularly to make
plans and coordinate people's activities. If parents feel that
their children need a crossing guard on the way to school,
then they organize a neighborhood meeting. When a country
decides to go to war, that decision is made in some meeting
among high-level officials. In government one wonders if they
do anything but go to meetings, whether they be official
government sessions, or meetings with staff, colleagues,
lobbyists, backers, or constituents. If people want to start a
political movement, they begin by organizing meetings. The
American Revolution was born in New England pubs, where the
rebellion-minded held meetings and plotted against the King,
inspired by the local brew.

Although many of us have negative feelings about meetings, and
about their effectiveness, the fact is that meetings are the
place where people generally make joint plans and reach group
decisions. Some of these meetings are collaborative, and some
are adversarial. We are all familiar with both kinds.

A typical example of a collaborative meeting would be the
neighborhood gathering mentioned above, where the parents
would like to see a crossing guard assigned to a dangerous
local intersection. The people have a common goal, and they
work together cooperatively to achieve it. People offer
suggestions for actions that can be taken, the suggestions are
discussed, and people volunteer to help with the actions that
are agreed to. If the meeting is successful, everyone comes
away better off -- the concept of winners and losers is
irrelevant to a collaborative meeting.

A typical example of an adversarial meeting would be a city
council session where a controversial development project is
being discussed. The developers and business community are
showing slides of beautiful landscaped buildings and talking
of new jobs, while neighborhood protesters are complaining
about increased traffic and the loss of a children's
playground. The typical outcome of such a meeting is that one
side wins and the other loses. Either the development project
goes ahead, and the neighborhood suffers, or else the project
is rejected and the investors may suffer considerable losses.

It is very unusual for anything creative to happen at an
adversarial meeting. People, or factions, come in with agendas
to promote -- agendas that were created somewhere else. If the
meeting is unable to resolve an issue, it is typically
deferred -- and people are expected to go off somewhere else
and create revised proposals. The somewhere else -- where the
creative activity of planning occurs -- is generally a meeting
of the collaborative variety.

In our city council example, the developers and promoters have
been meeting collaboratively for months preparing their
project plans and their city-council presentation. Similarly,
the neighborhood protestors have held collaborative meetings
to assess their feelings and to decide how best to express
their concerns to the city council. The adversarial meeting -- -- 
the official decision making meeting -- is not a discussion
session, but is rather a battle of strength between the two
opposing sides: Which side can muster the most support among
the city council members? Which side can spout the most
convincing rhetoric, painting its own proposals in the colors
of the common good?

Parliamentary sessions in liberal "democracies" are based on
the adversarial meeting model. A chairman governs the
proceedings, proposals can be introduced, time is allowed for
debate, and a majority vote decides each question. The
"debate" is typically rhetorical, for public consumption, and
seldom affects the outcome of the vote. This is not a system
designed to solve problems or to encourage useful discussion
---  it is a system designed to efficiently measure the relative
power of opposing factions, and to promptly assign the rewards
to the strongest. Just as the floor of the stock market is
designed to efficiently manage the investment transactions of
the wealthy elite, so is the floor of the parliament designed
to efficiently referee power transactions among elite
factions.

A collaborative meeting operates according to collaborative
dynamics, and an adversarial meeting operates according to
adversarial dynamics. Collaborative dynamics are about people
gathering around an agreed objectives, identifying means to
achieve them, and planning how to pursue that agenda. Within
collaborative dynamics people have an incentive to listen to
one another's suggestions, and in the planning process the
group typically converges toward a consensus perspective on
the task at hand.

Adversarial dynamics are about people debating from their
fixed perspectives in an attempt to prevail over the other
side. There is little incentive to listen to the other side,
apart from looking for weaknesses that can be exploited. Each
side may attempt to shift the perspective of the other side,
but neither side has any intention of shifting its own
perspective. Whereas people learn useful things about their
shared problems within collaborative dynamics, the only thing
learned within adversarial dynamics is how to better combat
the other side. Collaborative dynamics tend to avoid internal
divisiveness when it arises, while adversarial dynamics tend
to reinforce and encourage divisiveness among factions.


*A gap in our cultural repertoire

These two meeting models are very common in our society, and
indeed they are more or less the extent of our general
cultural repertoire. We know how to get together with our
allies and make plans to promote our shared interests, and we
know how to fight for our side in an adversarial gathering,
according to whatever rules are in play. What we don't know
much about, and don't have many cultural models for, is how to
resolve differences within a group of people. We don't know
how to engage in productive dialog within a group of people
who express conflicting interests.

In an adversarial meeting the differences are accepted as a
given, as a fixed quantity, and the business of the meeting is
to enable the different factions to battle it out until a
winner can be chosen. There is no attempt to resolve the
differences: people go away with their perspectives unchanged,
and the same factions retire to prepare for their next
engagement.

When people come into a collaborative meeting, they come in
with the knowledge that they are bound by common interests to
the other participants. Indeed, the people come together in
order to collaborate in advancing those common interests. In
order to get on with it and make progress, participants tend
to avoid bringing up internal differences in such meetings. At
such a meeting a good leader will be skillful at defusing
differences, articulating compromises, and keeping the meeting
on track. Minority factions within the group are encouraged to
stifle their divisive concerns, and join the majority in a
consensus that will advance the identified common interests of
the group. And in the competition between different factions,
success tends to go to those that are best able to submerge
their internal differences, focus on their primary interests,
and adopt decisive action plans.

Under neither dynamics is there an attempt to engage in
constructive dialog regarding the differences in the group.
Under adversarial dynamics there is dialog over differences -- -- 
but it is the dialog of power, expressed in the language of
influence and votes. Under collaborative dynamics, discussion
of differences is avoided, so that the group can focus on
their identified common interests and get on with their
primary business. In the one case difference are expressed
competitively and are reinforced, and in the other case
differences are suppressed. In neither case are differences
resolved.

This gap in our cultural repertoire creates a problem for
popular initiatives, particularly in a society that is already
split by factionalism. Indeed, the gap can lead to
difficulties whenever people attempt to work together. Here's
an example I observed on a recent visit to the San Francisco
Bay Area. The population there is relatively progressive, and
there is widespread support for an increased focus on public
transport. But instead of people getting together and coming
up with a common proposal, people soon divided themselves into
two camps. One camp wanted to expand the conventional rail
network, while another wanted to expand the rapid-transit
system. Most of the available activist energy was then devoted
to a struggle between these two camps.

As I read over the positions of the two camps, as an outside
observer, it seemed obvious to me that the best of the ideas
could be usefully combined into a cost-effective hybrid
proposal. The real solution, it seemed, would be to make
strategic interconnecting links and upgrades, and coordinate
schedules -- across all available transport systems -- rather
than promoting one kind of transport to the exclusion of
another. Of course my own arm-chair proposal probably didn't
take everything into account, but the main point remains: the
two camps were struggling over their differences rather than
trying to resolve them -- and missed any opportunity to find
synergy in some creative middle ground. The collaborative
meeting model could not serve the two camps, because neither
side was willing to stifle its ideas -- so the activists
adopted the only other available cultural model: adversarial
engagement. As a consequence of this split in popular
activism, the transport planning decisions will most likely be
made by speculative developers and their politician cronies,
and whatever they decide they will be able to claim their
decision has "public support."

Most of us consider public meetings to be a waste of time,
particularly when they attempt to deal with issues that are
complex or controversial. This is because we have prior
experience with the dynamics that are likely to occur. First
there will be an attempt to reach a rapid consensus, most
likely proposed by those calling the meeting. Then someone in
the back stands up and disagrees, voicing some objection. That
sparks other suggestions and objections. The meeting threatens
to get out of control -- to revert to adversarial dynamics.
The organizers attempt to bring the dynamics back into
collaboration. If they succeed, then some of the participants
go away feeling their interests have been betrayed; if they
fail, then everyone goes away with the feeling that yet
another meeting has been a waste of time.

Because of these circumstances, anyone with a motivation to
pursue political activism soon learns to flock with birds of
the same feather. Environmentalists flock under a green
banner, animal rights activists follow their drummer, other
groups rally around their opposition to corporate power, or
their stance in favor of or against abortion rights, etc. In
order to get anything done, collaborative dynamics are
required, and gathering together in interest groups seems to
be the natural thing to do. Those gathering together already
agree on what's important, and they are thus able -- depending
on their organizational ability -- to get on with a program,
rather than wasting time debating the priority of different
issues. In this way the energy of popular initiatives gets
sucked into the game of adversarial factionalism -- a game
whose rules are set down by elites for their own advantage.
Just as in Las Vegas or Wall Street, this is a game where the
house always wins in the end.

Did you exchange a walk-on part in a war for a leading role in
                    a cage?
                    -- Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here

If we want to overcome factionalism in the macrocosm, at the
level of society, we must first learn how to overcome
differences in the microcosm -- where people meet face to
face. We need to extend our cultural repertoire to include
gatherings of a third kind, where people neither compete to
win or lose, nor submerge their differences in order to reach
a shallow consensus. We need a third dynamics, a dynamics of
harmonization, a dynamics that encourages us to express our
concerns fully, and which enables us to work together
creatively with that information -- to find ways forward that
benefit everyone involved. If our cultural repertoire can be
extended in this way, in the microcosm, then we may find that
there are new ways of working together on a larger scale as
well -- ways that avoid the quicksand of adversarial politics.


* The space of harmonization

Back in the 1980s I was working in a well-known Silicon Valley
computer company. I was looking into the potential of some new
technologies, and in that role I worked with people in the
research groups as well as those in the engineering groups. I
didn't consider myself any kind of expert on meetings, but I
certainly spent a lot of time in them. One afternoon I
received a phone call from one of the researchers, with some
urgency in his voice, saying that I was needed in a particular
meeting. I was a bit surprised at the invitation because the
people involved were not working in the area I was
investigating. I didn't know what they expected from me, but I
was willing to attend and find out what was going on.

When everyone had gathered, I simply asked, "What's the
problem, gentlemen?" It turns out that a fracas had developed
between the researchers and the engineers. The engineers had
made a decision regarding a new product, and the researchers
felt their own relevant results had been ignored. The decision
itself was not challenged, but the manner in which it had been
made -- without consultation between the groups. If the
decision had been in an area I knew something about, I
probably would have jumped in at a technical level, getting
into the pros and cons of the decision. But as I was not
knowledgeable of the technical issues -- fortunately as it
turns out -- I had to take a different role in the meeting.

I asked each of the groups to explain what the problem was,
from their point of view. After a few follow-up questions I
began to get the picture. As an outside observer, I could see
that the problem boiled down to one of trust between the
groups. The engineers felt that the research group did not
trust them to make their own decisions, and the researchers
felt the engineering group didn't trust the relevance of the
research efforts. As I knew and respected both groups of
people, I had a feeling that the trust issue was really a
matter of misunderstanding. Without any training in conflict
resolution or group process, I decided to follow my intuition.

I first asked the engineers to explain what they expected from
the research group. Then I asked the researchers to explain
what they thought the relationship between research and
engineering should be. I didn't express an opinion myself on
either of these questions, but simply listened to what was
said. As I had suspected, there really wasn't any conflict
between the views of the two groups -- and because the two
groups had now been able to hear one another, the problem
evaporated and trust was restored. It had all been so simple,
and happened so naturally, that I felt my presence at the
meeting had been unnecessary. I was quite surprised the next
day to receive a copy of a memo addressed to my boss, praising
my role at the meeting! I was puzzledŠI felt that I hadn't
done anything -- except to listen.

It wasn't until about 20 years later that I finally understood
what had happened at that meeting. The way I came to
understand was by being in another meeting, only this time I
was the one who was involved in a fracas. It was a meeting I
had called, and my goal was to get through a certain agenda
with those I had invited. They were political activists from
the Berkeley area, and my agenda involved reaching consensus
on a new direction for effective activism. For the first
couple hours, the meeting (of the collaborative variety)
seemed to be going "on track." We had flip charts with points
of agreement and I was quite happy with our progress.

Then a fellow raised his hand with a complaint. He didn't like
the way we were spending our time and felt I was
over-controlling the meeting. I thought he was being
disruptive and I told him I wanted to continue "making
progress." He didn't want to accept this and, in a momentary
lapse of reason, I suggested that he go off and organize his
own meeting. As soon as I said this I knew it was a mistake; I
could feel the "bad vibes" I had created in the room. There
was a seemingly endless moment of embarrassing silence; I
wished I were somewhere else.

A woman then spoke up and asked if I'd mind if she tried a bit
of facilitation. Relieved to see the focus of attention shift
away from myself, I readily agreed to her offer -- not knowing
what "facilitation" was or how it could help. What she did was
very simple. She asked the other fellow what he was expecting
from the meeting and then she asked me the same thing. She was
playing the same role I had played in that other meeting 20
years before! She was asking the obvious questions that needed
to be asked, and then simply listening to what we had to say.
The result was also similar -- once the other fellow and I
really heard what each other had to say, the conflict
disappeared. He understood my concern about making progress; I
understood that from his point of view we were not making
progress at all -- and we both respected each other's concerns
as being valid and relevant.

After this, everyone began sharing their reasons for coming to
the gathering, and I could feel an increased energy level in
the room. Everyone had become more present, as if a
black-and-white movie had suddenly burst into color. I could
see in retrospect that our earlier discussion had been shallow
and one-dimensional. Unfortunately we had run out of time, for
I believe with our greater "presence" we could have had a very
creative and fruitful conversation about activism and
strategies. The space had been opened up to share our diverse
experiences, and learn from one another. The earlier emphasis
on agenda had severely narrowed our channel of communication.

In each of these two meetings, a breakthrough occurred when a
certain kind of hearing happened. What we hear depends on what
we are listening for. If we are in an argument (i.e., an
adversarial meeting) then we on guard for attacks and
defenses, and that is what we will hear when someone makes a
statement. If we are pursuing an agenda together (i.e., a
collaborative meeting) then we are hoping for agreement and
progress, and we will evaluate whatever we hear in those
terms.

In both of our meetings, the intervention of the facilitators
caused the people to shift what they were listening for. When
I asked the engineers what they expected from the research
group, that shifted attention away from the current decision
under debate. Instead of listening for an attack or defense,
the researchers were encouraged to listen in terms of, "Who
are these people and how do they see things?" Attention
shifted from ideas and issues to people. The same thing
happened in the Berkeley gathering. By asking the fellow,
"What are you expecting from this meeting?," the facilitator
enabled me to hear who the fellow was, and what his concern
was, rather than hearing only a disruption to my agenda.

Ideas as such can be good or bad, valid or invalid, but a
person is always valid, and so are their concerns, as
concerns. When we are listening in terms of issues, and we
dismiss a comment, we are also dismissing that person's
concern as being invalid, and to some extent we are dismissing
and disrespecting the person. When we listen in terms of
people -- one human to another -- then we can accept all
contributions as being valid concerns, even if we happen to
think that the person may be confused about some issues. And
after all, who isn't confused about some issues? None of us is
all knowing. And when we accept someone's concern, we are also
accepting and respecting that person.

The breakthroughs that happened at the Berkeley meeting were
particularly significant for me, because I have always been
rather competitive and intellectual in my approach to things.
Even in social situations, I would typically seek out people
with interesting ideas, rather than interesting people, as
such. And I, like many others, would typically be thinking
about what I'm going to say next, rather than listening to
what the current speaker is saying. And in business meetings,
everything would always be evaluated relative-to-agenda. It
was a new experience for me to actually be present and
listening, aware of being in communication with fellow humans,
rather than casting myself in some role or another, and
imposing some one-dimensional evaluation filter on people's
contributions.

For me this was a new kind of communication space, a
three-dimensional space occupied by people rather than a
one-dimensional space occupied by concepts and ideas. I refer
to this as the "space of harmonization" because in such a
space it becomes possible to harmonize the concerns and needs
of the people who are participating. Once we accept everyone
as being an equally valid, caring human being, then each
person's concerns become everyone's concerns. To ignore
someone's concerns would be cast that person out in the cold,
and you don't do that to a fellow human being. When this space
of harmonization is entered, then the attention of the group
naturally turns to the question, "How can we find solutions
and answers that take all of our concerns into account?"

This shift in attention releases creative, cooperative energy
that was previously being spent in debate, or was being
constrained by some agenda. I felt this upsurge of energy in
the Berkeley meeting, but in that case we didn't have time
left to see where that energy might have been able to take us.
It turns out that the creative and cooperative energy of a
group, when released in such way, can be a very powerful
thing, enabling the group in many cases to find breakthrough
solutions to seemingly impossible problems -- solutions which
at the same time take everyone's concerns into account.

Not every meeting needs to take place in a space of
harmonization. In a typical business meeting, for example, it
may be quite appropriate to stick to an agenda and avoid
time-consuming diversions. However in the context of our
broader investigation, the space of harmonization seems to be
exactly what we're looking for. Recall the statement I offered
earlier, expressing what I see as our harmonization
imperative:

        If We the People are to respond effectively to our
        transformational imperative -- to save the world and humanity
        from this crisis -- we need first to actualize our common
        identity as We the People. We need to learn to see one another
        as human beings rather than as us and them. We need to learn
        how to harmonize our deep common interests instead of
        accentuating our superficial differences. In order to respond
        to our transformational imperative, we must first respond to
        this harmonization imperative.

In the two examples of meetings above, we stumbled into a
situation where communication had broken down, and fortunately
there was someone on hand in each case to offer a bit of
useful intervention, as a facilitator. In neither case was
there time available to do very much with the creative energy
that was released. We entered the space of harmonization but
didn't do much with it once we had entered.

Let us now turn our attention to a gathering in which the
space of harmonization was longer lasting -- where the
released energy of the group could be applied to shared
problems, leading to surprising outcomes and breakthroughs in
mutual understanding.

In June, 2004, twenty four diverse "opinion leaders" were
invited to a conference in Michigan which had the following
stated purpose:

        The purpose of this gathering is to [initiate] a new kind of
        public conversation that moves us beyond polarization so we
        [can] effectively address the issues we care most about . . .
        .*

The participants were from all across the political spectrum,
including a former FBI agent, the National Field Director of
the Christian Coalition, a founding member of the National
Congress of Black Women, a board member of the National Rifle
Association, the president of a left-leaning legal-issues
organization, former Weather Underground supporters, and
former speakers at white racist gatherings.

Clearly, the people who set up this conference share my views
regarding the political importance of harmonization, and the
necessity of overcoming factionalism. And they set themselves
quite a challenge by bringing in such radically diverse
participants. They jumped directly into the lion's den: if
they could achieve a space of harmonization here, they would
demonstrate that harmonization is possible with almost any
group of people. From such a radically diverse conference one
might expect fistfights and shouting matches to emerge, rather
than any kind of agreement or consensus. Tom Atlee, who was a
participant, expressed his misgivings prior to the gathering
this way:

        Using Google, I researched the people who were coming to the
        conversation. I read articles by the conservatives and
        listened to their radio talk shows -- and I got triggered by
        what they said. I reacted with anger, frustration and
        rejection of who they were. I thought silent counter arguments
        and felt the rise of adrenaline. Friends warned me to be
        careful -- or couldn't even imagine going to talk with such
        people.*

Mark Satin, another participant, wrote an article* reporting
on the conference; he describes the first evening's activities
this way:

        On Friday night, we broke into three groups (of eight
        participants and one facilitator each) to discuss such
        questions as, "What did you understand about being an American
        when you were 12 years old? How have you experienced political
        differences and how did that affect you personally?"
        
        It was impossible to participate in that exercise without
        coming to see (and feel and know) that every participant,
        whatever their politics, was a complex and caring human being.

We can see here that from the very beginning the facilitators
focused attention on people and their experiences, and we can
see that a space of harmonization was reached early on.
Regarding an afternoon's conversation later in the conference,
Mark reports:

        Someone tried to classify participants' approaches as "left"
        or "right." Someone on the right took umbrage with that,
        feeling that the qualities cited as "right" were insulting
        stereotypes; and that pressed many people's buttons; and round
        and round and round we went, and the afternoon shadows grew
        longer.
        
        But the end result of that conversation is we all realized -- -- 
        I mean, we all really "got" -- how misleading and even
        infantilizing the old political spectrum had become.

Here we can see the space of harmonization expanding, as
people dig deeper and pull out more of their concerns. Not
only are they accepting and respecting one another's
contributions, but also they are beginning to understand the
futility of labels and factions in general. This expansion
continues in a later session:

        In another exercise, the participants were asked to tell about
        each of the key decisions they'd made in their political
        lives:
        
        Everyone stared, some of us open-mouthed, as various
        "left"-wingers and "right"-wingers, former Weather Underground
        supporters and former speakers at white racist gatherings,
        shared the incidents that shaped their lives.
        
        And revealed without even trying that every caring person is a
        brother or sister under the skin.
        
        And that our values are at some deep level fundamentally the
        same.
        
        ...for the first time in many years, I feel enthusiastic
        enough about an incipient political movement to want to put my
        shoulder to the wheel.
   
At the end of the conference the group came up with a
remarkable declaration:

        Before leaving, we all signed our names to a document titled
        "We the People." Many of us signed with flourishes, as if we
        were signing something akin to the Declaration of
        Independence. Here are the key passages:
        
        "We respect our differences and recognize America needs every
        one of our viewpoints, ideas, and passions -- even those we
        don't agree with -- to keep our democracy vital and alive;
        
        "We recognize that meeting here and across our land for
        dialogues across differences builds trust, understanding,
        respect, and empowerment -- the conditions necessary for
        freedom and democracy to live in us and around us;
        
        "And, therefore, each still grounded in our own considered
        views (conscience and convictions), we commit ourselves and
        our communities of interest to foster dialogue across the many
        divides in America, in large and small groups, to build trust,
        insight, and inspired action toward the more perfect union we
        all desire."

In this Michigan conference we can see examples of the kind of
breakthroughs that can occur when a space of harmonization is
maintained for an extended period. This diverse group of
people, with radically different viewpoints, actually achieved
a sense of solidarity and community, which they expressed in
this "We the People" declaration. And this was not simply an
intellectual experience for the participants; there is an
obvious passion and commitment in the language of their
declaration. They could see from their own microcosm
experience that harmonization could help eliminate
factionalism in the microcosm of the larger society. And they
understood that the process is about trust and dialog, not
about any particular platform or program.

Consensus does not mean agreement. It means we create a forum
                    where all voices can be heard and we can think creatively
rather than dualistically about how to reconcile our different
                    needs and visions.
                    -- Starhawk, Lessons from Seattle and Washington D.C., from
                    Democratizing the Global Economy, Kevin Danaher, ed., Common
                    Courage Press, Monroe, Maine, 2001.

Let us move on and consider another example of a facilitated
conference that has produced promising results in terms of
harmonization. Here's how the event is described on the
website of Tom Atlee's Co-Intelligence Institute:

        In 1991 the leading Canadian newsweekly, Maclean's, sponsored
        a dialogue about the future of Canada among twelve ordinary
        Canadians carefully selected for their differences. They were
        nurses, lawyers, teachers, musicians, company workers. They
        were White, Black, Native, male, female, from across Canada.
        Right from the start, they were passionately divided about
        minority rights and Quebec independence. They'd never seen the
        world through each other's eyes. They were arrogant, hurt,
        compassionate, intense Maclean's brought them all together for
        three days of conversation facilitated by a team from the
        Harvard Negotiation Project, led by Getting to Yes co-author
        Roger Fisher. Fisher framed it as "a discussion about mutual
        concerns and interests about the future of Canada."
        
        After two days of ideological battles and emotional upheavals,
        a breakthrough happened. A peacemaking woman from Ontario
        listened with real compassion to a very upset woman from
        Quebec, and they bonded. The next morning the Quebec woman, in
        turn, deeply heard the Native woman. A spirit of partnership
        blossomed and by the end of the last day, the group had agreed
        on a vision for Canada that advocated more mutual awareness,
        connectedness, and collaborative activity. Their agreement
        fills five of the (amazing) thirty-nine pages of coverage
        provided by Maclean's in their July 1, 1991 issue, entitled
        The People's Verdict. The event was also covered by a hour--
        long Canadian TV documentary.
        - http://cointelligence.org/CIPol_EmpoweredDialogue.html

As in the Michigan conference, harmonization enabled this
group to break through their strong differences and find
heartfelt common ground. In this case however the group was
able to move forward from there and address difficult and
substantial problems. Their consensus statement included
recommendations on education, tourism, economics and trade,
and many other issues. Furthermore, their written
recommendations reveal a perspective that embraces the
principles of harmonization as a means of resolving social
issues. Here are two brief excerpts:

        Rather than trying to make binding decisions now on the
        precise shape of Canada's future, we work together to clarify
        the vision of a Canada in which all Canadians would feel fully
        accepted, at home and fairly treated, and with an appropriate
        balance between national concerns and local autonomy
        
        A vision of Canadians working together is not simply a matter
        of constitutional language. We suggest that Canadians devote
        substantial effort to the human dimension -- to
        understanding one another empathetically, to caring and
        sharing their concerns and ideas. And that they also work
        together to make the Canadian economy as prosperous and
        promising for the future as they can. On a base of human
        understanding and economic co-operation, constitutional
        questions will be far easier to resolve. We suggest that all
        three activities be pursued concurrently.
        -- http://www.co-intelligence.org/S-Canadaadvrsariesdream.html
.
[ continued in Part 2 ]

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