Readers’ comments…

2002-07-13

Richard Moore

Bcc: contributors

Friends,

Please accept my apologies for delaying the
posting of your recent comments. The first item
below offers a bit of dialog about how the word
'democracy' is used, and misused.  Following that
are responses to the Zen quest story, posted
without comment.

all the best,
rkm
http://cyberjournal.org


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From: "Robert Vogel" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: rkm ruminations...
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 16:43:02 -0400

Nowhere is democracy perfect, but the challenge in
globalization (as in nations, corporations, and
markets) is to democratize. Robert A. Dahl,
Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Yale,
has written a book "On Democracy" which has a
fairly pessimistic view. "...Crucial decisions
mainly come about through bargaining among
political and bureaucratic elites. Limits are set
not by democratic processes but mainly by what
negotiators can get others to agree to and by
considering the likely consequences for national
and international markets. Bargaining, hierarchy,
and markets determine the outcomes. Except to
ratify the results, democratic processes hardly
play a role."

It is unlikely that conditions for democracy can
take place for international institutions.
"Although democratic processes may occasionally
set the outside limits within which the elites
strike their bargains, to call the political
practices of international systems "democratic"
would be to rob the term of all meaning."

There is the challenge

R.L.Vogel
East Lyme, Ct. USA

======================

Dear Robert,

Thanks for telling us about Dahl's book.  We
certainly need a lot more out-of-the-box thinking
about 'democracy', and Dahl seems to have some
light to shed.

Permit me to suggest a way of looking at the word
'democracy', and its usage...

Suppose someone shows you a motor vehicle, with
four wheels, a cab up front, and a flatbed in the
back.  He says to you, "How do you like my new
car?".  You say, "That's not a car!"  He replies,
"What do you mean?  It's got four wheels, a
steering wheel, it goes forward and reverse, I can
ride around in it... Isn't that a description of a
car?"

Normally when we characterize an object, we
identify which category it best fits in.  Our
vehicle above fits in the category 'truck'.  To
call it a 'car' is either a joke, a sign of
stupidity, or the ramblings of a demented
semanticist.

Now let's look at our 'advanced' societies and
identify what category of governance they belong
in.  I suppose the choices might include:
'democracy', 'aristocracy', 'dictatorship',
'oligarchy', and 'plutocracy'.  As I see  it,
based on evidence such as Dahl offers, our
societies are clearly 'plutocracies', which means,
"government by the wealthy".

To call them 'democracies', because they 'have
elections and competing parties', is like calling
a car a truck, because it has 'four wheels and
carries me around'.

best regards,
rkm
 
============================================================================
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002 09:18:00 -0400
Subject: Re: The Zen of Global Transformation
From: thomas brinson <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>

Right and Left On!

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Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 01:56:33 -0700
To: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
From: Rosa Zubizarreta <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: The Zen of Global Transformation

Wow, Richard. Very cool!

if you are addressing your message to business
consultants, you may want to mention that what you
are proposing is very similar to Edgar Schein's
idea of how to create culture change... he talks
about "culture as the residue of learning", and
explains that when a group is able to successfully
solve a problem, the assumptions embedded in the
strategy that enabled it to do so, become part of
what begins to be "taken for granted", or the
unconscious culture of the group (the "changed
minds" in your model...)

so, for instance, if we are a community that is
threatened by some circumstance, (say, for
example, we are in a drought) and someone proposes
a very autocratic, centralized solution (i'm the
dictator, listen to me, i'll get you through this)
AND IT WORKS (OR APPEARS TO WORK), then what that
community "learns" in the process is, "whenever we
have a difficulty, we need to have a dictator."

IF INSTEAD, someone were to propose an elegant
de-centralized solution, AND IT   WORKED, then the
community would learn that "whenever we have a
difficulty, we need to figure out a way that
everyone can play a part in the solution."

So Schein sees the role of leaders as 1) proposing
solutions that have the appropriate assumptions
embedded in them, 2) encouraging folks to adopt
the solution. If the leader succeeds at 1) and 2),
and if the solution proves adequate to meeting the
group's need and thus provides folks with the
experience of success, THAT is how one creates
culture.

so, it's just another way of saying the same
thing, but from the perspective of of process
consulting and social psychology instead of Zen!

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To: •••@••.•••
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 04:42:10 -0400
Subject: Re: The Zen of Global Transformation
From: T K Wilson <•••@••.•••>

Well Richard, I think you've put it pretty much
into a nutshell.

This fits right in there with van Steenis
"Alternating Minorities" and is a way to implement
that idea and more. Problem solving and community
building/empowerment at the street level.
Temporary situational working groups. Juries. What
a concept.

What will have to happen, of course, is that, one
community at a time, those in local "politics"
will need to be convinced to loosen their
(sometimes) well intended grasp (stranglehold) on
the communities airways and allow this process to
happen. I don't even think it's going to require
replacing anyone (other than through the normal
attrition of the electoral process), but simply
convincing a few amendable individuals here and
there to give it a try.

What should happen then, assuming this works as
planned, is that it will simply transform politics
and politicians as we know it/them into a
mediative function instead of a controlling one.
We could end up with truly "fair" and
representative "governance". Truly it could even
be lighter and more subtle than that which the
word governance evokes.

I checked your web site to try to get a URL I
could refer people back to on this from the
various groups, without having to republish the
entire treatise each time and didn't see this
there. Any idea when you might make it more
immediately accessible to the world at large?

Pretty inspirational, my friend.    TK

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Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2002 10:11:56 -0700
From: Janet McFarland <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: The Zen of Global Transformation
To: •••@••.•••

Thanks!  Lots of food for thought.  I think
Co-counseling Community actually is the most
integrated design I'm aware of, has  been
functioning for 30 years internationally.  Are you
familiar with it?  (or re-evaluation counseling). 
It's got some cult-like aspects which I think have
kept it from gaining wider popularity.   But the
model is excellent and it is international.  For
some reason I  can't  bring up the website 
www.rc.org. I guess I don't know how it could be
used but the model is good.

Janet

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To: •••@••.•••
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2002 06:25:59 -0400
Subject: Re: The Zen of Global Transformation - publication version
X-Juno-Line-Breaks: 0,3,5-7,9-10,12-16,21
From: T K Wilson <•••@••.•••>

Hey Nas,

Finally got around to reading the entire revised
edition of "The Zen..", after I sent it to half a
dozen different people with my personal
recommendation as to its efficacy. No problems.

Haven't got any responses back yet but I have been
recommending that they make inquiry back to you or
simply subscribe to cyberjournal. I see its not on
your site yet but its obvious you've been quite
busy.

I think you've outdone yourself (yes) this time.

I hope you plan on posting replies to your
subscribers as I'm really curious to see what the
response will be.

Most of those I sent it to are currently involved
in organizational efforts of one kind or another.

BTW, what's a signed copy going to set me back? I
would like one. Gotta go; just thought of someone
else that needs this. Best,  TK

============================================================================
From: "Linnea Meyer" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: nasrudin, and the story of the zen quest story
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2002 21:12:43 -0700

Ha!  Richard!  Congratulations!  and Nasrudin!

I went into orbit when I first read your 'zen'
posting to the list - ;-> Fantastic!

I would have responded sooner, but have bought a
house and have been doing all those things that go
with it for the past few weeks.  I am right near
seatac airport, Seattle.  I can envision an event
(conference and book signing) down the road a bit
- for Nasrudin here in Seattle - home of Jeff
Bezos and Amazon.com!   ---<snip>---

My best regards to you and to nasrudin -
Linnea/tai'a

ps: Richard, read Dr Michio Kaku - if you have not
yet - and his discussion of the 'necessary step' -
of humanity - toward achieving a 'Type One'
civilization status.   Kaku is a professor of
physics at City University of New York - or some
univ there.  He is alive, engaged, positive and
has a wry sense of humor.  You will enjoy him - if
you have not already.  Check out his books on
Amazon.


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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 2002 12:36:34 EDT
Subject: Re: nasrudin, and the story of the zen quest story
To: •••@••.•••

I assume that all this leads to how to make this a
better world, and, in taking away the possible
programs for doing so, it leaves us with the
generalities. That's not bad, per se, so I am
going to respond in generalities, as well. One of
the components is honesty----of self motivations,
thought, and that of others. 

Openness----which one might say is also really
honesty, but I will allow it to stand by itself,
because secrecy takes away too temptingly from
honesty. Thirdly, (not necessarily in the order
given), is love.  First of all, love of oneself,
without which love of others is a travesty.  But
then, love and respect for all others, regardless
of their thoughts and actions which might be
contrary to our own.

Fourth, let's take it a step further, and say love
and respect for all things on this planet, without
which love for oneself and others   could not
flourish. That should be a good start--------and
then, we can tackle the problems which the world
is facing today, which is a more complex subject,
but without which the above, we would have no
place to start.

Hope I have added a drop of clarity.
Evelyn Goodman

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