This is one of the most brilliant and compellingly comprehensive books I have read in recent time, and certainly one of less than 100, probably less than 25, and perhaps even one of the ten most important books available in English.
Everyone, including corporations, is starting to realize that Green is Good (see my list on Natural Capitalism), and that the Earth is at a tipping point. The ten high-level threats are Poverty, Infectious Disease, Environmental Degradation, Inter-State Conflict, Civil War, Genocide, Other Atrocities (e.g. kidnapping for body parts or child soldiers), Proliferation, Terrorism, and Transnational Crime.
What this author has done is pioneered the concept of Wisdom Councils at every level of society, a leap ahead of citizen involvement initiatives like Citizen's Councils formed in Denmark to study issues of national importance for legislative action. This book suggests a strategy for bringing “all” together as “We the People” where We assume our rightful role as intelligent top authority.
The author is acutely aware that we are fragmented, ignorant, inattentive, and ineffective as a collective at any level. He suggests that we got that way because we adopted a mechanistic system to govern us, where self-interest is the prevailing value, rather than dignity, sharing, open-mindedness, and so on.
He articulates a vision of a We-ocracy, a circle instead of a box, with a spirit similar to our Native American councils, where people seek what's best for all. And, he suggests a surprisingly simple social invention, not fully tested, that can make the vision real.
It was my great good fortune to meet the author personally at the Nexus for Change conference organized by Peggy Holman and others, and I found him to be one of the most sensible, down-to-earth, and focused individuals I have ever met. He told me there that collective problems require collective solutions, and I agree with him completely. It's about all of us, as well as each of us. Along with this book I recommend Tom Atlee's “Tao of Democracy” and the other books linked to below.
The author's conception of the Wisdom Council, which is now enjoying significant success and public appreciation in the Eco-topia of the Pacific Northwest, is one of a continuous Constitutional Convention with all of us as permanent delegates. It is a way “We the People” can come into existence and collectively choose topics, explore them and evolve consensus … possibly some sensible sustainable decision or policy that goes out 200 years (what the Native Americans called 7th Generation thinking).
It's a simple approach that bridges all eight of what I call the tribes of intelligence–government, military, law enforcement, business, academia, non-governmental organizations, media networks, and most importantly, all citizens in all civil societies including social advocacy groups, labor unions, and religions.
The book describes an innocuous-seeming Constitutional Amendment to the United States Constitution. But the author inscribes the book to me, ending with “we don't need an amendment, we are out doing it.” Now, there are experiments in cities and organizations in different countries, begun by ordinary citizens, proving that this strategy can work. (see www.WiseDemocracy.org) This is good news for those of us who care about society as a whole.
I recommend this book, and the three books below, to every citizen and especially to the 48% that do not vote. We get morons and thieves in power because we all do not vote and hence these charlatans are elected by a minority of dogmatic fanatics aided by less than honorable tactics such as Karl Rove has pioneered (see “Bush's Brain”).
But beyond the bits of power our system currently provides to “the people,” all-of-us-together can assert power over the system. This book, the books below, and the many books I connect in my varied lists, show us how. They are ammunition in our combat with the Republican and Democratic Party mafiosos. Unity08 is in my view a scam–a last ditch defense of the totally corrupt two-party “winner take all” and share the spoils system. Only the Center for Wise Democracy, Reuniting America, the Transpartisan Policy Institute, and a couple of other massive social networks now in formation, can transform political hypocrisy, corruption, and illegitimacy. Our government today, all three branches, is illegitimate. We can fix that.
We are long overdue for a popular uprising. This author, like Gandhi (see the DVD), provides for an informed non-violent revolution that is both inevitable, and unbeatable. We the People … what a great concept. Time to honor it again, with the Wisdom Councils and the strategy of full engagement that the author outlines for us.
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
Seeing the Invisible: National Security Intelligence in an Uncertain Age
Gandhi (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition)
Don't Bother Me Mom–I'm Learning!
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