- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (October 15, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591095204
- ISBN-13: 978-1591095200
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,702,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tao of Democracy: Using co-intelligence to create a world that works for all Paperback – November 25, 2002
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About the Author
Tom Atlee has written and spoken extensively on collective intelligence, holism and citizen-based deliberative democracy. His non-profit Co-Intelligence Institute's websites -- co-intelligence.org and democracyinnovations.org -- get over five hundred visitors a day. He consults internationally, publishes popular email bulletins to hundreds of subscribers and has published dozens of articles on social issues and co-intelligent approaches to community health and social change.
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Top Customer Reviews
Central to the concept of co-intelligence is the role of open, respectful dialogue that explores rather than confronts different ideas and thinking. In this sort of dialogue no idea is rejected as wrong or lunatic as long as it is relevant to the topic at hand. It is Atlee's firm belief that in this sort of non-confrontational exploration of ideas that must produce in the wisest decision making process and the best solutions to any problem. A group of individuals exercising this approach to problem solving creates a synergy of shared intelligence that must be greater than that of any individual within the group. In support of this concept, Atlee offers some impressive examples of co-intelligence in action. The best example being the so-called Canadian Experiment in which a group of average Canadian citizens, randomly selected to represent the cultural and social diversity of Canada, spent a weekend in intense dialogue over such complex and emotion charged issues as Quebec separatism. Objective and neutral moderators (or facilitators) served to keep the dialogues on track and open to ideas. In the end the group came up with apparently brilliant proposals that could have indeed solved what many Canadians believe intractable problems.
So based on this very persuasive book it appears that the concept of co-intelligence as a function of group synergy is the way to create an informed and intelligent electorate. Yet attractive as this concept is, there are problems to its implementation. The most formidable of these is the indifference of the average U.S. voter to anything but personal interests along with an almost pathological unwillingness to think rationally or at all about issues that don't directly affect those interests. Then there is the fact that a host of special interests, entrenched politicians, and crooks would always be ready to subvert such citizen dialogue programs for there own ends should they coalesce into a politically strong force. Perhaps these problems could be overcome by co-intelligence as well. One hopes that this would be the case.
New comment: Tom Atlee opened a door for me, and because of him I have joined the co-intelligence movement and will be publishing an edited work, COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, both free in PDF form at OSS.Net/CIB, and on Amazon from mid-February.
I see so many things starting to come together around the world and through books. The Internet has opened the door for a cross-fertilization of knowledge and emotion and concern across all boundaries such as the world has never seen before, and it has made possible a new form of structured collective intelligence such as H.G. Wells (World Brain (Adamantine Classics for the 21st Century)), Howard Bloom (Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century), Pierre Levy (Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace), Willis Harman (Global Mind Change: The New Age Revolution in the Way We Think), and I (The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, & Political--Citizen's Action Handbook for Fighting Terrorism, Genocide, Disease, Toxic Bombs, & Corruption), could never have imagined.
This book is better than all of ours, for the simple reason that it speaks directly to the possibilities of deliberative democracy through citizen study circles and wisdom councils.
The book is also helpful as a pointer to a number of web sites, all of them very immature at this point, but also emergent in a most constructive way--web sites focused on public issues, public agendas, new forms of democratic organization, and so on.
Still lacking--and I plan to encourage special organizations such as the Center for American Progress to implement something like this--is a central hub where a citizen can go, type in their zip code, and immediately be in touch with the following (as illustrated on page 133 of New Craft):
1) a weekly report on the state of any issue (disease, water, security, whatever);
2) distance learning on that issue;
3) an expert forum on that issue;
4) a virtual library on that issue including links to the deep web substance on that issue, not just to home pages of sponsoring organizations;
5) a global calendar of all events scheduled on that issue, including legislation and conferences or hearings;
6) a rolodex or who's who at every level for that issue;
7) a virtual budget showing what is being spent on that issue at every level; and
8) an active map showing the status of that issue in time and space terms, with links to people, documents, etcetera.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. If the authors cited above have been coming at the same challenge from a "top down" perspective, then Tom Atlee, the author of this book, gets credit for defining a "bottom up" approach that is sensible and implementable. This book focuses on what comes next, after everyone gets tired of just "meeting up" or "just blogging." This book is about collective intelligence for the common good, and it is a very fine book.
Five other books (all I am allowed to link):
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World
The book makes for interesting reading and if I should lose my copy I would probably buy it again.
I happen to like the idea of continuous communication of all members of a community or society for the analysis of fundamental political issues.
I just reviewed Empowering Public Wisdom, and much of what I said there applies here as well. Tom Atlee always draws from an astounding range of thought leaders who are painting the complex path to a peaceful, socially just, and ecologically sustainable world.