Full Spectrum Information
Beyond minimizing bias and suppression, wisdom demands consideration of all major perspectives as well as significant views from the edges. Work to base all efforts on as full a range of information and ways of knowing as possible, thereby increasing the likelihood of taking into account what needs to be taken into account.
Related: 5 Capacitance, 19 Distributed Intelligence, 20 Diversity, 23 Expertise on Tap (not on top), 26 Full Cost Accounting, 43 Possibility Thinking, 60 Systems Thinking
Going deeper …
This is an edited version of the video on this page.
Very often in public deliberations, there’s an interest in balance. And balance is usually about “both sides”. Well the first thing to assume from a wise democracy perspective is that there are more than two sides.
But the concern about balance is that we don’t want to have bias, and we don’t want to have voices suppressed. We want to make sure there’s justice in this system, which means if we are going to choose between A or B, there’s nothing that is going to bias us towards A rather than B right at the start. Whatever decision we come to should be based on understanding what’s involved and on reason – and both A and B have something to say about that.
Now although minimizing bias and suppression of voices is very desirable, it is not enough from a generating wisdom perspective. From a wise democracy perspective we want to have ALL major perspectives, not just A and B, but G and Q, and the other ones and any significant views from the edges. How do we do that? We can’t cover all possible perspectives, since there’s an infinite number of them. We can’t cover all possible information, since there is a virtually infinite amount of information. We can’t track all possible interconnections, etc.
So we admit we can’t cover it all, but we seriously think in terms of full-spectrum. If there’s lots of people and views from the edges, we may want to include three of them, or a half dozen of them, to stir up the pot, so the conversation doesn’t get trapped too much in just the main things that most people are already talking about. Having the Green party involved, instead of just the liberals and conservatives, is an example.
Obviously the more we base our efforts on a full range of information, the more likely we will take into account what needs to be taken into account. We are less likely to miss things that are obvious.
There are also diverse ways of knowing that can help us. Information is not just the facts but also the ways the various intelligences make meaning of those facts. There’s analytic ways of knowing where we want to gather all the information we can, and see how it connects up. And there’s intuitive ways of knowing, and there’s heartful ways of knowing, and there’s the knowing in our guts. We want to have all the different ways of knowing available to us, to apply to our full range of information. (The pattern Multi-Modal Intelligence addresses this explicitly.)
If we bring all of our cognitive power individually and collectively to a situation, we will be able to generate something that is wise, or at least much wiser than it would be if we were being constrained by lots of blind spots and incomplete information.
This is one of the key areas that needs work for wise democracy. If you are focussed on fairness, I suggest you may not gather as much full-spectrum information as you would if you are trying to achieve wisdom. To be fair you just want balance. To achieve wisdom you’re trying to cover all bases and not miss anything. So that’s one of the advantages of having “wise democracy” as your center of gravity.