Why is the wise democracy pattern language worth studying, sharing, co-developing and co-evolving?
The wise democracy perspective considers how power, participation and wisdom manifest in democratic systems and highlights a number of problems that arise from their imbalance in current political cultures:
- Power without wisdom is not only dangerous but also unsustainable, ultimately destroying itself along with much of life around it.
- Power without participation becomes increasingly corrupt, manipulative and domineering, and thus riddled with inefficiencies, counter-forces and internal contradictions.
- Participation without power is unsustainable, generating apathy and cynicism.
- Participation without wisdom risks mob rule, majoritarian oppression, and the disasters of short-term narrow self-interest and manipulation.
- Wisdom without power is useless, futile, frustrating, and obviously incomplete (or else it would have taken into account what was needed for it to be powerful!).
- Wisdom without participation will miss important realities and not be “bought into” by those involved, undermining implementation.
The wise democracy worldview and the wise democracy pattern language thus explicitly address these issues with three broad questions that are seldom asked:
- What would democracy look like if power were more wholesome, participatory and wise – and how might we move in that direction?
- What would democracy look like if participation were more inclusive, wise and empowered – and how might we move in that direction?
- What would democracy look like if its outcomes arose from collective wisdom that was more comprehensive, participatory and effective – and how might we move in that direction?
From a more holistic philosophical perspective, wise democracy theorists explore these questions:
- What would power look like if it were of, by and for the whole?
- What would participation look like if it were of, by and for the whole?
- What would wisdom look like if it were of, by and for the whole?
- What does it mean to say we want a democracy of, by, and for the whole?