Democratic Involvement – what are the factors ?

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Can it be that unsound behavior, communication deficiencies, and personality disorders, not concepts or even the law are the main problem in politics?

Do we reward unsound behavior?

Do we install processes that protect the diversity of voices and look out for the emotional, physical, and social health of participants? Governing has been marked by social hierarchies and power struggles including violence and death. Economic theory has often been based on concepts arrived from the war as many of the “facts/concepts” we use when applying ourselves for success, motivation, and legitimized behavior.

Has it always been this way?

Similar behavioral thinking and motivation are shown in economic theory from the time of mercantilism promoting gain as having to be at others’ expense to modern ideas on competition and comparative advantage. “Social capital” and “brute force“ alongside other persuasive powers with coercion often lead the way. The nation-state seems only to cover feudal lords and merchant networks rather than building from the principle for the whole. Can we prove these ideas wrong? Are they counterproductive? Do some win in the competition at the cost of their own isolation, decreased empathetic capabilities, and diminished connections, or worse?

The information revolution

The Internet revolutionizes public scrutiny, conversation, and decision-making. Especially where media may be controlled by few people and online publishing/participation is a reality.

What about the quality of the thinkers and the information?

The Spanish philosopher José Ortega Y Gassett warned us against the hegemony of specialization. Everything becomes somebodies else’s domain leaving individuals discounting their lives – discounting their own experiences and sense of navigating the world. The specialist then in such a case being a product of modern education and in danger of myopia, lacking concern for the whole: If men confuse symbols (expert knowledge) with the realities of being human.

When the politician and the scientist are ignorant of the decencies of integrity or if they give in to threat and danger – can the public help?

Information gives the ability to engage but not necessarily the ability to know by having walked out of an experience or the ability to deal constructively with threats.

Do crowds have the real ability needed to bring solutions for a nation and humanity?

Based on interest various individuals can come to depths of knowledge that at times rivals the knowledge of experts. Magnifying diversity of discourse, diversifying the risk of participation. Specialists in psychological influence can however reach people through a wider spectrum and there is a danger of information cascade.

The ability to act and know the quality of information comes up for question

People often are overwhelmed. Business & other power may threaten the quality of information. Levels of maturity and intellect differ in the power to see correlations, classify significance, events, and potentiality.

Often society rewards the ability to subdue feelings

It is hard to know if the things needing attention are addressed. It is easy to lead the discourse astray. The power of feelings, unspoken communication, and social ties is routinely underestimated. For many it is really hard to be consistent  – even to have integrity towards oneself. People can be kind, but also impossibly ruthless. It is hard for people to face their own psychological pain. When they can not they may ignore the pain of others as it reminds them of their own. In so doing they routinely ignore the issues needed to be addressed by society! Lawrence Leshan an American PH.D. in psychology maintains that aspects of psychologically not being able to face pain and issues while simultaneously being able to remain “normal” or “functional“threaten life on the entire planet and for sure any reasonable functioning of any political process! People may have various levels of dysfunctional upbringing in terms of “healthy” communication, empathy, and sense of the whole. Some lack empathetic skills. When there is a high level of needing praise and not being able to constructively deal with criticism the narcissist with power even if preaching democracy utilizes coercive means, weaknesses of people, and codependent group behavior.

Who is in control?

Sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies can thrive where there is risk, challenge, and power. The general public looks for “strong leaders” preferring not to have to take the responsibility, risk, and time needed for sensibly participating in political discourse or governance. There is danger in the confusing lacking ability of self-reflection and empathetic skills with strength and decisiveness!  We tend to lift up individuals rather than the context that gives them support or needed safeguards. What techniques of communication and conflict solutions do we have that we can apply? Can we deal better with personality disorders or psychological pain? The wolves do not want anything that hinders their raiding of society.  Can we help them?

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