“Democratic methods, rules, and laws alone do not create a sense of community. Rules and laws may govern mechanical systems, but not people. The new paradigm … acknowledges that organizations are partially mechanical beings…and also living organisms whose lifeblood is composed of feelings, beliefs, and dreams.“
Arny in the The Deep Democracy of Open Forums, p.4.
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Deep Democracy’s relationship to Democracy. Democracy as we all know is about citizen power, or in Greek, “Demo-Kratie”. Democracy is important, –we all hope for equal rights and peaceful solutions. But because ordinary democracy focuses upon majority “rule,” –that is power– it does not always include relationship ability or the deep feelings and dreams of community life. That is why democracy often fails when it comes to severe human tensions and conflicts.
Applications; where can Deep D be used? Deep Democracy has been applied to all sorts of conflicts including terrorism, revolution, diversity issues of all sorts, economic problems, school conflict, climate change, large corporation tensions, government leadership questions etc.
The definition and practice; Deep D. includes democracy as it is now understood, but goes deeper. Deep democracy include 3 levels of consciousness.
1. Consensus reality: everyday reality’s people, issues, environment, history….etc. 2. Dreamland Our dream-like experiences and projections (we call this level “dreamland.”) 3. The Essence level, that is the deepest experiences we have in deep sleep, pre-dreaming, of detachment. This deep level seems to be organized by your processmind. (Other names are “soul”, the “self”, the gods etc.) This processmind is a human “system-mind” and may possibly be nonlocal, that is applicable not only to the individual but to her whole community.
Deep Democracy Practice: In practice, a facilitator or group that understands deep democracy listens closely to the issues and recognizes the various power and rank difference of people representing various sides. The facilitator watches their signals and tries to help them complete their ideas–if they need that help. Then the facilitator remembers the various parts and people are “roles”. She remembers she can dream about them as if they were all inside herself. Thus, the “other” and each role is a part of herself! She realizes that all the various parts are actually roles that everyone has within themselves to a lesser or greater extent. Then she uses her own deepest self or processmind to gain distance and encourages people to dialogue. If they get stuck, she reminds them the “other” is a role, a role that must be played out for it belongs not only to the “other”, but to all. In this way, “role switching” often leads to amazing experiences and resolutions.
Thus, Deep democracy is a political philosophy, a way of working with, people, and a feeling skill, or “metaskill” as Amy calls such skills. After many seminars in the 80′s, Arny’s term “Deep Democracy” first appeared in book form in his, 1992/2000 book, “THE LEADER AS MARTIAL ARTIST, An Introduction To Deep Democracy, Techniques And Strategies For Resolving Conflict + Creating Community.” Today, many politicians, activists and writers often use deep democracy. See Arny’s, “The Deep Democracy of Open Forums” for more.
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We conceive of deep democracy as an elder’s/facilitator’s multi-leveled awareness experience.