Consensus

Why we want consensus

We have to make decisions
So we have to come up with a system that’ll help us reach decisions. This system should match all our values and ideals and be practical and reasonable at the same time. If we don’t have a certain system to reach decisions, sooner or later there will be dominion of one individual or a small group of people or everbody will just do as they please. There wouldn’t be any rules and so on the long run there couldn’t be a reasonable or even happy living together.

We don’t want no domination
Nobody shall be constrained to anything. Since we don’t want no domination – neither of an outer entity or person nor of one another, we’re going to need a system for decision-making that works in a way that domination is being restricted, narrowed, avoided by the system itself. Until now we only know these systems for decision-making:

  • One person dominates the rest (dictature, kingship, guruship…)
  • A minority dominates the majority (dictature, parliamentary “democracy”)
  • The majority dominates minorities (democracy)
  • consensus

Since so far we only know the consensus-system as free of domination or domination-decreasing system of decision-making, we decide in favour of that. Should we or someone else one day find another system that’s free of domination, we could use that, too. But as far as we know that hasn’t happened yet.

We want our decisions to be stable
Decisions that haven’t been taken in consensus (i.e. democracy, boss) are not as sustainable as consensus-decisions. Because whoever doesn’t agree to a decision won’t try as hard to implement it as someone who stands behind it. And who doesn’t agree with the decision will less or not at all look out for everyone to observe it. But when people don’t observe the decisions there will be conflict and possibly loads of new decision-making-processes. However we want to live our lifes and not permanently discuss the already taken decisions.

Happiness
All the people who don’t agree with a decision won’t be happy with it. But we want to maximise our happiness.

What we mean by consensus

  • Everyone who’s influenced or affected by a decision should be a part of the decision-making-process
  • We will talk as long as it takes, search for solutions, analyse backgrounds, motives, fears, hopes of everyone, until we find a solution, that everbody can agree upon. To agree can mean:

– I think the solution is really great.
– I think that it’s not the best solution, but it’s ok to choose this one.
– I don’t care, so I agree to take the solution the others want.
– I don’t like this solution, but I’m willing to stand back.
– I’m not so well informed about this topic but I find the explanations coherent and reasonable and so I trust your opinions.

  • If I agree to a consensus that’ll mean the following:

– I won’t (constantly) complain later about the decision and it’s consequences
– I agreed to the consensus and I was free to say “no”
– I’m just as responsible for the decisions and their consequences as everyone else
– I will abide by the decision, even if I change my opinion later
– If I agreed to a decision that will need an active implementation, I won’t block it by passivity

  • I am just as responsible to think of solutions that suit everyone as everyone else

Note: We distinguish between the ideal consensus and the real-existing consensus (see above). We want to orient ourselves towards the ideal: Finding a solution that everyone loves.
Practice
By now people developped different consensus-reaching-methods. Which we’ll use in the community or if we’re going to develop our own, that’s something we don’t know yet. But we do know that we want to consider different methods, try them out for some time and evaluate later what we liked and what didn’t work for us.

We do know that it’s important to us that these methods balance stability of rules and decisions on the one hand and open-mindedness for innovation.
Homogeneity of values and goals
If we largely agree on our values and goals it’ll be much easier to find a consensus as in a group of people who’re just thrown together by coincidence. Because when we all agree on the same goals and values it’s all mainly about the HOW, about the right way to our common goal but not about the goal itself. That is why we strive for a high level of homogeneity of our values and goals. And our relationships between each other are important too for finding consensus. In a conflict it’s much harder to understand the position of the other person, to look at the other with love and kindness. In these situations it is extra-important to have a common ground to stand on.

If this common ground is no longer there, if it fades over time, it’ll become harder and harder to reach a consensus together. That’s why we strive for common goals, values, ideals in the founding-group. We want everyone to be very much united in this and in how they want to live.

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