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UCD-STAFFORDBEER  March 2007

UCD-STAFFORDBEER March 2007

Subject:

Experimenting democracy and participation

From:

Luc Hoebeke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 13 Mar 2007 09:52:48 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (78 lines)

Dear All,

Referring to Vadian has trapped me in thinking more about the  
initiative I proposed and which was responded to by some of you.

One of the themes that came up during our last Metaphorum meeting and  
which in fact has been a constant in all meetings is the relation  
between cybernetics and politics and the governance of the "city".

Why could it not be possible that we of the Metaphorum group don't  
start ourselves to experiment with the tension between participation  
and representation that underlies democratic political activities?  
Naturally this leads me to think about the how? As nowadays the  
tension between participation and representation is mediated  
literally by the electronic media, by the tension between the virtual  
and the real, the experiment should also include the use of these  
media. The strength of a syntegration is that it is done by real  
people in face to face debates, discussions and dialogues.  
Syntegration sessions only can be partially "virtualized" when at  
least the persons involved have had the experience of this live  
encounter. But as one could look at the participants of the  
syntegration as representatives of Statements of Importance,  
virtuality can be used to come to the Statements of Importance and  
their champions. Even the Topic Auction can be done virtually.

This as a background for the following proposal.

Let us start with a Problem Jostle using the Servlist. We have a  
whole year to come to qualitatively very high Statements of  
Importance. By qualitatively high, I mean that through the effort  
that has been put in their elaboration, their meaning and their  
relevance have been duly developed between the Metaphorum members  
interested in it.

The measurement of this quality could be made available  
electronically through a very simple "eudaemony" scale in which those  
who are interested in the Statement of Importance indicate how high  
they value their mutual contribution. The person who scores highest  
on this scale becomes then the representative for that Statement of  
Importance and shall be participating in the live syntegration. A  
"real time" follow-up could be made available on the Metaphorum  
website and Enrique Rivas may think how to contribute to it virtually  
by means of the work he is doing in Chile.

The tension between participation and representation can then be  
operationalized by having two Topic Auctions: a virtual one, let us  
say about one month before the live syntegration by all the  
metaphorumgroup members and a live one with the representatives, with  
which the live syntegration could start. Naturally both will be  
compared and the live one shall be influenced by the virtual one. In  
this way some of the tension between participation and representation  
can be operationalized.

Before the next Metaphorum meeting, the representatives can then  
start the resonance sessions and come to the Outcome Resolves. I am  
convinced that if the Statements of Importance are really represented  
by their champions, they shall not bother to devote some time extra  
to the syntegration.

The next Metaphorum meeting could then have two main agenda points:
reflecting on what has been learned doing this experiment
developing the Outcome Resolves.

Please, take this proposal as a very tentative one. My Statement of  
Importance is already at the beginning of this mail:

what can Cybernetics contribute to the essential political tensions  
between participation and representation and between virtual and real  
in politics.

I am curious to some of your reactions.

Kind regards,

Luc

For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to:  www.platformforchange.org

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