It was late last night when my phone rang. I’ll paraphrase the conversation --
“Hello, Daniel? This is Brita Jorganson calling from Stockholm.”
“Daniel,” Brita continued, “you did not really answer the question in my mind about REALITY DEMOCRACY, as you call it.”
Brita got right to the point, “What is REALITY DEMOCRACY, Daniel?”
“To put it succinctly, Brita, REALITY DEMOCRACY takes a lot of its definition and operation from “REALITY THERAPY,” written by Dr. William Glasser, M.D., who redefined psychiatry by saying that the historical referents of a patient’s condition are not relevant to their current treatment and healing. He said that the patient could not be healed except now in this moment and that the patient is responsible for their behavior and needs to take an active role in their healing.”
“The parallels, Brita, are these – the patient is the people of a democracy who have historically relied on the doctor to heal them. The government is the doctor, who historically has acted as a paternal father figure taking on the responsibilities of the people, much like a caretaker. This leaves the people feeling left out of the processes of governance, dependent, and incapable when in fact they are ready to take on more responsibilities to exercise their rights of self-determination… except that early forms of democracy do not provide a means for the people to participate in developing options to public issues, to state their preferences or to make choices. This does not mean that they actually make the decisions. That is the responsibility of public executives, much as the doctor makes the final choices and takes actions as needed. As for ultimate responsibilities, the people are ultimately responsible for what their government does or does not do. Of course if there are no means to participate, then they are subject to the dictates of the government without being consulted.”
I paused a moment, to gather my thoughts when Brita interjected, “Is that all? I mean, that is not all there is to it, is there?”
“No, but that is a beginning. The second essential aspect of REALITY DEMOCRACY is that it is immediate. Just as the dialogue between the patient and doctor is immediate, in a REALITY DEMOCRACY the “dialogue” between the public and their public executives is ongoing and immediate in "real time," not as it is now.
“In a REALITY DEMOCRACY citizens use the Internet to offer their options for action, their preferences, opinions and their preferred choices for action. Of course this would mean that there would have to be some independent, unaffiliated and non-aligned organization that would facilitate this connection.
“In a REALITY DEMOCRACY citizen participation is more immediate and more direct without changing any aspect of existent democratic processes. The real benefit is that citizens have a means to exercise their species-prerogative and political rights of self-determination, which helps to avoid demonstrations, riots and other forms of political violence.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone. I thought that she had either gotten bored or disgusted when she took a deep sigh.
“So, is this a part of the ‘Second Paradigm of Democracy’ that you write about? (“Yes.”) And then I can speculate that this is a peaceful form of political and social evolution? (“Yes.”) Of course, Daniel, you can expect that many people in politics will embrace these concepts, but many will vehemently reject them. Correct?”
“Yes, certainly,” I continued. “As citizens or public executives, we can never really escape our humanity, our fear of the untested and the need to bolster our flagging egos. These two factors are a part of any immature personality and frequently seek authority, control and power to make them feel more secure and sure. The situation of evolving democracies is difficult, even existentially ironic. For democratic societies to develop, mature and evolve, as children do to become responsible adults, in the case of democratic societies the child must not only develop and mature, but do so alone without a parental model to guide them. The only thing democracies can use to guide their maturity, social evolution and decision-making are the three values that have sustained our species for so many thousands of years.
“Contemporarily, social change takes place very rapidly, leaving the democratic process behind, and leaving the needs of the public seemingly abandoned. That is why the public needs to be involved on a real time basis, so that public issues are addressed quickly and responsibly. It will help take the guess work out of public policy development. The public and public executives cannot do this separately. They must be engaged together in the processes of democratic policy development in real-time mode.
“Does this answer your questions, Brita?”
“Yes, it does. However, it raises many more questions, which I am sure you probably have already considered. Thank you for your time. I’ll be following your posts to see what else you come up with. I apologize for it being so late. Good night.”