THE EVOLUTION OF DEMOCRACY

The very fabric of society is in upheaval. New structures and processes are emerging to carry us through to the next stage of social evolution. Prime among these evolving structures is democracy itself.

Democracy can evolve, and is in many small ways evolving toward a more synergistic, participatory, anticipatory form of self-governance.

We might call this emergent form of self-governance: Synergistic Democracy, or Synocracy. It is the next stage of democracy in which each person has the opportunity to express his or her creativity for the good of the self and the whole. It is a form of governance that facilitates all citizens in finding their unique potential and where best to express it within the whole. It leads toward a co-creative society in which all people are free and responsible to do and be their best.

Synocracy is a vision that grows out of Abraham Maslow’s discovery that every self-actualizing person, every joyful, beneficent and productive person, has one trait in common -- chosen work, creative self-expression which they find intrinsically self-rewarding and of service to at least one other person. In other words, we are wired to give our gifts. When we do not, we are less than fully actualized. We may get sick, depressed, alienated, or violent.

In order to be whole and satisfied, we need, in Benjamin Franklin’s great phrase, to find our divinity in our humanity. The divinity of which he speaks is the Creator within, the essential Self, expressing its authentic God-given creativity.

In general, very few of us have the opportunity and/or the inner awareness to discover, take a stand for, and find the way to express what we want to create. The development of tools for synergistic democracy will unlock the greatest unused resource on Earth, -- the untapped, misused, underemployed, unemployed, lost creativity, talent, and genius of humanity itself.

The context for the evolution of democracy is the New Story of Creation, cosmogenesis, the discovery that the universe is an interconnected whole system that has been unfolding and transforming for billions of years. This unfolding is always toward higher consciousness and greater freedom through more complex order, and it continues now through us. From atom to molecule, to cell, to animal, to human, and now to a Self-actualized humanity, we are becoming a complex planetary system, always through greater cooperation, connectivity, and synergy.

This is a multi-billion year trend! Synergy, the coming together of separate parts to form a whole system greater than the sum of its parts is not idealistic; it is a fundamental tendency in nature.

Elisabet Sahtouris, the evolutionary biologist, writes:

Type I ecosystems are populated by aggressive species establishing their niches through intense, sometimes hostile, competition for resources and rapid population growth, while the species in Type III ecosystems tend toward complex cooperative or collaborative systems in which species feed or otherwise support each other to mutual benefit. The Type IIs generally lump together various “transitional” ecosystems. It seems reasonable to ask where the “more advanced” species that can build stable final communities “come from.” How did they evolve? Logically, there must have been a time when only pioneer species existed, yet somehow evolution led to the existence of mature, cooperative species.” (Vision in Action, vol. 3, Number 1, 2005).

The human species as a whole has barely reached Type II. We are in transition as a species toward greater cooperation. The growing threat of self-destruction through domination, control, and self-centeredness is a mighty evolutionary driver that is awakening millions of people within our immature species to move toward more cooperative action. Therefore, one of our fundamental efforts must be to develop processes that cultivate social synergy to re-pattern our social systems toward freedom, greater complexity and creative unions of love.