Guidelines for Making Wiser Decisions on Public Issues
by Tom Atlee
As a civilization we have tremendous collective power, but we
don't always use it wisely. We can make good decisions, but
we face messy, entangled, rapidly growing problems with complex,
debatable causes. Efforts to solve one problem often generate
new ones. We need more than problem-solving smarts here. We
A good definition for wisdom here is
the capacity to take into account
what needs to be taken into account
to produce long term, inclusive benefits.
To the extent we fail to take something important into account,
it will come back to haunt us. But often we only realize we
overlooked something long after our decision has been implemented.
Certain practices - because they lead us to include more of
what's important - can help us meet this challenge. Here are
eight complementary ways to do this. The more of them we do,
and the better we do them, the wiser our collective decisions
1. Creatively engage diverse perspectives and intelligences.
High quality conversations among diverse people with full-spectrum
knowledge, using their full human capacities - including reason,
intuition, and aesthetic sensibilities - can generate wisdom.
2. Consult global wisdom traditions and broadly shared ethics.
Ethical principles common to most major religions and philosophies
provide time-tested wisdom, augmented by what we have learned
more recently through global science and global dialogue.
3. Seek guidance from natural patterns. Wisdom is embedded
in nature, in organisms, in natural forms and processes, and
in evolution, providing a vast reservoir of insight and know-how
tapped not only by scientists and engineers but by tribal and
4. Apply systems thinking. Wisdom comes from understanding
underlying causes and taking into account how things are interrelated,
how wholes and parts influence each other through power relations,
resonance, feedback dynamics, flows, motivating purposes, and
life-shaping narratives, habits and structures.
5. Think about the Big Picture and the Long Term. Wisdom grows
as we step out of limiting perspectives to understand (and creatively
use!) histories and energies from the past, current contexts
and trends, future ramifications and needs, larger and smaller
scales, and other mind-expanding perspectives.
6. Seek agreements that are truly inclusive. The more people
contribute to, engage with, and believe in an agreement, the
more likely it will wisely address what needs to be addressed
and be well implemented.
7. Release the potential of hidden assets and positive possibilities.
It is wise to notice and creatively engage existing energies
and resources and to tap the power of people's aspirations which
often show up at the rough edges, on the margins of our thinking,
our group, our society.
8. Encourage healthy self-organization and learning. Any situation
or system has problem-solving and self-organizing capacities
which can be released and supported with well-designed forms
of invitation, participation, and collaboration - powerful questions,
crowd-sourcing activities, incentives, democracy, conversation,
9. Co-create accessible, relevant, accurate, full-spectrum
knowledge. Fundamental to every one of these principles is the
ability of decision-makers to know what's important.
Society's capacity to make wise decisions will be enhanced
to the extent these wisdom-generating practices are supported
and institutionalized AND to the extent the systemic obstacles
to them are removed or bypassed.
"We are drowning in information,
while starving for wisdom."
-- Biologist E.O. Wilson
It is becoming increasingly obvious that human civilization has
tremendous collective power but lacks the collective wisdom to use
it well and sustainably.
Our civilization seems not yet able to thrive without making a
mess of things. Our social systems' ability to channel our vast
and rapidly expanding information, resources, collective intelligence
and power into controlling and exploiting people and nature for
sustenance, pleasure, and profit is generating some dire consequences.
Faced with mounting crises, we encounter more and more "wicked"
problems - problems that do not solve easily. Their causes are unclear,
complex, and difficult-to-address. WIcked problems are tangled up
with other problems. We try different approaches and each attempt
ends up making more messes. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_problem.)
We can't stop trying. We know our solutions and choices will profoundly
impact the future of our communities, our societies, and our world.
"Good" choices, despite their messiness, could lead to
much better lives and a more sustainable and vibrant civilization.
"Bad" choices will almost certainly accelerate our collective
descent into further trouble, even global catastrophe. But the difference
between good and bad choices is by no means obvious, especially
while those decisions are being made. The "wickedness"
of our public problems becomes even more daunting as we wrestle
with conflicting interests, messy history, rapidly evolving disruptive
technologies, discordant perspectives and problematic psychological
and social dynamics.
Clearly our usual approaches to "problem solving" are
not enough. We need to upshift and expand our ability to see what's
going on, what's important, what's available, what's needed. We
need to discover a more comprehensive level of insight that can
embrace deeper understandings of a bigger picture than we are used
to seeing. We need high leverage approaches that don't require micromanagement
and massive resources, but improve people's capacity to continually
address whatever problems show up, on the fly, while enhancing life
In short, we need wisdom.
I would like to suggest a functional definition of wisdom. I'm
not posing it as an ideal definition. I offer it only as a good
working definition to help us think about the messy collective situations
in which we find ourselves and how to better approach them. Here
In public decisions, wisdom is
the capacity to take into account
what needs to be taken into account
to produce long term, inclusive benefits.
This definition suggests that, while "smart" decisions
may be successful in the short term for some players, "wise"
decisions are broadly and deeply successful for many people and
for life in general over a long term. "Wise" decisions
differ from "smart" ones in how much of the whole they
take into account. Therefore, we can ask of public decisions: How
much ground is covered by the information and perspectives they
are based on? How broadly empathic and deeply prudent are the reflections
that shape those decisions? How insightfully novel are the options
considered? How many lives, communities, situations and generations
are positively impacted by the resulting actions?
This definition is based on the obvious and painful fact that when
we fail to take something important into account, it comes back
to bite us - perhaps not immediately, but sooner or later, one way
or another. Foolish, ill-considered decisions tend to leave us with
worse problems than we had before. Wiser decisions tend to create
fewer bad outcomes because they take into account more of what -
and who - is most relevant and important.
In practice, though, we don't really KNOW how wise a decision is
until long after it is implemented. After all, it is the long-term
results that make it wise. The more wicked the problem, the more
we get to face this sobering reality because the problem's complexity
makes it that much harder to predict what will happen. To really
know whether a decision is wise, we have to wait and see.
However, just because we can't be certain a decision is wise at
the time it is made, doesn't mean we're helpless. There is much
we can do before, during, and after we make a decision to make it
more likely that it will be wise. The definition above - considering
what actually needs to be taken into account - can guide us. Certain
practices can lead us to consider "more of the whole"
and thus significantly improve our chances.
Below are several dependable, interrelated approaches to making
wiser public decisions. After each one I offer a few references
that address various aspects of that approach. Neither this list
of approaches nor the references I give are comprehensive. I offer
them simply in the hope that they will stimulate further thinking
on this critical subject.
1. Creatively engage diverse perspectives and intelligences.
To what extent did the decision-making process include a full range
of voices, information, and viewpoints about the issues being considered?
To what extent did it engage diverse forms of intelligence - emotion,
aesthetics and intuition, for example, as well as intellectual and
verbal capacities? To what extent were different worldviews, cultures,
demographics, and life experiences included and taken into consideration?
To what extent were those diverse perspectives integrated into a
bigger picture or used to stimulate creativity in the decision-making
process, rather than being suppressed or marginalized? Achieving
this usually means including sufficiently diverse people, information
and activities in the conversation in the first place - and then
helping them be more curious than opinionated, listening well and
taking each other seriously. We need to understand the rich scope
of human diversity and to facilitate quality dialogue and deliberation
that helps people use their diversity creatively instead of having
it undermine their humanity and their collective intelligence. See,
The Co-Intelligence Institute page on Diversity - http://www.co-intelligence.org/diversity.html
The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation - http://ncdd.org
Citizen Deliberative Councils - http://co-intelligence.org/CDCUsesAndPotency.html
Dynamic Facilitation - http://www.tobe.net
The World Cafe - http://www.theworldcafe.com
"A Theory of Everything" by Ken Wilber, reviewed at
"Citizen Participation: Questions of Diversity, Equity and
Fairness" by K. Callahan - http://www.jpmsp.com/Vol13Iss1-CitizenParticpation-Callah.pdf
2. Consult global wisdom traditions and broadly shared
ethics. In and around all our immense differences, our
biological, social, and some say spiritual nature grounds us in
vast common realities that show up over and over in inspired works
from around the world. So we may well ask to what extent a decision
is supported by the time-tested wisdom found in the world's religions
and philosophies. By this I am not, of course, referring to the
parts of those traditions that make them different, competitive,
and self-righteous. What I'm talking about involves certain principles
- like the Golden Rule and non-arrogance - that most societies in
most places and times have considered important guides to a good
and moral life. These are the nearest thing we have to universal
values and ethical standards appropriate for democratic decision-making
where people's diverse religious, spiritual and philosophical views
are respected but no one sectarian worldview dominates the others.
As a complement to this, we might learn from research on deep human
needs and what usually makes people most deeply happy, as well as
globally co-created ethical documents like the Earth Charter and
the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Finally, collective wisdom on
a particular community's shared ethics can be tapped by convening
randomly selected citizen panels to consider specific questions
of how we should live together. For interesting perspectives on
shared ethical wisdom see:
The Parliament of the World's Religions "Declaration Towards
a Global Ethic" - http://bit.ly/qtAQjp
Wisdom Commons - http://www.wisdomcommons.org/site/about
Manfred Max-Neef's socioeconomic view of human needs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_human_needs
"The Happiness Hypothesis" by Jonathan Haidt - http://www.happinesshypothesis.com/chapters.html
The Earth Charter - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Charter
Universal Declaration of Human Rights - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Declaration_of_Human_Rights
"How should we live together?" by Ned Crosby - http://bit.ly/r9QOfy
(Note that specific forms of prayer, meditation, oracles, "tuning
in to other realms", etc., can also be wisdom-generating practices
for many individuals, and for groups that use those methods collectively.
However, such practices are usually not appropriate for inclusive
democratic decision-making among citizens of diverse religious or
spiritual sensibilities. In place of those divergent practices,
brief periods of generic silence can often be used to give people
in such public conversations time to reflect or deepen in whatever
ways they find most meaningful and useful. In addition, we need
to acknowledge that individual states of awareness and profound
acts of compassion, service and conscience - including civil disobedience
- can also bring wisdom to public decision-making.)
3. Seek guidance from natural patterns. Leonardo
Da Vinci said, "Those who are inspired by a model other than
Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain."
So we can ask: To what extent did the decision tap into the wisdom
embedded in nature, in living organisms, in natural forms and processes,
and in evolution? For example, the field of biomimicry asks "How
have evolved organisms efficiently solved engineering problems in
ways that we could imitate to solve our own engineering problems?"
We can also learn from how evolution works its magic: e.g., principles
like "To make a functioning larger whole from smaller living
parts, set things up so that when the parts pursue their self-interest,
they automatically contribute to the welfare of the whole."
Much of the wisdom of indigenous peoples and ancient cultures comes
from observing nature and respecting its ways. Taoism studies "the
Way" (the Tao) of nature and applies that understanding to
both spiritual and practical matters. Many tribal cultures see "Mother
Earth" as sacred and are therefore aghast that modern people
would dig into the Mother for oil and minerals (which they see as
Her bodily fluids and flesh), feeling that She will die or be angry.
The metaphor has tremendous truth and predictive power embedded
in it, as the Earth does bring us all into being and sustains us
and is, therefore, deserving of profound respect and protection.
Furthermore, lately the Earth does seem to be acting increasingly
angry at our selfish exploitation of its/Her bounty. (Modern people
may look down on how pre-modern cultures personify and deify natural
forces - believing in gods of the sea and wind and so on - while
failing to notice how much more destructive is the modern practice
of reifying, personifying, and insulating corporations with "corporate
personhood".) (Note that two other approaches on this list
- systems thinking and self-organization, below - derive much of
their insights from observing natural dynamics.) Useful explorations
of nature as a source of wisdom include:
Biomimicry Institute - http://www.biomimicryinstitute.org/about-us/
Bioneers - http://www.bioneers.org/about
"Seeing Nature" by Paul Krafel
"Evolutions Arrow" by John Stewart (full text online
"Evolution for Everyone" by David Sloan Wilson
"Reflections on Evolutionary Activism" by Tom Atlee
"The Tao of Da Vinci" by Fritjof Capra - http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/48/the-tao-of-da-vinci/
4. Apply systems thinking. To what extent did
the decision take into account how things are interrelated and how
the whole - the whole situation, community, social system, society,
planet - shapes the lives within it, and how those lives, in turn,
shape each other and the whole? To what extent did the decision-makers
look at the feedback dynamics that make the issue persist or grow
or become increasingly problematic? If we ignore how an issue is
connected to other issues and to other things going on, and how
the whole situation is related to its parts and relationships that
make it up, the chances are high that something will mess up whatever
solutions we pursue. Wisdom comes from understanding underlying
causes and taking into account how things are interrelated, how
wholes and parts influence each other through power relations, resonance,
feedback dynamics, flows, motivating purposes, and life-shaping
narratives, habits and structures. See, for example,
"Thinking in Systems" by Donella Meadows - http://www.sustainer.org/?page_id=87
"Twelve Leverage Points to Intervene in a System" by
Dana Meadows - http://committeeofpublicsafety.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/twelve-points-of-leverage/
"Blind Spots" by Madeleine L. Van Hecke - http://amzn.to/pGTBCV
(expanded by comments on a critical review - http://amzn.to/p67g92)
The Integral Process for Working on Complex Issues (TIP) - http://bit.ly/oz2Eq9
"Permaculture is Systems Thinking" - http://bit.ly/nbGijD
"The Web of Life" by Fritjof Capra
The Natural Step's Four System Conditions - http://www.naturalstep.org/~natural/the-system-conditions
Alternatives for GDP for Measuring Progress - http://www.wupperinst.org/uploads/tx_wibeitrag/ws42.pdf
5. Think about the Big Picture and the Long Term.
To what extent does the decision take into account the issue's context
- its social, cultural, economic, and psychological history and
sustaining dynamics? To what extent did the decision-makers reflect
on how the decision would probably impact people who live elsewhere,
or future generations, or those who disagree? Did they consider
its likely impact on the welfare of individuals, the community,
the society, and the environment ten, fifty, two hundred years from
now? To what extent did decision-makers look beyond obvious immediate
factors to consider nuances, contexts, possibilities and options
outside of mainstream thinking? Wisdom grows as we step out of limiting
perspectives to understand (and creatively use!) histories and energies
from the past, current contexts and trends, future ramifications
and needs, larger and smaller scales, and other mind-expanding perspectives.
There are hundreds of approaches to this, including:
Science, technology, society and environment education - http://bit.ly/nGW8YJ
Scenario Work like "The Art of the Long View" by Peter
Schwartz - http://amzn.to/nGnaoC
Seventh Generation Sustainability - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_generation_sustainability
"What is sustainability" - http://www.globalfootprints.org/page/id/0/5/
Big History - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_History
Edward deBono "H+ (Plus)" - http://www.londonbusinessforum.com/events/h_plus
A pattern language for reliable prosperity - http://www.reliableprosperity.com
"Sacred Economics" by Charles Eisenstein
6. Seek agreements that are truly inclusive.
To what extent does the decision appeal to a high percentage of
those involved -- especially those who tend to be adversaries or
stakeholders in the issue, or those who are marginalized in the
society generally? In a community decision, was the whole community
- and/or a legitimate microcosm of the community - engaged in it?
Requiring that a decision have a supermajority vote (66-80%) or
consensus (all concerns being handled well enough for all parties
to support the solution) often produces a better decision than one
made by a 50%+1 majority. Another approach is to allow voters to
prioritize or rate several options they can accept, thus increasing
the likelihood that a final decision will be agreeable to them.
A wise agreement will be achieved to the extent it involves inclusive
thinking, seeking to understand and satisfy everyone's deep needs
and legitimate interests rather than by engaging in lowest-common-denominator
compromises and side-issue deal-making. The more people contribute
to, engage with, and believe in an agreement, the more likely it
will wisely address what needs to be addressed and be well implemented.
(Note: A simple popular vote or opinion survey can also be a test
of wisdom, but only to the extent the public has been engaged in
informed deliberations about the issue and therefore understands
what they are expressing their opinion about, and to the extent
those being polled legitimately represent the diversity of the population,
often through random selection.) You can gather some useful insights
about inclusivity from resources like these:
"Getting to Yes" by William Ury and Roger Fisher
Consensus councils - http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-DanishTechPanels.html
"Consensus: Manipulation or Magic", Chapter 18 of "The
Tao of Democracy" by Tom Atlee
Nonviolent Communication and the deep human needs of individuals
"Random selection of citizens for technological decision
making" by Lyn Carson and Brian Martin http://bit.ly/q23eYH
Supermajority voting - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermajority
Preferential voting - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferential_voting
7. Look to positive possibilities and assets.
Learn what's going on the creative leading edges and/or sense into
it with those involved. Recognize that important positive possibilities
almost always show up first on the margins of our thinking or our
society. Use "positive deviance" to find out who is dealing
well with the situation, and how they can help handle it broadly.
Practice Appreciative Inquiry to explore what has worked in the
past, and visioning and scenario work to explore what might best
serve life in the future. Use practices like Dynamic Facilitation
and Future Search and principled negotiation to turn oppositional
energy into the discovery of positive possibilities. Ask "What
is possible now?" and "Where is the life energy in this
situation?" Assume that the resources to resolve the situation
exist - albeit latently - within the community or system involved.
Ask them, "What strengths, skills, and resources do you have
to offer here?" It is wise to notice and creatively engage
existing energies and resources and to tap the power of people's
aspirations. Some excellent resources are:
"Engaging Emergence" by Peggy Holman
"What is Appreciative Inquiry" - http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/intro/whatisai.cfm
Dynamic Facilitation - http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-dynamicfacilitation.html
Future Search - http://www.futuresearch.net/method/methodology/index.cfm
Positive deviance - http://www.positivedeviance.org
Theory U - http://www.presencing.com/presencing-theoryu/theoryu.shtml
Asset Based Community Development - http://www.abcdinstitute.org/about/
The Oasis Game - http://www.worldbridgerdesign.com/blog/?p=171
8. Encourage healthy self-organization and learning.
In every situation - especially when things are problematic - there
are energies and entities trying to resolve it, to move it forward,
or to play their own creative role. In most cases, we can help all
these generate collective wisdom, using well designed forms of invitation,
participation, and collaboration. We can use powerful open-ended
questions and conversations, Open Space conferences, open source
and crowd-sourcing activities, games and incentives, market structures*
and democracy -- all approaches that help people interact productively,
learning and adapting as they go, passionately pursuing what interests
them without undue management or pre-determined outcomes. We do
this because wisdom tends to arise from a life-serving balance between
order and chaos. To the extent things are working well, it makes
sense to support status quo values, habits and order. To the extent
things aren't working well, disturbances tell us that something
needs to change. In such challenging situations, if we embrace disturbance
and free people's passion and vision into it, we release innovation,
learning and transformation, generating creative chaos from which
new order can emerge that better meets the new needs. When we're
using this self-organization approach, we're not focusing on problems.
We're trying to arrange things so that people, groups, communities,
societies, and other living systems can learn and solve problems
for themselves. For a variety of perspectives on self-organization,
see the following:
Open Space Technology - http://ncdd.org/rc/item/1574
"The Power of Questions" by Tom Atlee - http://co-intelligence.org/P-Questions.html
"The Birth of the Chaordic Century" by Dee Hock - http://www.parshift.com/Speakers/Speak009.htm
"Complexity" by M. Waldrop
Permaculture - http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-permaculture.html
Self-organization - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-organization
"Nine Laws of God" by Kevin Kelly - http://www.kk.org/outofcontrol/ch24-a.html
(* Note that large market structures generate wise outcomes only
to the extent that all the social and environmental costs are embedded
in the prices of the goods and services.)
9. Co-create accessible, relevant, accurate, full-spectrum
knowledge. Fundamental to every one of these principles
is people's ability to know what's important - including both awareness
of important information and ability to discern the relative quality
and importance of specific information in the informational sea
that surrounds us all. Data, information, knowledge, and ideas underlie
both individual and collective intelligence. Intelligence weaves
them into understanding. The scope, depth and appropriateness of
our understanding generates wisdom. Collective wisdom requires a
healthy flow of information and insight, and thus the freedom, tools,
and cultural attitudes that support that flow. So wisdom in public
decision-making is nurtured to the extent we co-create the capacity
of the society to generate, share, understand and modify full-spectrum
knowledge. It involves the health and freedom of many diverse realms:
education and other learning systems; journalism and other intelligence
gathering and storytelling functions; multi-directional, multi-modal
communications technologies, not only media and digital, but conversational
methods and information presentation and processing approaches;
research, experimentation, and other forms of intentional inquiry;
respect for both expertise and lived experience; networking, crowd-sourcing
and other collaborative knowledge-building systems; public relations
and framings that expand rather than pollute public understanding;
institutional transparency, protection for whistleblowers, limits
on political money and media monopolies, and other policies and
activities that promote freedom of information and impede concentrations
of social power that can distort or repress information flows....
Furthermore, all these things should function in ways that help
society - and particularly those involved in public decision-making
- to clearly see the results of public decisions, so there can be
collective learning from collective experience. Finally, wisdom
requires a healthy relationship with both knowledge and uncertainty
- humility, curiosity, information literacy (insight into the gifts
and limitations of any information), perspective, and an ability
to entertain and find deeper insight through opposites, paradoxes
and mysteries. These are usually thought of as individual traits
but can be promoted as qualities of a group's or a society's culture.
Although the task of achieving a society with high quality information,
knowledge and wisdom dynamics is a daunting long-term proposition,
knowledge environments that are vastly better than usual can be
created to support citizens, stakeholders and officials who have
been given special decision-making roles on behalf of the larger
society. A few resources that highlight different aspects of this
vast territory include:
The work of Edward Tufte - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tufte
"Framing for Deliberation" by Alison Kadlec and Will
Friedman - http://www.publicagenda.org/files/pdf/CAPE%20Working%20Paper%20Framing%20for%20Deliberation.pdf
Journalism that Matters - http://journalismthatmatters.org/blog/2010/08/26/about-journalism-that-matters/
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia
Argument mapping - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_map
Public Relations - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_relations
"Waking up to Wholeness, Dialogue, and Mystery" by Tom
Atlee - http://co-intelligence.org/MissingElephantCommentary.html
Holopticism - http://wiki.thetransitioner.org/English/Holopticism
If we want to have wiser societies we need to use, support, and
institutionalize dynamics like these in our decision-making, problem-solving,
and vision-pursuing activities. Furthermore, we need to eliminate
or transform the social, economic, and political dynamics that block
these wisdom-producing capacities. We need less ignorance-generating
PR and more engaging ways to understand what's really going on.
We need less divisive partisan battles and more ways for We the
People to come together in all our diversity to create the world
we really want. We need less concentrated economic and media power
and more crowd-sourced engagement to build strong commons, resilient
communities, productive conversations and shareable delight. We
need less self-righteousness in science, religion, and politics
and more bridge-building within and between these great human ways
of finding our right relationship with life. We need fewer efforts
to control and more efforts to partner. We need fewer silos, boundaries
and bottom lines and more compelling intergenerational, interfaith,
intercultural, interdisciplinary interactivity on behalf of the
shared Life that is greater than any of us.
Complex living systems have an imperfect but natural capacity to
generate wisdom relevant to their survival and thrival. That capacity
can be distorted, thwarted, abused and co-opted - or it can be recognized,
supported, enhanced, and institutionalized -- by our social structures,
economic incentives, political systems and cultural narratives and
practices. How well do we go about doing the nine things listed
above? Doing them well will generate greater collective wisdom.
Doing them poorly will generate greater collective folly. I suggest
that these nine things, in all their diverse forms, deserve to be
high priority targets for the transformational attention of change
agents. They are all high leverage strategies. The populations and
life energies of our world CAN be freed up and empowered to become
more collectively wise.
E.O. Wilson, in the rest of the statement quoted at the beginning
of this essay, said, "The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers,
people able to put together the right information at the right time,
think critically about it, and make important choices wisely."
I think he is right, as far as he goes. Yet, in my view, he focuses
too much on wise individuals and the top-down leadership and management
dynamics that go along with that focus.
So I offer this modification of his insightful prediction:
If civilization is going to survive and thrive,
it will soon be run by synthesizing systems.
Society will be set up so that people -
individually and together -
can put together the right information
at the right time,
think clearly and creatively about it,
discern the larger, deeper patterns involved
and, based on those larger patterns,
discover new choices
that make their world more alive and beautiful
for themselves and the great, great, great
grandchildren of all living things that will follow them.
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