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The ToBe Project -- The Abstract
by Jim Rough

1. Abstract (no more than 1000 words)
The abstract must summarize the design of the model, including the institutions, regulations, decision-making paths and control mechanisms it involves, as well as how key individuals and other decision-making bodies are to be appointed.

This proposal describes a completely new form of governance, one that a small group can facilitate into being, with relatively few resources, in the short term. This revolutionary global governance model is inclusive and democratic. Although new, it has been proven to work at large scale, like at the national level in both Austria and Germany.

This model of governance is ultimately dependent on our ability to facilitate all the people to come together as “
We the People” at the global level. This strategy is made possible by a set of four social innovations, which will be described below. We begin by directing people’s attention to a particular, impossible-seeming problem such as climate change, controlling nuclear weapons, or eradicating poverty. We use what we call the Wisdom Council Process to facilitate a new type of global conversation on this issue so that shifts and breakthroughs lead to a shared perspective. Using this We the People approach helps us create solutions to complex divisive problems and to formulate a widely supported global constitution. And here’s a way that you and I can facilitate a new kind of governance into being where We the People responsibly manage the global commons.

To better understand this We the People form of government, it is helpful to think about governance in terms of three basic shapes: the Triangle, the Box and the Circle. In a Triangle, the leader is in charge. With the Box, a constitution is ultimately in charge. In a Circle system, We the People become the ultimate authority. In the Circle, everybody is invited to participate in a collaborative and creative public conversation, achieving unity through shifts and breakthroughs.

In the Box system, which is familiar to most people, we assume that we’ll design the best constitution possible and that nation states will negotiate its acceptance. In the Circle approach, however, we focus more on the process of how we get there than on the ultimate form that results. We convene and facilitate the right kind of conversation, one that people want to engage in, where they speak their minds and hearts, and they are heard. The process is what we call
choice-creating, where individuals express themselves naturally yet co-create a shared perspective in a short time period. It’s different than decision-making, discussion, debate, consensus-building, negotiation, or dialogue.

Because of the special features of choice-creating, to pursue this approach we do not need the approval of national or global organizations. With enough resources and media support we can begin facilitating We the People at the global level in a number of different ways, including a TV show described in the video attachment: “Global We the People”. Nor do we need to educate people about the value of the Wisdom Council Process beforehand. Our job is simple: We just need to spark a new kind of global conversation on issues that people care about. We need to assure a certain quality of talking in that conversation, and support its natural spread throughout diverse peoples. If we do this, we can facilitate the coming together of diverse people at a global scale, where a shared perspective emerges through shifts in heart and mind.

Wisdom Council Process entails randomly selecting twelve to twenty-four people from the world’s population. These individuals are brought to a single location for a few days and are facilitated using Dynamic Facilitation, an approach that allows each person to speak their mind and heart, yet keeps everyone safe from judgment. Over the course of two or three days, every comment is heard and incorporated in a way that collective shifts happen. By session’s end, a surprising degree of unity is achieved. When the Wisdom Council time is up, there is a public ceremony, where the Wisdom Council shares their final conclusions, highlighting major shifts and breakthroughs along the way. Then the Wisdom Council disbands, and the larger audience talks, building on the Wisdom Council perspectives.

Usually, the conversation of the larger audience continues in a similar spirit similar to the Wisdom Council. Rather than participating in the usual “agree/disagree” dynamics, people are more creative and collaborative.

Between Wisdom Council meetings, “Responder Meetings” occur, where experts, national representatives, and other stakeholders coordinate their responses to the Wisdom Council. Such gatherings might normally devolve into a power struggle, but now they take place in a context of knowing “the public interest.” Existing institutions that work on behalf of climate change, for instance, will now have a new opportunity to be heard. Instead of just “speaking truth to power,” all are now responding to and serving a legitimate expression of “the public interest.”

In a nutshell, the
Wisdom Council Process makes it possible for us as a society to call “Time Out!” every few months so we can step away from the 24/7 news cycle—which breeds fear, and hopelessness—to think, vision and govern creatively together. It’s a Circle form of governance, where We the People arise to take charge.

Unfortunately, the experience of most people, even in small groups, is different than what we’re claiming is possible at a global scale. So, even though we’ve had over 25 years to experiment with these processes and to develop the underlying theory, and we now have successful large-scale public examples, it’s still difficult for most people to appreciate that this form of governance is achievable. Hopefully, you will read the rest of this proposal with an open mind, knowing that there is more to learn and to experience than can be conveyed through words.

2. Description of the Model (no more than 5500 words)

3. Argumentation demonstrating how the model meets the assessment criteria (no more than 2750 words)

Please help take this plan forward in any way you can.