Remarkable ! How to actually design a wiser democracy…

We invite you to join our crowdfunding campaign for an important project that will help everyone participate in co-creating wiser democracies – a project already well underway….



A colleague and I are in the midst of one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been involved in. We are identifying elements that, together, can guide us all in the ongoing mission of making our democracies more participatory and wise.

Most modern political systems are barely democratic… at least if we define democracy as government of, by, and for the people. And even the most democratic ones often generate unwise policies.

The resources we are developing will allow anyone to look at a situation where self-governance is needed and identify initiatives that can increase the likelihood that outcomes will serve the long-term quality of life for all – the essence of wise democracy. These resources will also help productively evaluate any and all political activities, cultures and institutions.

Over the last six weeks, we have identified 62 design elements for a wise democracy and described in some detail 40 of them. Once we have laid the basic groundwork for the whole set – in the next month or two – we will invite other democratic thinkers to review and expand these design factors before weaving them together into a card deck, a website, and a book available to all.

And this is just the start. We expect to engage many people in reworking this material over the years to come so that it becomes a rich co-created resource reflecting the evolving wisdom of all our pro-democracy movements.

A fascinating side-effect of this effort is how it has been clarifying my own thinking. For example, a few days ago I realized ten guidelines for a wise democracy which cover perhaps 75% of the design elements in the set we’re creating. Check it out below. It offers a glimpse of what we think a wise democracy is and how it can function.

We would greatly value your support as we move towards completing this first stage. You can find out more about this project and join our crowdfunding campaign at “Design Tools for a Wiser Democracy”. You can also donate directly on the Co-Intelligence Institute.


PS: Let me know if you’d like to see a more detailed description of the project.




* limit concentrated power and hold it responsible
* include and creatively use diversity and disturbance
* take a broad spectrum of information and perspectives into account
* think systemically and for the long-term
* seek and promote positive possibilities
* enhance true freedom with thoughtful supports and constraints
* partner with people’s life energy and the natural world
* stay humble and curious, and keep learning
* integrate reason with the deep guidance of our hearts, nature, traditions, science, and spirit
* keep listening and sharing, as compassionately and authentically as we can…


Note that each one of the approaches above can be manifested, practiced, and even institutionalized in diverse ways. Exploring the dynamics and possibilities involved in each one offers rich opportunities for fruitful conversation, organizing, and education.

As the great American poet Walt Whitman said:

We have frequently printed the word democracy. Yet I cannot too often repeat that it is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawakened… It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten, because that history has yet to be enacted.

Our particular part of this history was articulated well 80 years ago by philosopher John Dewey:

The foundation of democracy is faith in…human intelligence and in the power of pooled and cooperative experience…to generate progressively the knowledge and wisdom needed to guide collective action… [E]ach individual has something to contribute, whose value can be assessed only as [it] enters into the final pooled intelligence constituted by the contributions of all.

May we together become wiser and more skillful at realizing this wise democratic vision in ever greater realms…

Join our current crowdfunding campaign at
CII’s Design Tools for a Wiser Democracy

Summer 2016 Co-Intelligence Institute Fundraising Campaign note: So far 28 people have supported us with $1385. Join them in supporting our work. Our target is $25,000 – and we have been given a challenge grant: If we can raise $10,000 the Kailo Fund will grant us $10,000 more. As you can see, we can use your support. Please donate now. It will make a big difference and your donation is fully tax-deductible in the U.S.


Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, POB 493, Eugene, OR 97440
Calling forth the wisdom of the whole for the wellbeing of the whole

Please support our work. Your donations are fully tax-deductible.

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