Democracy as the Means to Discover the New Narratives for Sustainable Futures

Democracy is in the business of continually creating a new narrative … oral, textual, and graphic … that can move through and transform communities. While some voices within the Club of Rome have railed against the shortfalls of distorted democracy (and we can see their points), there are few alternative governance approaches which we feel can carry our faith through the changing cycles of national leadership.

A compassionate self-criticism of the Club of Rome’s reliance on the voice of its technological experts is well stated on the Club of Rome blog by Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, a secular, non-governmental body founded in 1995 by HRH Prince Philip.

The largest sector of civil society is the religions of the world. And they do not deal in the world of data and economics that have dominated and to a great degree destroyed the potential that the Club of Rome report unleashed 40 years ago. They, like the rest of humanity, know that we are a story telling species. When you introduce yourself to someone new, you don’t tend to tell them the data of your life – how much you weighed when you were born, not even usually the date you were born; nor how tall you are or what size shoes you wear. You tell your stories.” … “The challenge therefore is to assist in the creation of new stories which together can shape the new narrative from which can arise the new values as well as preserve the best of the old.”

What many do not realize is that the quest to bring the voice of the people into the vision of the Club of Rome was one of the Club’s founding principles – however, for want of a technology of inclusive participation in crafting new narratives, the visionary intent was abandoned at the outset in favor of a focus on the voice of technical experts. At that time, the Club’s champions for the voice of the people detached themselves from the quest of the Club and took up the mission to cultivate sociotechnology — a means for understanding situations together which we call Demosophia — to extract new narratives from the wisdom of the people.

As the notion of inclusion rises within the Club of Rome, sociotechnology may now be rejoining physical technology as a means for understanding and interacting within our world.