Re: Consensus decision making
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2008 07:13:55 -0700 (PDT)

On Aug 11, 2008, at 10:35 PM, John Faust wrote:

The reason for suggesting blocks/objections be grounded in the
vision/mission/principles of the community is because these represent the basic agreements on what the community aspires to (vision/mission) and how
it should go about it (principles).

A nicely worded presentation of the importance of group agreements. One way to phrase the above sentence would be to say that _consent_ must be grounded in the vision/mission/principles of the community. We talk a lot about what objections must be based on but very little about what consent must be based on.

There was a message that flew by yesterday that I lost about a book on consensus methods that showed that there were many definitions of consensus and thus one person's view was just one person's view.

What I'm attempting to do is not present "one person's view" but to question the concept of consensus. What is it? Why do we use it? Why is it so sacred in cohousing?

We spend an enormous amount of time discussing "blocks" as if they were important but almost none discussing consensus itself, as if we all knew what it was and why we use it.

I'm questioning the romantic notions of consensus that end in frustration and confusion and exclusion. What fundamentally is consensus decision-making? What result is it intended to accomplish?

Sharon Villines
Coauthor with John Buck of We the People
Consenting to a Deeper Democracy
A Guide to Sociocratic Principles and Methods
ISBN: 9780979282706

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