Re: Creative Consensus Solutions
From: Frances Freewater (
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 10:31:32 -0800 (PST)


On Feb 13, 2011, at 12:28 PM, Wayne Tyson wrote:

Hi y'all:

By definition, you must look outside of consensus for a creative "solution" that did not "exist" prior to the consensus process (e.g., manipulation through (friendly) persuasion or intimidation or authority. More than that, you must be dedicated to a continuous process of questioning of all assumptions.

Many people do not like this, and will object, because they seek power, and this process frustrates the concentration of power--it is more "powerful" than authority because it is flexible, resilient, adaptive. It embraces change rather than resists it. That's why peaceful resistance disarms the armed.

The root of this cultural phenomenon is egocentrism, a characteristic which once was recognized for its corrosive effect upon social cohesion and was isolated or modulated by social mores. It may have peaked in the recent "me" generation although evidence of its persistence is glaringly present in media, and it is increasingly "uncool" amongst the twenty- and thirty-somethings whom I know.

Consensus may certainly be a useful, even necessary or vital bridge upon which to transition to an Age of Reconciliation from the Age of Exploitation, so it is natural and encouraging to see a question of this level of intellectual integration arise. To "answer" it requires a confession of ignorance; I hereby confess.

One possible way of keeping the door open for creative solutions might be to "require" that all consensus statements include all alternative points, ideas, analyses, etc. That could be a fairly simple starting point, especially when looking back after a period of consensus-statement testing in action.

But the most important mental state of all might be something like "The suspension of judgment is the highest exercise in intellectual discipline." --Raymond Gilmore


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ann Zabaldo" <ZABALDO [at] EARTHLINK.NET>
To: "Cohousing-L Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2011 8:20 AM
Subject: [C-L]_ Creative Consensus Solutions

Hi all --

Can you recount an issue/situation that any group you belong to used consensus to achieve a creative solution to what looked like a deadlocked black or white choice? That is, by staying in the consensus process you were able to achieve a solution that did not exist prior?

I'm looking for examples of using consensus that resulted in the surfacing of a creative third or fourth choice.

Many thanks!

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church VA
703 663 3911

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