Re: COVID divisions
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 2021 13:22:40 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 16, 2021, at 8:40 AM, Alan O'Hashi via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
>> wrote:

> When you find yourself lapsing back into the American Way, take a step back. 
> In a consensus community, the question is, What is the x-thinkers willing to 
> give up to bring the y-thinkers into the whole? This doesn't mean that the 
> y-thinkers can block a decision based on individual discomfort or 
> self-serving perspectives. The y-thinkers must frame their objections in 
> terms of how their view is a community issue.

I haven’t repeated this thought in awhile so I will take this opportunity. Like 
Liz, I agree that the best decision is the one that allows everyone to behave 
in a way that is both acceptable to themselves and to the rest of the 
community. That acceptance is the secret sauce.

But the limitation is that a community is made up of individuals. The energy 
comes from individual people. They might all be energized by others in the 
group but the group is not an entity apart from its individual members.

To emphasize that is why sociocracy is insistent on the use of the word 
“consent”. Consent is given individually by each person. Not by the whole group 
saying “amen."

One reason the use of the word “consensus” can lead down the garden path is 
that “consensus” has been used in groups that did have an entity apart from the 
group — usually a religious teaching, a set of commandments, for example. Or a 
charismatic leader. Or a commitment to a creed like ecological living that may 
be defined by the group or an outside source. A purpose the community is 
committed to and was formed to help members achieve.

In some situations where people are for the first time trying to bond with 
people outside their own families or religions or villages,  the act of 
supporting the existence of the group itself is important and people struggle 
with what that means. 

The caution is that one shouldn’t put aside their own interests or reasoning 
just because they are in the minority — even a minority of one. A group is 
strong because all the members of the group are strong and working together. 
There has to be a way to work out a solution that is satisficing, is sufficient 
to address the purpose and satisfying to all members.  "Sufficiently 

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
Save Our Planet. It's the only one with chocolate.

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