Re: Exploring blocks
From: Tree Bressen (
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 12:21:33 -0800 (PST)

Dameron wrote:
I've heard there is often a requirement in consensus processes that blocks must be considered valid, ie the group must decide that the concern is truly in the groups interest, and not a personal issue. Is this something you're familiar with?

Consensus decision-making has certain requirements in order to work, and one of the most important is that blocks only happen in the interest of the group. That's part of why consensus decision-making is not the same as voting with a 100% threshold. In an individualistic culture people are prone to neglect this, which is why it's important to emphasize the difference when learning what consensus decision-making is and how to do it effectively.

Blocking can be seen as giving individuals enormous personal power, and the only way that can work in a group setting is if it goes along with even more enormous responsibility. This is part of what i love about consensus decision-making: it draws us into acting from our "higher" selves. We are called to listen, to care, to have our ideas transformed, to be moved from our hearts, to search and search for understanding, to truly ask ourselves what the group needs for wholeness.

On a practical level, different groups have different standards and methods for discerning whether a concern constitutes a valid block to a proposal. This subject is addressed in an article on my website called "The Special Place of Blocking in Consensus," posted at:




Tree Bressen
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