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A "scientific" democratic process?


I am wondering: "Is it possible that a certain exact process for evoking public judgment or wisdom could be as replicable as the process of a scientific experiment - such that the public judgment or wisdom (social truth) so evoked and replicated would have a level of validity comparable to physical truths found through the scientific method?"  (There are numerous candidates for this "exact process."  Which one, or what combination or newly derived form[s] would work, would be subject to trial.)

I ask this, even knowing that there are serious issues with the scientific method (even more serious when it's applied to human affairs). For example, the controlled experiment -- the heart of "Western" science -- is designed to discover understandings that enhance CONTROL (e.g., universal principles useful in creating universal technologies capable of manipulating the world wherever they're applied).  The guiding principle of a controlled experiment is INTELLIGENT EXCLUSION -- the weeding out of all contextual factors but one, so that the experiment deals with a single causal link that can be further tested and then USED -- i.e., by helping people to step into the cause point of that link so they can create predictable effects).  It is this focussed design -- and the high level of coherence in nature -- that allows such experiments to be replicated by others.... or, if such replication fails, to have that failure be meaningful -- i.e., leading to further insights, hypotheses and experiments.

Consider one successful application of the scientific method to human affairs:  Public opinion polling is now considered a science precisely because special sampling and questioning techniques have demonstrated that a properly chosen holographic subset of a population can produce an opinion profile nearly identical to any other such properly chosen holographic subset of that population, such that that profile will be the same as the profile of the entire population, were that population to be subject to that same survey.  Scientific surveyors have discovered how to find a Part that ACTUALLY represents the opinion of the Whole.

Opinion, however, is a very shallow thing.  It is definitely not wisdom and doesn't necessarily reflect real knowledge.  So public opinion polls, no matter how scientific, are not very useful as guides to policy-making.  (Voting, too, is based very much on opinion, and so is much better at constraining concentrated political power than it is at generating wise public policy.)  In the real world, survey results are used, more often than not, to spin what the powerholders are doing so that the public will go along with it, or to get the public to do what the powerholders want -- in other words, for MANIPULATION (a variety of CONTROL, the underlying motivation of Western science). 

But what if we could demonstrate a way to find and engage a holographic subset of a population such that it will generate the same WISE PUBLIC JUDGMENT that any other similar holographic subset of that population would generate if engaged in the same process -- and that that wise public judgment would be the same as what that entire population would come up with, were it given the same chance.

In other words, we could end our arguing about what the public wanted or what was good for it (and trump the manipulative machinations of powerholders) because we would have A DEPENDABLE WAY TO FIND OUT WHAT THE PUBLIC'S BEST COLLECTIVE JUDGMENT WAS.  The key would be REPLICABILITY.  The inquiry into the replicability of public judgment -- if successful -- could transform our political system as thoroughly as science transformed our relationship with the physical world (which was previously governed by religious authorities and philosophical debates, just as our politics is governed by punditry and power struggles, even though it claims to represent the public will).

Some have understandably questioned whether a replicable process in search of replicable results would, in fact, generate wisdom.  Wouldn't replicable agreement only be achievable by limiting the scope of inquiry and the creativity of the participants in some mechanical way that resulted in a stilted, useless collective opinion?  In fact, I suspect that any process that could successfully produce the same public judgment with different groups would have to use the opposite approach from the controlled experiment -- that is, INTELLIGENT INCLUSION.  An example of intelligent inclusion would be the use of a demographically representative group -- i.e., a group that included all the significant diversity represented in a population -- whose differences were subject to the integrating dynamics of deep consensus process.  The results would also be different from the results of a normal scientific experiment:  they would not facilitate CONTROL so much as RIGHT RELATIONSHIP, GENERATIVE EXPLORATION, SUSTAINABLE WELL-BEING, ETC. -- PRECISELY BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE OUR COMMON GROUND AS HUMANS LIES, a common ground that would naturally surface through the consensus process. 

This is a testable hypothesis.  I would like to see the resources brought together to test it as soon as possible.  If it worked, it could prove to be a watershed discovery.

This replicable "scientific" process, if found, would be a very sophisticated version of E PLURIBUS UNUM -- "out of many, one" -- fulfilling the ultimate dream of Enlightenment democracy -- ironically accomplished by transmuting it into the holistic paradigm.

NOTE:  I also realized that "trial" (as in "jury trial") is a synonym for "experiment."  I never realized that a judicial trial is an experiment to establish a social truth (guilt or innocence), designed to be replicable (a process called an appeal).  A jury trial is a primitive prototype of the kind of process we're talking about and, as such, may provide a metaphor to help people envision this new possibility for establishing "meta-democratic" (or holodemocratic, or co-intelligent) public judgment.

Tom Atlee