Deep Democracy is a concept, a model and a method to facilitate decisions making and so can be use in conflicts resolution.

The concept[edit | edit source]

There is wisdom in the minority and by keeping everybody on board we facilitate the implementation of our decision.

We are field of energy, our opinions, actions,... are roles that we can share. The role is bigger than the person (many person expressing one role) and the person is bigger than the role (many role "play" by one person).

Each of us in his/her Iceberg (see model) is all. We are just not conscious of it. By lowering our water line we tap into more wisdom.

Deep democracy is about gathering the diversity, adding the wisdom of the minority to the decision of the majority and so concluding with a full agreement. (see method)

The model[edit | edit source]

Using the Iceberg concept of Freud, a person's actions/decisions are lead by a small part of conscious (above water line) and lot of unconsciousness (below water line).

It is the same for a group, with some unawareness at the water line. Cause some information might be known by some of the participants. But not in the formal group consciousness.

When a group can not reach a rational decision it is link to emotional issues which are under the water line. Going into argumentation or emptying our quiver lead to some learnings (grain of truth) which will help to have more consciousness and so take a better decision, reach an agreement.

If the emotional issues are not addressed, if the minority is not heard. Some fishes (unconscious group issues/taboo subjects...) might develop and disturb the decision process.

A non-heard minority also will develop terrorist actions (sabotage) from some small jokes to the war or withdraw. Different steps exist between like gossips and strikes for instance.

The method[edit | edit source]

'I will here develop the four first steps, for rational decision. Some training are required to facilitate the further steps to go into argument or conflict.'

'For instance Mary, Judith, John, Harry and Peter'

Step one[edit | edit source]

  • Voice the different options/propositions

It is about hearing what is possible, not making a vote or commenting but mainly about voicing what is in the room. For instance, what do you want to do this afternoon.

  • Judith: We could go for swimming
  • Peter: We could stay at home and watch films
  • Harry: We could go for a bike trip

Step two[edit | edit source]

  • Make it safe to say "No"

It is actually about the non-conventional/expected propositions. The might be some minority who did feel safe enough, so encouraging it the speak is an important second step. For instance

  • Peter: I have some homework and I won't join the group
  • Mary: I am really tired and wish to rest
  • John: I have a good book that I would like to read

Step three[edit | edit source]

  • Spread the "No" (and the role in general)

It is important to not let a minority stuck with its proposition. Recognizing some wisdom in it and sharing part of the feeling help to get some fluidity. It is considered like one of the most important step to prevent that people to become over defensive and unable to recognize the own part in the other's opinion/stand. For instance

  • Who else need to have time to work for school or something else? Mary: I also have some work but I though about doing it tonight...
  • Who else feel also a bit tired? Peter: Watching films is relaxing, I don't have lot of energy.
  • Maybe we don't have to do something all together... Who feel a little bit like that? Judith: I want to enjoy the sun but I could lay in the garden.

Step four[edit | edit source]

  • Take a vote (with hands) and include the minority wisdom, vote until full agreement. (What do you need to come along)

Step one and two have brought propositions. It is time to see where the majority stand. One person, one vote... Which proposition do you support. If a majority is reach, that will be the decision... Let's so focus on the minority, get it on board by adding its wisdom. Conclude the process with a final vote that should please everybody. For instance So the different propositions are:

  • Going to swim/to bike/to watch films and relax/to do some homework

Judith votes for swimming Harry votes for biking Mary and John for films and relaxing Peter for the homework

There is a small majority for films and relaxing... Let's see what need the others to come along...

  • Judith, I am sorry you lost your vote... What do you need to spend the a relax afternoon with films? I am fine, I will take a sun bath in the garden.
  • Harry, I am sorry you lost your vote... What do you need to spend the a relax afternoon with films? I was wishing to do some sport but maybe some action films will make it.
  • Peter, I am sorry you lost your vote... What do you need to spend the a relax afternoon with films? Like I said I will do on my homework.

So the adapted proposition become...

Spend a relax afternoon, watching action films, Peter and Judith will be on their own.

A vote is made, Judith and Harry seem to hesitate...

  • Judith, I am sorry you lost your vote... What do you need to spend the a relax afternoon with films? I don't want be on my own... Maybe we can bring the television outside.
  • Harry, I am sorry you lost your vote... What do you need to spend the a relax afternoon with films? I actually propose to bike to the shop to get some ice-cream and pop-corn before watching the films.

The new proposition is...

Spend a relax afternoon, watching action films, Peter will be on his own. Before starting we will bring the television outside and some of us will bike to get some food.

Everybody agreed.

External link[edit | edit source]

Official Website

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Authors Olivier C
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 2 pages link here
Impact 393 page views
Created February 19, 2009 by Olivier C
Modified February 8, 2023 by Felipe Schenone
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