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Designing the Ideal Collectively, Resolving Conflicts:
Gedankenexperiment.

(A rough draft--frequently updated.)

Let us imagine that there is a conflict among, at least, two peoples anywhere in the world.

Many peoples are in an open conflict that might have been raging on for generations now; Some peoples experience a period of a quiet now and then, but not a real peace--a dispute of any sort might emerge at any time.

The methods that are normally used in trying to bring a lasting peace among such peoples are seldom fully successful, mostly due to the unsatisfactory nature of the usual dispute solving methods that usually fail to bring all people involved in disputes into the reconciliation process. This non-representation of portions of peoples in the process gives a rise to many future problems, frequently starting conflicts anew.

What is being proposed in this article is that before any "solutions" to existing problems are attempted to be found, a composite picture, a composite model of what the ideal situation for peoples under consideration ought to be is created by using input of all the people from all sides of the conflict under consideration.

I feel that the principle of knowing clearly what the ideal should be before the ideal is striven for is important. It is something that is normally absent from all attempts to solve conflicts.
For an example: achieving living sustainably seems to be very popular these days, but most people have only a very vague idea what living sustainably should entail, and if there are any people who do have a definite idea of what "living sustainably" should be, most of their individual ideas might be quite different from each other, and the reconciliation of those ideas would happen (if ever) in real time/space with a great waste of time/resources/lives (more likely than not), instead of in a model without any waste of time, resources, and lives.

•The process of creating of the composite model, of the composite unified portrayal of what the ideal situation to be striven for in any conflict ought to be:

How the model would be created would very much depend on what ways of creating the model would be judged to be most expedient in the actual conditions.

Let's imagine:
If only a small number of people are involved in a conflict, then a bulletin board (in whatever form--electronic, or a physical bulletin board, perhaps), or round-table style meetings would be sufficient, as long as the process would be accessible to all concerned, and all data pertinet to the process would be accessible to all.
If one should start with creating a model with just a handful of people, no high technology would be needed at all. All involved would know what all others would want, all would have to know where all resources would be located, how those resources would be shared, etc., and all would have access to any information/knowledge that they would need for taking a part in the modeling process at any point of the process.
They would also know that should any wishes of anyone present in the process be ignored, this would create more problems in the future--the effort to accommodate the needs and wishes would prevent any possible future grounds for conflicts to emerge anew.

Let's imagine extending the concept:
Once we would be comfortable with modeling on a mini-scale, we could start progressively adding more people, and when the situation would become a bit harder to hold in a perspective, we could start using whatever our technology could offer; there are already whole worlds that are fully simulated (references--simulated worlds): to simulate a desired situation that would picture the real world should not be that difficult.

What could also work would be to start making public models of what the ideal state of the world should be and let those be bases of an ongoing discussion--all those models being a subject to an ongoing improvement.
As long as each participant would be able to "see" their own position in the model in relation to their own neighbors and be able to zoom in and out to the whole picture that would show the whole conflict in question with all facts pertinent to the conflict, andas long as they would have access to all relevant data, knowledge, and learning possibilities, that would be all necessary for the start.

"Hooking up" all participants of the conflict and anybody else interested in modeling of what the ideal state of affairs for all involved ought to be would not require any great outlay and effort; "Distributed computing" (please see references) and similar technologies would not need any extra physical space--already existing personal computers could be used for the purpose and there is a plethora of open source software that could be adapted to the task.

•What criteria would decide what ideas are better than others?:

For an idea to be included in the model, the idea would have to be formed on the basis of all knowledge relevant to the conflict in question, and then approved of by all concerned. This might seem difficult to do (one could imagine protracted deliberations, etc), but the alternative would be a real time/space conflict resolution with all the inconvenience that we are all all too familiar with. Besides--any such deliberations and discussions would educate all involved on everything that would be important to know for everyone about the region and its peoples. I am confident that the modeling process would become more efficient with use.

I feel that it would not matter at the start if not all people would take part in designing of the model of what their ideal world should look like initially (but everybody would have the possibility to do so at any point); I am confident that its usefulness would become apparent with time.

Once such a composite model is brought to a rough completion (it could really never be finished--an ideal has always a room for an improvement), then it would be time to really look at what there in the conflict under consideration is going on and starting from there the ways of achieving the ideal would start becoming apparent.

It would not greatly matter in what form(s) the model would exist, as long as it could be clearly seen by any participant who would take part in designing of it where all the components of the model are situated--from the general over-view to the as minute as possible details; From the all inclusive whole to a level at which each individual participant could see their own position in the developing ideal.

There would be the possibility of many models existing at the same time, all in different stages of organic development on the road to true social sustainability (the most desired resolution of any conflict is ideally a perpetual harmony among all in any situation, which, in fact, is a true social sustainability), but till those are convincing enough to all involved, the model that is approved by all would be the one to strive for, for the time being, for all concerned.

It has to be stressed that it would be only ideas that would "compete" in the creation of the model--an idea would "win" an inclusion in the model based on its being more realistic and more understandable than other ideas; its inclusion would also depend on how well it would accommodate all people involved in the conflict under question--foe and friend alike. Personalities would never have to come into the creation of the model at all--in fact, anonymity would only increase the effectiveness of the designing process.
In effect people would be "voting" for the ideas to be included in the model either by approving of the ideas in the model, or by submitting ideas that would clearly improve the model.

The objective of collectively (with the participation of virtually all individuals of all sides of the conflict under consideration) designing the ideal state of the region would be to present a model that would be acceptable by all of those involved. If there would be anyone of those involved who would be dissatisfied with it, the modeling would have to continue till the ideal would be reached in the model. It would pay for each participant to educate themselves on all that has to be known about the whole problem so that the ideas meant to construct a to all acceptable model have enough weight.

As far as the author knows, the way of settling disputes among peoples and governing as suggested above, is different from the various forms of "participatory government" (and such simmilar) by not trying to improve on the current situation directly, but by first trying to cooperatively establish clearly what the ideal state of affairs in any situation should be. Once there is a recognizable picture of what things should be like--approved by all concerned--then the ways of getting from the current situation to the ideal would become obvious.
This this way of settling disputes among peoples and governing is superior to other ways of "participatory government" by not trying to "improve" on things which is a process that doesn't ever end satisfactorily, problems never cease, but by trying to reach a by all involved approved ideal of what things should be--looking forwards towards the ideal, rather than looking back at problems, trying to solve them, and not really seeing what the general direction of the social evolution is.

Looking forward towards an ideal that is well familiar to all (since all had a hand in its creation), while making a visible and measurable progress (with an clearly discernible ideal to measure the rate of progress against) is not like running away from problems that increase with time--the current way of trying to improve on things.
It is easier to achieve something that we know what it is, but trying to improve on things so that they are better, without clearly knowing what the "better" actually should be, is incomparably more difficult.

The way of designing an ideal future for any social entity of any size differs profoundly from what the usual way of regulating the society.
Most attempts to improve on things in real time/space is motivated by consequences of past imperfect actions.

Real, lasting improvements come from being motivated by an ideal of what "things" should be, an ideal that is being improved upon by all those involved.

Ironically, today's technology (itself a product of humanity's military urge, for the most part) could help humanity to the point where this technology would not be needed ultimately, as the collective design would be progressively becoming more transparent following the the principle of parsimony--more effective, more elegant systems are the simpler ones; this would also lead to a more ecologically and socially sustainable design (this is author's conviction).

References
(showing what technology is already available):

Search term "simulated worlds:


Search terms "social science", modeling:


Search term "distributed computing":


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