Years ago I watched the documentary ‘I Am’, by Tom Shadyac, wherein some amazing minds of the last few generations are interviewed to answer the question “What’s wrong with the world? (and how can we fix it)?”. Then not long before this article was concluded, there was an election. I needed to ask, should I vote?
One of the most memorable scenes from this film for me, was relating to the concept of democracy in nature. The example was of the herd of deer, grazing, and the events that triggered the herds change of activity from grazing, to proceeding to the water hole. Scientifically documented over and over was the fact that the herd did not change activity until exactly 51% of the herd agreed.
The choice to move the entire herd wasn’t a trivial one, go to soon and possibly not all the herd would finish grazing and acquiring nutrients from the field. Too late and other factors affect the well-being of the herd.
I’ve heard it said that one perspective on democracy is that the 51% of the population gets to bully the other 49%. In our situation I would tend to agree with that perspective. We have put rules in place to enforce that the majority rules. But as I have mentioned earlier, what if the majority is for the most part, pretty dumb? I mean look at our planet right now. We have a majority rules type of system that is basically riddled with corruption from invisible and unaccountable and in many cases, pretty diabolical actors. Based on that knowledge it is easy to adopt the perspective that our current for of democracy is actually a watered down kind of tyranny.
So then this begs the question, just what is consensus? What is consent? What is consent of the governed?
The peaceful deer helped me see exactly what the answer to that question is.
The indigenous peoples have a saying, also referenced in Ubuntu ideology, “If it isn’t good for everyone, it isn’t good for anyone.” It took me some time before I understood the underlying truth of that statement. It is not simply a matter of everyone agreeing, or everyone’s opinions being heard. It is more than stroking the ego of all members such that everyone has a chance to feel like they are right about something. It is deeper than that. The meaning of that statement derives from the simple truth that we are all one, and in respect of that truth, all decisions are simply self-evident, and the choice of action is simply a reflection of our understanding of our shared existence in this form.
In other words, if we really know ourselves, governance is irrelevant, because our awareness of how we collectively exist in this form is self-evident. So therefore consent is really just the obviousness of the truth. Why a herd of deer will all become aware of the truth of their shared circumstance in a single moment and then act in a self-evident manner.
There is no consent. There is only the truthful, undisguised and authentic awareness of our shared consciousness.
As we grow as a society, it will be because individual members awaken to this fundamental realization, until a tipping point is reached and the mass will also awaken. So while the egos of the world seek to convince each other of what is best for the collective, to the point of even forcing agreement when 51% of the egos have agreed (in the present moment), some of us other egos simply go inward and work on ourselves and our own spiritual growth.
Eventually we will reach a point where our understanding of who and what we are, allows us the reality that governance is pretty much irrelevant. The 51% of the deer was simply like the realization that this is what we are doing presently, as a matter of communication, but not really consent. Consent was inherent, this was just a matter of the message getting out to the group.
Much love, and many thanks for reading.