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HARMONIC GOVERNANCE - CIRCLES OF HOPE

Blueprint for a New World Age

Consent, Consensus & Reasoned Paramount Objections

Making decisions by Consent.

"Consent" rather than "consensus" is the basis of COG’s decision-making. The difference is simple but profound. Consensus looks for agreement, while consent looks for disagreement and uses the reasons for objection to come up with an amended proposal that is within everyone's limits.

Consent is an efficient and effective decision-making method because it builds trust and understanding. The process educates the participants about the needs of the other members in doing their work effectively as well as their psychological and social needs as human beings. In addition to reducing friction, the well-defined, information-based, and highly disciplined process helps the group stay focused and move swiftly through examining an issue and actual decision-making.

The “consent” principle is different from "consensus" and "veto." With consensus the participants must be "for" the decision. With consent decision-making they must be not against it. With consensus a veto blocks the decision without an argument. With consent decision-making, opposition must always be supported with a reasoned argument.

Reasoned Paramount Objections

Reasoned, paramount objections are vital to the functioning of the whole system. If one part of any system doesn't express its objections as soon as it experiences discomfort, the entire system is compromised and could suddenly and irreparably collapse.

Gerard Endenburg put two critically important conditions on objections. Firstly, the objections had to be paramount, meaning they had to be serious enough to prevent the person from supporting the aims of the group. And secondly, they had to be reasoned. The person had to express their objections sufficiently clearly that the rest of the group could understand and resolve them.

If a decision would interfere with a person's ability to be enthusiastic and energetic in working toward the aims of the group, that person has an obligation to object.

Objections are made in the context of the aim statement.
Can I help the group achieve this aim if this decision is made?
Will this decision interfere with my work?
Will it help me do my work?
Will it allow me to thrive as a member of this group?

When you amend a proposal based on everyone's input, you can come up with something that no one has an objection to. The members of the circle decide if an objection fits the ‘sufficiently reasoned’ criteria or not. Usually the matter can be cleared up by the facilitator asking how the objector would amend the proposal.

Every decision doesn't require consent, but consent must exist concerning an agreement to make decisions regularly through another method. Thus, many decisions are not made by consent. Rather, with consent, persons or groups are given the authority to make independent decisions.