The state of democracy

This post only expresses the opinion of the author
When you think of graphite and diamond you are talking about one and the same thing: A solid in which the same carbon atoms bound in a certain geometry or structure which is sustained by certain forces, and which required certain energy to be put in place.  
When you think of a dictatorship and democracy you are talking about one and the same thing: a society in which the same humans relate to each other according to a certain structure, which is sustained by certain forces, and which require certain energy to be put in place.
If we carry this model forward we would observe that in order to create diamond, a very stable state, we need to invest a lot of energy. That means reaching stability may be very costly. When crystals grow they do not only need a physical model, a seed crystal, which shows the way forward to other atoms. They aldo need a certain amount of energy for each atom to be incorporated to the grid. Similarly, a seed democracy may show the way for other individuals to organize themselves, but exporting a living democracy from a samll group to a whole society is going to require a certain energy to overcome social inertia.
I am inclined to think that true democracy is the most desirable state of human society. I am tempted to say that it would be the most stable as well. May be it is not. What is absolutely certain is that facing the problem of democracy today we need to deal with two different issues: structure and energy.
  • Structure refers to the design of democratic mechanisms: communication, debating and voting schemes and tools.          
  • The energy of a state of democracy refers to the actual effort made by citizens to         take part on the system. The total energy is roughly dependent on the number of people taking part.
Designing the tools requires a huge amount of thought, energy and effort, but we may consider that the total amount of human power invested would be small compared with the total energy of the system. Five people making perfectly democratic decisions have no strength, five million do, but in order for those five million to feel bound by the democratic deal, by the new social contract, a significant part of them must be involved, in one way or another in the decision making process. A significant number of people must be active in the exercise of democracy in order to keep it alive.
Everyone must feel part of the network, every atom must be able to feel its own significance in the crystal, every person needs to know that her or his opinion matters. Else we are just talking of isolated individual, carbon atoms in a gas container, colliding with each other in a random way. The state of democracy disappears.
What does this mean for us the fighters of democracy? It means we have to work in two directions. The structure of a truly democratic system must be laid out and the number of people taking part in the fight must be increased. Recruiting members for the democratic experiment is essential for two reasons:
  • Even if we were perfectly democratic in our internal proceedings this would  not         change at all the system in which we have to live, the outside world.
  • The tools for large scale democracy cannot be put to a real test unless they are         used by millions of people simultaneously.
However, none of the goals can prevail over the other. If in the search of a perfect structure we do not expand its range of influence, we will have a perfectly useless democracy. If in the struggle to expand the reach of democracy we introduce faults or cracks in the seed crystal, these will be amplified as the system grows. However, the good news is that once a state of democratic is stablished, a more democratic one can substitute it and this will certainly happen with less effort, but for this to happen there must always be a group of idealists asking to revise and improve the system, turn graphite into diamond. Today, DiD is one of those groups.
Salud, paz y democracia.

2 thoughts on “The state of democracy

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