sábado, 9 de enero de 2010
If the meaning of democracy does not consist in the majority rule, but in the sovereignty of people, the first problem to be considered is how people can find the place for free discussion.
On this point, the MIYAMOTO's contribution is great: He uncovered the forgotten forms of consensus in the traditional human relationship. MIYAMOTO clearly announced what is the "forgotten". The "forgotten" refers to what has been neglected in the process of Westernization or under the name of "progress". »The illusion that all the progress is in itself good leads us to misunderstand what is degenerating as progress, and to annihilate not only human being but also all kinds of living beings.«
In one chapter of his book The Forgotten Japanese, he describes how people discuss and come to the consensus in village meetings. When a problem is raised and becomes a matter of controversy, what is considered most important is to discuss the matter long enough that all members feel that they have expressed their opinions fully. Consequently, it was not out of the ordinary for it to take several days to come to a consensus about one problem. Not the discussion in search of the truth, but the conversation for mutual communication is the main concern. Therefore the "chat" (zatsudan) itself is more important.
To sum up, there are at least four important features of this kind of democracy in the traditional Japanese meeting. First, mutual communication is the most important objective for the meeting. A political decision can be made only after the members have had enough mutual exchange of opinions without deciding which opinion is the best. Second, it is especially important that the members can talk about anything that they found to be related to the theme. Much attention is paid to the contributions of the members who speak based on their own experiences. This makes it possible that all the opinions can be respected as the unique expression of one's life experience.
Third, it is absolutely necessary to guarantee enough time for deliberate consideration to reach the final decision. This is necessary to avoid useless conflicts among the members who are present in the same meeting. It is natural that no one wants his opinion to be neglected or refuted in the meeting. So the best way to reach the agreement is that everyone's opinion should be respected as unique, as it is rooted in one's own experience. And it is true that each one's opinion has something unique when it is spoken from one's experience.
Fourth, therefore the decision-making and the deeper mutual communication are closely related with one another. Even if one opinion is adopted as the decision of the meeting, other opinions should not be denied or negated but carefully discussed and considered. The meeting is the place where each member can elaborate his opinion by listening to others and taking their views into consideration. By paying attention to others, one can improve one's opinion until all the members can accept the decision. The key to the decision is that all the members' opinions should be duly respected and not so instantly excluded or by-passed. When the members' opinions are made light of, they feel as if their existence itself were not accepted.
Chat and Consensus in the Japanese Traditional Meeting