Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Communication via Palaver tree

The Palaver Tree is an indigenous democratic institution found in sub-Saharan Africa.

Descriptions of the assembly include the following:
  • Ritualistic
  • Democratic
  • Indigenous
  • Free debate
  • Consensus building
  • "Right to Speak
  • A goal of harmony, rather than "truth"
  • Community
  • No urgency
  • All-inclusiveness
  • Systematic treatment

Such institution that promotes freedom for all its members to communicate and debate important issues seems ideal. Voices are not oppressed, community is strengthened through a ritual in which creates a common bond, and, most interestingly, harmony is valued.

In the United States, we strive to promote a certain "truth" to every dilemma - but is this truth always the best answer? I think that by striving to reach harmony, groups in which hold a debate may strengthen their relationships with one another. Sometimes there is a right & wrong answer; other times, compromise and peace should be the answer. By pushing ourselves to reach harmony, we fully invest in the final outcome.

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