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Synthesis

From pangaia

Revision as of 07:15, 25 September 2010 by Average (Talk | contribs)
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Synthesis is a unifying concept for resolving seemingly opposing views by finding their common truths and forming a more encompassing proposition that is better than either side alone. It stands in contrast to compromise or edict. It is one of the basic principles Government2.0 and its preferred mechanism for building consensus and resolving disputes. It is often depicted as a triangle with thesis and anti-thesis opposed on its base and synthesis at its apex.

The process is thus: for any given view (or thesis) which is not unanimous, let an opponent present the counter-argument (the antithesis). As the two sides vigorously debate, and the internals of the arguments are exposed, seek the grounding, axiomatic belief that both hold in common which satisfies the core knowledge and essential feelings that each wish respected and consider part of their necessary truth. From this newly-revealed "ground", build back up the higher-level information, restructuring the relationships until you again arrive back to the starting point. This is the synthesis, and, it could be argued, the basis of wisdom.

The above use of the word "feelings", by the way, is not gratuitous. Being human (and not simply intellectuals), a difficult disagreement between parties is often the result of one or both parties not completely revealing their desire or intentions, either because they are uncomfortable with it themselves or because they have an incorrect conception of the other (which they may be loathe to admit). While it may seem contrary to an imagined ideal of a philosophical dialectic, in practice to arrive at a synthesis, it is almost always necessary for one party or the other to take a personal risk and reveal something previously uncomfortable and concealed in order to find the common ground. As such, an environment where each individual is treated with respect is a prerequisite for resolution.

The primary concern of a community should be to make the best possible decisions for the entire community. No party should be vested in a particular solution disregarding all others. Since, a basic principle of Government2.0 is the only decisions that will be made into law are those with the consensual support of the community (or at least with no significant dissent), conflict is ineffective so long as either party is unwilling to consider that their view may be incomplete. In such an environment, no possibility of resolution can occur. In such case, it is better to postpone the creation of a new law to force the argument (and the need for resolution) deeper rather than create an incomplete law which can never be harmonious. In other words, don't settle for mediocre compromises or edicts which tend to dull the human spirit into complacency.

This Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis, synthesis is vital to the development of viable, sustainable laws and healthy society by driving individuals toward deeper self-reflection and consensus. It is one of humanity's most powerful tools as well as one of its most profound achievements. With respect to this question of reason and social evolution, one may ask: Is there a final, ultimate synthesis?

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