In the original version of the conNECKtedTOO mission statement, there is a
sentence which raises questions:
“For us collaboration means shared ownership and autonomy not consensus.”
This is my reply, an opportunity to open a dialogue.
The issue is the relationship of shared ownership with autonomy, as compared to consensus.
Here, autonomy is a state of individual being, which gets its meaning(s) from others. It is not an abstraction. It needs and defines a relationship in which the respect of one for the other(s) is reciprocal. Reciprocity is what seals shared ownership. In this micro-climate of trust, an open-mindedness takes roots, which cannot exist in a situation of control or of domination. In that, autonomy is a component of active freedom. It implies equality as a living experience, open-ended social involvement, interaction, attention. It makes up the inclusive, relational part of everyone’s identity, yet celebrating the inner silence which guarantees personal sanity.
Politically, autonomy implies active responsibility, personal and social. Ultimately, it defines the relationship of the state with its citizens, it is dialogic. This may help us to understand that today, 2020, Corona Virus time, what democracies need is less representation than participation and accountability for all. One man, one vote, one voice is the expression of citizens’ autonomy.
Consensus-building is a process of public deliberation, not necessarily reciprocal or among equals. Consensus is its end product, what is left of a give-and-take.
A balancing act taking place on constantly shifting grounds. A transaction of apples for oranges. Often, the actors of a consensus conclude: ‘No one got everything they wanted, but everyone got a little something.’ A compromise for the sake of workability. This is where transparency can only be a substitute for integrity.
As far as the mission statement of cTOO is concerned, and the need for clarification, it is a fact that autonomy is not an alternative to consensus. Yet, in the field of social dialogue, they meet constantly, although, as seeking autonomy is a process of participation, consensus-building is one of delegation.
That is why I propose that, in the cTOO Mission Statement, we change “ For us collaboration means shared ownership and autonomy, not consensus” to:
“For us collaboration means reciprocity, shared ownership and autonomy.”