It’s time for a New Reality, and here’s why…
We need a new reality — because the reality we’re living in now has some serious shortcomings. You and I might disagree on details, but throughout the world there is widespread mistrust of our institutions and leaders. Most of us feel that powerful elites control decision-making and that we have little real say in much of anything.
When I launched BANR in 2016, I wanted to share a range of hopeful possibilities for improving modern society — possibilities that are consistent with my previous efforts to advance an emerging social science called “restorative practices.”
BANR offers web pages, blogposts, books, films and events that highlight promising developments capable of bringing “democracy to everyday life.” We advocate for people to have more voice, more choice and more shared responsibility.
We envision a “revolution by conversation.” While adversarial conversations have become the norm these days — our Second Saturdays and other events provide a friendly and respectful setting for civil discourse.
We aspire to become a global learning community. Folks have been turning up at these events, not just from the U.S. but from Canada and Europe. We plan to make these events convenient to people in other time zones and in other languages; we will grow into that. Tickets for events are $10, with all proceeds going to BANR Foundation’s nonprofit projects.
Something else has been happening recently: Attendees have been asking how they can take action.
So where will it go from here? I feel like I’m in Bob Dylan’s song. “Oh my God, am I here all alone? But something is happening and you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?”
But I’m not here alone. You’re here too, probably also wondering how we can make a difference in a world that seems like it’s headed in the wrong direction.
Won’t you come along to an event and join the conversation?
Thanks, Ted Wachtel
The late Buckminster Fuller, one of the 20th century’s great innovators, said:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
All of my ideas and blog posts about a new reality rest on the unifying foundation of restorative practices (RP), a new social science that studies “participatory learning and decision-making.”
It is the focus of the IIRP (International Institute for Restorative Practices), the accredited master’s degree-granting graduate school that I founded in 2000 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
RP hypothesizes that “people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.”
This premise constitutes the main thread of a “theory of everyone.” A growing body of evidence supports the theory, and shows that “participatory learning and decision-making” work better than “top-down hierarchical decision-making,” in most situations. The benefit of RP in every setting of society—from family to school to workplace to government—is to offer individuals more voice and more choice, in exchange for taking more shared responsibility.
It’s not essential that we all agree with each other on everything. But it is essential that each of us feel included in the conversation.
– Ted Wachtel, Founder