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 our leaders. Most of us feel that powerful elites control decision-making in government, and that we have little real say in much of anything.
I worry about my children’s and grandchildren’s future. I don’t like the direction the world is heading. I trust there are many who share my concerns.
The human race has acquired awesome powers. Through our technology, we can create and destroy as never before. It seems that our technological skills have outpaced our social skills. We’ve become a threat to ourselves and to other living things. We struggle to make good decisions, or get along with one another without conflict and violence. Wherever we look, we see corruption and what seems to be a spiral of increasingly crazy behavior. Sometimes we just wonder, “Who is in charge here? Where are all the grownups?”
But my purpose is not to complain. Rather, my colleagues and I would like to inform readers about promising alternatives to the current reality, and to promote their thoughtful use and evaluation. To accomplish that, we will pursue experiments, prototypes, working models and demonstration programs.
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