• Shelley Ostroff

Israel democracy 2015: Healing the system


There is widespread awareness in Israel and the world that the democratic system has failed us. Rather than offering freedom, equality and justice it has entrenched some of the most dangerous forms of inequality and exploitation the world has yet seen. The sophisticated manipulation of the democratic system has become the very tool with which 1% of the population has appropriated earth's resources and enslaved humans, animals and the land. The bureaucratic monster we have co-created is choking the very life force of people and planet and generating immense suffering and destruction.

People across the world are coming out in massive protests against democratic governments worldwide, but no viable alternatives have yet been offered.

Changing the democratic system cannot be merely about tweaking the rules or changing the leader. Lawmakers and technocrats in positions of power have neither the vision, knowledge or will to uproot the entire system and replace it with another.

As Einstein said, the solution cannot emerge from the same paradigm that created the problem.

Changing the system requires radical surgery and detoxification of the cultural assumptions and social structures on which democracy today is based. We need to move from a paradigm of separateness, hierarchy and privilege towards a model based on the health and healing of all living systems.

After the recent shameful election campaign and dysfunctional attempts at forming the 20th parliament in Israel, Netanyahu suggests that for him to be able to govern more effectively, he requires a more homogenous government and more power as Prime Minister. The notion that for a strong, patriarchal leader to govern effectively he can and must control diversity is an immature notion that is fading from relevance. Political, economic, religious and economic leaders are falling from Olympus as scandals and revolutions erupt across the globe. The child leader of North Korea embodies such leadership as he rules over a homogenous culture, executes officials in his government on whim, demands absolute obedience from his people, and destroys the world's oceans with his nuclear toys.

In Israel we have recently seen a former president, a former prime-minister, law-makers, military, police and religious leaders imprisoned and a long list of others currently under investigation for corruption and sexual abuse. This is not about the individuals. It is about a culture and its abuse of a system, based on limited human ideas and fragmented identities that lends itself to corruption.

Can you imagine what nature would look like if it oppressed its complex, exquisite diversity in order to manage it?

Evolving leadership is inspired by nature. It is not about controlling diversity and dissent, seeding destructive competition over collective resources or imposing power. It is not about privileging any species over any other. As in vital natural living systems, it is about cultivating harmony in diversity for all to thrive.

Evolving leadership for today is about mobilizing and motivating diversely skilled leaders, passionate about serving the whole to work together on behalf of the health and vitality of the entire interconnected system. It is about focusing on cultivating and spreading peace from within while working to decrease the need for military and violent solutions.

The questions we need to ask now are not about how to tweak the rules of democracy or which leader can be the true savior. For a radically different and healthy reality we need to ask radically different questions. For instance:

  • How do we as citizens access our multifaceted talents, technology, compassion and creativity to co-create an entirely new culture and governance system that puts the land and all its inhabitants first?

  • How do we collectively articulate the organizing principles for a new governance process, learn about health and vitality of human and environmental systems and educate for harmony in diversity?

  • How do we design new dynamic social structures based on state of the art principles and practices that already exist in Israel and elsewhere?

In Israel we live with an extremely complex nexus of the history of monotheism, nationalism, capitalism and democracy. To unravel the concepts, traumas and sensitivities is not simple, but our future depends on where we put our attention now. If we submit to fear and old narratives and solutions, we will only become a greater caricature of a rigid and decaying culture inviting ridicule and disdain abroad and within. If however we transcend our narrow identities and habituated greed, and access our compassion and creativity, wisdom and technological skill for the good of the whole we may even be able to come up with innovative solutions for our country and inspiration for the world.

#israel

For the Health and Vitality of the Planet and all its Inhabitants

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