Our July 2017 Wise Democracy Online Dialogue
July 18, 2017 • 10am Pacific Time

Don't miss our next free teleconference gathering with Tom Atlee for newsletter subscribers interested in upgrading democratic systems. This two hour call will start at 10am Pacific Time on Tuesday July 18th.  

We're happy to offer this opportunity for you to connect with people from around the world and deepen your understanding of the wise democracy pattern language. 

The call will begin with a brief check-in in which we’ll invite you to share 

  • your name and where you live, 
  • a question that is important to you and 
  • one of the wise democracy patterns that is especially important in your work or life. 

(Whether or not you plan to join us, we invite you to take a few moments now to think of a question and a pattern that have heart and meaning to you?  Try it out... And if you have done this before for a previous gathering, do it newly now, or know that new people will be on the call who haven't heard from you...)

After our intro check-ins, Tom will share what led him to articulate some of the patterns in the Explicit Sustainability Factors category.  Along the way he’ll respond to our questions and comments about what he’s sharing. We can also explore other patterns that might fit in that category.

For the last 20-30 minutes of the call, we'd like to hear from you what kind of community full of interesting, engaged people you'd like to see coming together around the wise democracy pattern language (see Andy's note below). What would they (and you) be doing?  What other groups have you been part of that really engaged you? What kind of activities and opportunities have such groups offered?  What do you think would engage people together to explore, use, and evolve this pattern language?

This special call will be limited to 16 newsletter subscribers who have spent at least 1 hour exploring the WD-PL websiteIf you haven't taken at least an hour to explore the site, you might enjoy participating in the July 12th event described below, which will give you a fascinating hour-long experience that will qualify you for this call. 

Reserve your spot now for the July 18th event at Eventbrite. (If you are late, make a reservation anyway. We'll put you on a waiting list. If enough interested people want to participate, we'll organize a second call.) 

Instructions for attending will be emailed to you both the day before and an hour before start time. If you haven’t participated in a Zoom call previously, you may wish to download the free software beforehand.

The call will be facilitated by Andy Paice, a wise democracy enthusiast from London, UK. After the call is formally concluded, Tom and Andy will remain online for a while to explore people's experience of the call, any thoughts for improving it, further visions for the community of practice, and whatever else you’d like to talk about.

You can always contact us through or the comment section at the bottom of every page of the Wise Democracy Project website.

Free “Open House” Tour of the Wise Democracy Pattern Language Website - July 12th

Tour Guide: Tom Atlee

This free public event is for anyone interested in learning more about the Wise Democracy Project.  It provides an excellent opportunity to rapidly gain familiarity with the ideas behind the wise democracy worldview and the extensive resources offered on the project’s vast website. 

During this 90 minute Zoom teleconference call, Tom Atlee –  founder of the Wise Democracy Project and primary creator of the wise democracy pattern language – will guide us through the entire WD-PL website, providing clarifying commentary along the way.  After that he’ll take 20-30 minutes to address our questions.  If a dozen people show up, it will be an intimate affair.  If lots of people show up, we’ll have folks write their questions in the videoconference’s chat box and Tom will address themes he sees among them.

This free gathering will be held on Wednesday July 12th from 10am until 11:30am Pacific Time using Zoom videoconferencing. If you have not used Zoom before, you can download the free software for it at

To participate, register directly at Eventbrite or send an email to with “WD-PL Open House” in the subject line.  You will receive an instructional invitation on July 11th and then a reminder one hour before the event.

WDPL Community of Practice: the story so far…
by Andy Paice

Over the past couple of months I’ve been supporting Tom and the Co-Intelligence Institute with the Wise Democracy Project facilitating the conference calls and, along with Susan Michael, speaking to various people who have been using the website.

We’re interested in people’s experience of it and the degree to which there is a desire to form some sort of Community of Practice - and what their ideal Community of Practice would be like and do.

Having conducted several interviews and getting email feedback, we saw that it’s taking time for people to be able to deeply absorb themselves in the pattern language content. People have been very impressed with the enormity of what Tom has created and the depth and breadth of his vision. However most users have not yet been able to bridge the theory with the practice of the patterns. 

In order to embed the patterns in practice people have come up with a variety of suggestions: given that most groups find self-organization a delicate and vulnerable capacity requiring high degrees of authenticity which is often difficult in the structures of our present institutions, Wise Democracy "boot camps" have been proposed where people can experiment with wise democracy patterns and concepts in those institutions. Others suggested storytelling sessions of examples of how the patterns are already being used. Then there’s the idea of creating MOOCs (massively open online courses) both for introductions and for in-depth study and practice.
During the last conference call on 13th June a few people were hanging out after the main call had finished. We realized that we’re still at a level in the evolution of the WD-PL being released into the world in which people need Tom’s guidance for teaching and walking us through the patterns.

And then an understanding of an intriguing way forward emerged among us. What about a Deep Dive course taught by Tom with the aim of empowering a group of people to be able to teach the Wise Democracy patterns and concepts themselves in whatever format and field corresponds with their own personal activities and passions. A core team is getting together to discuss this further in July.

If anyone has further ideas, input into this conversation or a desire to be part of the nascent CoP please do get in touch with me. Alternatively join The Wise Democracy Conference Call on July 18th which will be an opportunity to further discuss these ideas and the development of the Community of Practice.


by Tom Atlee

You may have noticed that we identify seven patterns that are related to each of the patterns in this wise democracy pattern language.

I went through the whole set asking ourselves about each pattern: “What other patterns will influence - or be influenced by - what someone does with this pattern?” and “In order to apply this pattern well, what other patterns should a user be aware of?”

Identifying and articulating these relationships among all the patterns is one of the features that makes this collection of design principles into an actual pattern LANGUAGE.  

I picked seven related patterns for the simple reason that that’s how many related patterns will fit comfortably at the bottom of a given pattern’s card. Actually, many more connections could be identified for each pattern. But I think the seven I’ve identified are among the most important.  

Now here’s the interesting thing I discovered about all this… 

When I was working out these related patterns on a big 70x70 grid, I decided to find out which patterns were chosen most often as related to other patterns in the set. 

So I added up each of the columns and was startled to find that two patterns showed up almost twice as often as the next most referenced patterns. These two super-patterns were "Using Diversity and Disturbance Creatively” and “Well-Utilized Life Energy”.  That in itself was intriguing.

But weeks later as I reflected about this, I realized that these two patterns are actually two facets of the same dynamic.  Here’s what I saw:  

Life energy manifests in drives, values, passions, visions, needs, interests, purposes, concerns, etc. - all the motivating forces in our lives. So life energy is intrinsically powerful.  In fact it can be an extremely potent and freely available resource to the extent we work WITH it and use it well. 

But all too often life energy gets suppressed. It is not always easy to work with. Different people have different motivating drivers pushing and pulling them in different directions - and this can happen even within each one of us as our

different needs and dreams compete with each other! 


I see at least three ways that this is important for those of us working for a wise democracy: 

1.  In general, we need as much life energy available as we can manage, acting in ways that serve the wellbeing of all involved rather than getting in each other’s way all the time. This is simply a matter of not wasting a precious natural resource.

2.  The presence of diversity and disturbance often indicate an emerging dynamic, a new possibility, or some factor that we didn’t notice before that we need to take into account in order to comprehend a bigger picture of what’s going on. Being able to engage creatively with disturbing energies and information thus enhances our ability to generate big-picture wisdom.  

3.  We want to get whatever wisdom we discover or develop to actually influence the world in ways that serve the welfare of all beings over the long term.  So we need to work skillfully with any available life energies to enable them to freely align with wise directions that benefit them all. In most cases, this means tapping into their natural dynamism and directionality repeatedly during our efforts to find that wisdom in the first place.

In conclusion, it has been both surprising and enlightening to discover this big convergent reality embedded deeply within the pattern language’s unfolding structure - a discovery that clarifies one of the most fundamental truths about generating wise outcomes together.  It is, indeed, something to keep in mind.

The Wise Democracy Project newsletter will now be occasional, allowing both for both short and long editions more often than once a month if conditions warrant.  We hope this new arrangement will be more useful and comfortable for both you and us.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Help us raise awareness of the much needed wiser ways of doing democracy. Follow, post and share patterns, news and innovations on the Wise Democracy Twitter account where we will soon be posting patterns daily and the WDPL Facebook page where we can discuss and learn together.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

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