Empowering Public Wisdom

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On
August 7, 2012
, EVOLVER EDITIONS will publish Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical
Vision of Citizen-Led Politics. Author Tom Atlee has decided to release two chapters
of the book as a work-in-progress and invites reader feedback, in keeping with the
book's ultimate goal: the generation of true wisdom through the voices and ideas
of people from all walks of life.

Our existing form of republican democracy is clearly unable to deal with twenty-first-century
challenges. We need more wisdom in our public policies, our public budgets, and
our public conversations — and we need it soon. This book,
Empowering Public Wisdom,
suggests that it is both vital and possible to generate authentic collective wisdom
through the conversations of ordinary citizens.

"Public
wisdom" results when the public — as a whole or in randomly selected "mini-publics" — engages
in learning about, reflecting on, and discussing public affairs in ways that take
into account what needs to be taken into account to decide what will produce long
term, inclusive benefits.



The
chapters being posted on Reality Sandwich describe that kind of randomly selected
mini-public — the various forms of temporary, well-informed "citizen deliberative
councils." They tell us about the hundreds of these councils that have been
held around the world and how they have been used. They tell us about new forms
of councils that could be developed and new ways they could be used-including organizing
them at grassroots levels and through using the Internet.



These
councils provide a way to readily and affordably generate a legitimate, authentic,
coherent, and wise voice of "we, the people" — a voice for "the general
welfare" that is not currently present in our political discourse. It moves
us beyond partisanship to a place of collective responsibility for our shared destiny.
It reclaims the idea of "we, the people" as a coherent political force
that integrates the diversity of the whole citizenry rather than a catchphrase used
by one more special-interest group that attempts to speak for "the people" but doesn't
really embrace our full range of perspectives and needs.



Other
chapters in the book discuss (a) the role of power-especially how to balance power
in a democracy and move from power-over to power-with; (b) the need to rein in corporate
and financial domination of elections and government; (c) the strengths and limitations
of both representative and direct democracy; (d) the polarization of our current
political life and strategies to creatively move beyond it without dishonorable
compromises and deals; (e) dozens of high quality conversational processes for mass
public participation; and (f) how the power of public wisdom might actually be institutionalized
in our government.

This
is a radically new way to think about democracy. It embraces diversity, engages
participation, and addresses conflicts and ignorance in profoundly different ways
than we are used to hearing in bars, on talk shows, in public hearings, and within
the halls of government. This is not a kind of direct democracy, where everyone
votes on everything. Its bottom line is not just "participation" or "winning"
but wisdom.
Empowering Public Wisdom offers practical approaches for achieving exactly
that.

 

* * * 

 

Citizen Deliberative
Councils and Their Many Uses

Without
deliberation we don't get public wisdom. The popular "wisdom of crowds"
idea — that the aggregated responses of many independent people generates better answers
than any one of them, or even experts — is sometimes useful for crowd-sourced estimates
and predictions. But it does not generate real wisdom as described in this book.
That takes deliberative conversation among diverse people.

My definition of deliberation in this work is thorough, thoughtful consideration of how to best address
an issue or situation, covering a wide range of information, perspectives and potential
consequences of diverse approaches.

Deliberation
can be done in any number of ways, from extensive rigorous reflection to dynamic,
creative interaction. The key feature in relation to public wisdom is the thoroughness
of the process: does it help participants take into account what needs to be considered
for long term success and broad benefit? Full information, critical thinking, reflection,
creativity, emotion, vision, stories, and dynamic interaction all play important
roles in this.

So how do we do this with, by and for a whole population?

Citizen
deliberative councils have a unique and pivotal role to play in bringing public
wisdom into the formal functioning of politics and governance. As noted in the previous
chapter, these temporary councils of citizens are designed to reflect the diversity
of the population, so when they are convened to deliberate on public concerns and
provide guidance for officials and the public, they have a special legitimacy — the
legitimacy of We the People, the rightful source of guidance and power in a democracy.

The
primary quality that makes them different from other democratic forms that claim
to represent We the People — i.e., elected representatives, populist partisan groups,
public forums open to whoever shows up, and public opinion polls — is the fact that
citizen deliberative councils are a true microcosm of the whole society and they
are undertaking a near-ideal act of citizenship on behalf of that society. They
call forth, embody, and ultimately promote the public wisdom of the whole population.

There
are many varieties of citizen deliberative council — which will be described later
in this chapter — but they all share one purpose and eight characteristics.

The
purpose of a citizen deliberative council is to inform officials and the public
of what the people as a whole would really want if they were to learn about a public
concern or issue, carefully think about it and productively talk it over with each
other.

The
eight characteristics shared by every current form of citizen deliberative council
are:

1.
It is an organized face-to-face assembly.

2.
It is made up of 12?200 people selected randomly (and usually demographically) so
that their collective diversity fairly reflects the diversity of the larger community
from which they were drawn. (In this context, "community" means any coherent
civic population, whether a block, a citizens' organization, a city, a province,
a country, or any other such public grouping.)

3.
It is convened temporarily, for a specified time, usually a few days to a week of
actual meetings, sometimes distributed over several weeks. (A rare version goes
for many months of meetings every other weekend.)

4.
Its members deliberate as peer citizens, setting aside any other role or status
they may have for the brief duration of their deliberations, after which they return
to their previous lives in their community.

5.
It has an explicit mandate to address a specific public situation, issue, concern,
budget, group of proposals or candidates, or other public matter.

6.
It uses forms of dialogue and deliberation, usually facilitated, that enable its
diverse members to really hear each other, to expand and deepen their understanding
of the issues involved and to engage together to identify the best ways their community
might address those issues.

7.
When it is addressing a specific issue, budget, or public policy, its deliberations
feature inclusive balanced briefing materials and, usually, interviews with, testimony
from, and/or conversations with diverse experts, advocates, and other stakeholders
involved with that issue.

8.
At its conclusion, it releases its findings and recommendations to its convening
authority, concerned officials, the media, the electorate, and/or the larger community
from which its members came — and then it disbands.

Ideally,
further community dialogue is stimulated by the report and this is sometimes organized
as part of the overall process.

Citizen
deliberative councils in most current forms have no permanent or official power
except the power of legitimacy and (hopefully) widely publicized common sense solutions
to compelling public problems.

Although
few people realize it, hundreds of these groups of ordinary citizens have been formally
convened all over the world for the last forty years. All together they have involved
tens of thousands of people in both developed and developing nations. They are happening
in many places right now. Here are four examples covered in my book The Tao of Democracy, just to give you a
taste:

*
Poor Indian farmers held a deliberative council investigating approaches to economic
development and decided they wanted to continue their subsistence farming.

*
Some Britons passed official judgment on whether their local HMO should offer chiropractic
services.

*
Australian suburbanites deliberated on what to do about pollution and erosion associated
with rainwater that was wrecking their beaches.

*
Eighteen down-home Americans became expert enough in a few days to tell Twin Cities
municipal authorities how to deal with the area's solid waste disposal. They wanted
more sustainable practices.

In
every case, ordinary people reviewed the facts and came up with common-sense solutions.
The idea that we could empower them to have real positive impact on our major public
problems and crises opens up whole new possibilities for a positive future to replace
the dire prospects and heartbreaking visions currently rampant in our struggling
society.

 

The history and variety of citizen deliberative councils

Citizen
deliberative councils were first pioneered by the late German innovator Peter Dienel,
who created planning cells or Planungzellen in 1969 or 1970. Planning cells involve
several separate 25-member jury-like "cells" all simultaneously considering
the same issue. The conclusions of the diverse cells are collected, compared and
then compiled into one "citizen report" by the organizers. Once the participants
approve the report, it is presented to the sponsor, the media and other interested
parties. The first planning cells were held in 1971 in Germany and a few dozen more
have been held since.

A
few years later, the most widely used form of citizen deliberative council, the
Citizens Jury, was created. Citizens Juries involve 12-24 citizens chosen by random
stratified sampling (which involves demographic selection from a random pool of
citizens) interviewing experts and deliberating for 3-5 days. The form was conceived
by American political scientist Ned Crosby in 1971 as part of an academic inquiry
about how a community might determine its most ethical solutions to moral dilemmas.
(Crosby and Dienel were unaware of each other's work until 1985, when they met and
soon discovered that they both spoke German and English and both had mothers and
daughters named Elizabeth, the latter born a week apart in 1963!)

In
1974 Crosby and several civic leaders founded the Jefferson Center in Minneapolis,
Minnesota to research and develop the Citizens Jury process (along with another
process called "Extended Policy Discussion" which was designed to clarify
disagreements between experts on public policy matters in a way that would be useful
for legislators). The first Citizens Jury on an issue was in 1974 and the first
to examine candidates for office was in 1976. In 1984 a Citizens Jury was conducted
for the first time with government sponsorship. As of this writing, the Jefferson
Center has organized 32 Citizens Juries. Reports on these and a complete manual
on conducting Citizens Juries are available on the Jefferson Center website www.jefferson-center.org.

The
citizens jury model was picked up by English activists who carried it around the
world (the capitalized version is for Jefferson Center-approved Citizens Juries,
while the lower-case version is for variants). Many other people have since used
this method. In its many variations, the citizens jury is the most widely used and
thoroughly tested and reviewed model of citizen deliberative council in the world,
and has inspired many creative applications and visions.

More
than a decade after Crosby and Dienel's innovations, another form of citizen deliberative
council was instituted in Denmark. This model, called consensus conferences, consists
of about 18 randomly selected citizens who study their assigned issue and then take
testimony from experts in an open public hearing, after which they are facilitated
to a consensus before they release their report at a press conference. Since the
mid-80s, occasional consensus conferences have been convened by an official office
of the Danish parliament to review controversial technological issues being considered
for legislation. In addition to the Danes' official consensus conferences, a couple
of dozen have been unofficially held elsewhere in the world.

The
next major development came from a surprising source. One weekend in June 1991 Maclean's magazine — Canada's glossy newsweekly — convened
a dozen Canadians in a resort north of Toronto. These folks had been scientifically
chosen so that, together, they represented all the major sectors of public opinion
and demographics in their deeply divided country. Despite their firmly held and
often opposing beliefs, each of these people was interested in dialogue with people
whose views differed from theirs. That dialogue was facilitated by "the guru
of conflict resolution," Harvard University law professor Roger Fisher, co-author
of the classic Getting to Yes, and two
colleagues.

Despite
the fact that they'd never really listened to the viewpoints and experiences of
others so unlike themselves and the tremendous time pressure (they had three days
to develop a consensus vision for Canada), and despite being continuously watched
by a camera crew from Canadian TV (who recorded the event for a special hour-long
public affairs program), these ordinary citizens succeeded in their mission. Their
effort was extensively covered by Maclean's in their special "People's Verdict"
issue — a fact so significant that it will be discussed in more detail in the next
chapter. Strangely, the process they used was never used again.

In
the early 1990s consultant Jim Rough developed a powerfully creative form of problem
solving and conflict resolution he called Dynamic Facilitation. At the beginning
of the process, participants address their thoughts and feelings to the facilitator,
who "reflects" them back in ways that ensure each speaker feels fully
heard, including recording their contributions on chart pads labeled "problem
statements", "possible solutions", "concerns" and "data".
When anyone complains about something, the facilitator asks (after reflecting the
complaint), "What do you think should be done about that?" or "If
you were in charge, what would you do about it?" — always channeling participants'
thinking towards solving the problem without privileging any particular solution,
just recording them on the "possible solutions" chart pad. If someone
starts to argue with or invalidate what another participant has said, the facilitator
asks, with real curiosity, "What's your concern?" — and, after reflecting
and recording their concern, asks what the conflicted person would do about it.
This aspect of Dynamic Facilitation — translating conflict into concerns — composts
antagonism into creativity.

As
all the ideas and emotions participants brought with them into the session are well
heard and recorded, the group becomes increasingly aware of the full complexity
their diverse views add up to. At the same time — since they feel heard and have witnessed
others being well heard — they are more open than when they walked in. Increasingly
the group's attention moves from arguing and asserting to thinking co-creatively
about the "mess" — the full complexity of the situation — they have generated
together. They're thinking, "Oh my, how are WE going to solve this?" and
they start to generate new solution ideas and new angles on the problem. As this
spirit comes to dominate the discussion, the group begins to make breakthroughs
until a big collective "ah-ha!" often comes — usually around something no
one of them thought before they came in the room. There is no "decision",
as such, but more of a shared perception of what's needed, a "co-sensing."

This
approach — which was mainly used in corporations, nonprofits, and public institutions — engenders
a quality of conversation Rough calls choice-creating. Although Rough doesn't consider
choice-creating to be deliberation, I believe it fits the definition at the beginning
of this chapter — albeit in a far more dynamic way than other forms of deliberation.
As you may gather from the description above, his process is deeply creative and
non-linear, following the group's energy rather than any pre-determined course or
agenda-and it is extremely powerful.

The
choice-creating conversations about public issues that Rough witnessed in his Dynamic
Facilitation trainings inspired his 1993 innovation of the Wisdom Council process.
In a Wisdom Council, one or two dozen citizens chosen through pure random selection
come together for a few days with no agenda. Their job is to reflect on how their
community is doing, including its needs and dreams. They may identify issues, solutions,
questions, new directions, whatever. They come up with a consensus statement — a sort
of citizens' "state of the union" address — which they deliver to the community
in a public meeting. (Note that the political logic of the Wisdom Council, if not
the exact process, is remarkably similar to the Maclean's magazine effort, about
which Rough was unaware.) In a Wisdom Council process a new Wisdom Council is convened
every 3-12 months. Given its simplicity and its ability to catalyze a spirit of
"We the People", Wisdom Councils will be given special strategic attention
in Chapter 9.

Since
Wisdom Councils are not designed to deal with an assigned issue, some dynamic facilitators
wondered if Dynamic Facilitation could be used in an issue-oriented process like
a citizens jury. At first Rough balked because, in his view, the randomly selected
members of a Wisdom Council were essentially We the People, and you don't tell We
the People what to talk about; they decide for themselves.

Over
the years, however, he and leading colleagues, notably Rosa Zubizarreta (who collaborated
with me on The Tao of Democracy), began
developing a powerful form of citizen deliberative council they called a Creative
Insight Council (CIC). In this, one or two dozen randomly selected citizens are
convened to explore a situation or proposal in a dynamically facilitated choice-creating
conversation. Experts, stakeholders and partisans on the issue are also included,
usually as witnesses or resource people (as in a Citizens Jury) at the beginning,
but also receiving and commenting on the CICs results at the end. (One variation
that might be quite productive — if the experts and partisans are willing to stick
it out and the facilitation is strong — is to have them fully included in the entire
choice-creating conversation.) The process is designed to generate new and potentially
better ways to address the situation, not necessarily to work out detailed proposals.
While still under development and tried only a few times, CICs are one of the most
promising innovations in the field. I think they would be especially valuable if,
instead of the CIC's initial findings being the end of the process, their findings
went to the experts and officials to craft a new proposal which was then returned
to the reconvened CIC for consideration in a choice-creating conversation-back and
forth in an iterative manner until something solid evolved that really worked well
for all concerned.

Another
new and perhaps the largest and most empowered form of citizen deliberative council
so far held was the British Columbia (Canada) Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform.
This panel of 160 citizens (one man and one woman randomly selected from each legislative
district, plus two Aboriginal members) was convened in 2004 to study and make recommendations
on electoral reform. They met every other weekend for ten months — hearing expert
testimony, holding 50 public forums, examining 1603 written submissions from the
public, and deliberating-generating creative recommendations which they then submitted
to BC's voters as a referendum.

The
legislation that established the BC Citizens Assembly specified that if their recommendations
were approved by 60 percent of the voters they would become law. Since the 2005
vote in favor was only 57.7 percent — albeit with majorities in 77 of the 79 districts — the
measure failed. A second referendum in 2009 also failed to pass. But the Citizens
Assembly process has generated much interest worldwide and been replicated in several
other locations.

Discrepancies
between the public wisdom as represented by the recommendations of a citizen deliberative
council and the public will as represented by votes and public opinion polls raise
important questions. Among other things, they highlight the need for journalists,
activists, and other storytellers and political players to engage the entire public
with the public wisdom generated by deliberative mini-publics. They
also highlight the potential of engaging "televote" audiences, large groups
of citizens who watch citizen deliberations on TV or online and periodically engage
with the citizen deliberators by phone or online, providing feedback during the
deliberative process. Since the public owns the airwaves at the local level and
broadcasters must serve the public interest, communities can and should work with
them to present citizen deliberations on issues vital to the community. Another
variation involves open-participation public deliberations and debates carried on
online at the same time as the face-to-face ones occurring in the citizen deliberative
councils, with some crossovers between the two conversations. The official participants
in citizen deliberative councils could also use blogs, chats, tweets, live conference
calls or other technologies to engage citizen observers as ad hoc participants.

 

How citizen deliberative councils could and should be
used

It
is now well demonstrated that with this method ordinary citizens have a remarkable
capacity to grapple with complex problems and come up with useful recommendations
that serve the common good, thus realizing the elusive dream of democracy more fully
than ever before.

Yet
most citizen deliberative councils have only been convened as isolated events or
sophisticated focus groups by organizations or agencies seeking input from the public.
Only rarely — as in the British Columbia and Denmark examples above — are they given
any real power in the political process. And only rarely do practitioners, activists,
or political theoreticians and visionaries explore the many diverse facets of our
public lives to which these citizen panels could be applied. (The one remarkable
exception is communication professor John Gastil's By Popular Demand, from which a number of the ideas below were taken.)

The
purpose of this section is to show how valuable citizen deliberative councils could
be and why it is worth promoting and empowering them. Once we see the wide applicability
of this approach to generating public wisdom — an applicability almost as broad as
the familiar democratic practice of voting — the larger vision of empowered public
wisdom and its potential for salvaging our democracy and our world become more compellingly
clear.

Citizen
deliberative councils (CDCs) could and should play many roles to help us take into
account what needs to be taken into account in our public decision-making. Here
are some examples:

  • Providing periodic citizen-based "state of the union" declarations

As
embodied by Wisdom Councils and the Maclean's initiative, microcosms of the public
can consider how things are going in their community or country and articulate the
frustrations, concerns, and hopes of the population on a regular basis. They can
instigate a "time out" for a community to reflect on where it is and where
it is headed, and to creatively tease out new directions and options. Such councils
would tend to have more or less open-ended conversations. If the randomly selected
participants were given tasks to do in such councils, they would tend to involve
the exploration of values, visions and scenarios more than studying facts and existing
proposals. No experts would be needed except for the citizens themselves — who are,
after all, experts in their own experience. They can recommend solutions, new directions,
or the use of other CDCs to tackle specific public affairs. They embody the unconstrained
voice of "We the People" and provide an evocative mirror for the whole
population, rather than the highly politicized annual "state of the union"
declarations of elected presidents, governors, mayors, etc. Their regular use builds
a strong sense of We the People identity in the population.

• Studying issues on behalf of the public and public officials.

After
studying balanced briefings and cross-examining a diverse spectrum of experts, randomly
selected CDC members could provide voters and decision-makers with informed guidance
about an issue, grounded in the core values of their community. Legitimate issue-oriented
CDCs could be convened by legislatures, citizen petitions, prior CDCs or by other
means established by law or popular acclaim, when and as needed. They could address
issues broadly, identifying new possibilities-or they could choose from a given
set of options (in which case critical attention must be given to how those options
are chosen and by whom). Annual CDCs could be convened in specified issue areas — economic
policy, the environment, education, defense, welfare, etc. — to provide an ongoing
sense of the best "general interest" thinking in each of these areas.
Such annual issue dialogues could be set up such that the CDCs conferred with hundreds
of their fellow citizens in the random "jury pools" from which they were
selected, in televised or online forums viewable by anyone-a process that would
be very educational for everyone, especially if the citizenry was engaged in other
forms of grassroots dialogue and deliberation around these issues as part of the
same participatory effort.

• Reviewing proposed ballot
initiatives and referenda.

The randomly selected members of a CDC could interview both
advocates and opponents of specific ballot measures, and then share with their fellow
voters (through official voter pamphlets, the Web and the media) their conclusions
about the facts of the matter and their best judgment about the merits of those
initiatives or referenda. Such a Citizen Initiative Review (CIR) could be put in
place by a ballot initiative or by legislation establishing a governmental or non-governmental
office to convene CDCs in a timely way to review all — or certain kinds of — qualified
initiatives. This would significantly reduce both the special interest manipulation
and the mass thoughtlessness that has recently beset the initiative process, thus
cleaning up and revitalizing what should be one of our best tools for popular empowerment.
(A CIR was officially established in Oregon in 2011. It will be covered further
in Chapter 10.)

  • Creating proposed ballot initiatives to deal with identified issues.

It
is one thing for a CDC to review initiatives created by a special interest group
or legislature. It is quite something else for a CDC to generate initiatives that
can then be placed on the ballot, as was done by the BC Citizens Assembly on Electoral
Reform. An initiative-creating CDC would draft one or more versions of an initiative
to address a particular issue and interview partisans for their critiques and recommendations
until they decided what would be best. Then they would have lawyers or legislators
on hand to legally wordsmith the initiative into a form that could be voted on and,
if approved, passed directly into law. In a political system more fully guided by
public wisdom, a Wisdom Council might identify and prioritize an issue on behalf
of the community and recommend that a Citizens Jury or other CDC be convened to
make recommendations on it. The Citizens Jury might sketch out policy guidelines
they thought would best address the issue. Then an initiative-creating CDC could
craft the initiative and submit it for a popular vote. In subsequent promotion of
that ballot initiative, advocates could point out that it wasn't created by a partisan
interest group, but by a group of randomly selected ordinary citizens convened to
look into the issue, who became informed about it and used common sense to figure
out how it should be handled. Perhaps even better would be to hold several CDCs
like this and, if their recommendations differed, to hold a CIR (perhaps made up
of members from the preceding CDCs) to recommend which one (or some integration
of them) should be put on the ballot. There is precedent for this: In ancient Athens,
a deliberative Council of 500 — whose members were chosen by lot-set the agenda for
the community's Assembly where everyone voted on the proposals the Council put before
them.

  • Ensuring sober public evaluation of controversial legislation.

Laws
could be passed stating that if a city council, state assembly or national legislature
is preparing controversial legislation — indicated by a certain large number of people
petitioning to suspend the legislation pending review by a CDC — then that legislation
is immediately suspended. A group of (say) 50 citizens might then be drawn from
a regular jury pool and given 24 hours to hear arguments from both advocates and
opponents of the legislation and to decide by majority (or supermajority) vote whether
to lift or sustain the suspension. If they decide to lift the suspension, then the
legislators could proceed with their vote. However, if the initial jury sustains
the suspension, then a full CDC must be convened to study the legislation in detail
and cross-examine expert advocates and opponents. After the CDC's findings are broadly
publicized, the legislature can then proceed with its vote under the watchful eyes
of their now-well-informed constituents.

  • Reviewing candidates for elected public office.

I
have seen three interrelated approaches recommended for reviewing candidates — issue-centered,
qualification-centered and interview-centered — each of which are described here.

Issue-centered
evaluation would involve a CDC evaluating candidates' positions on key issues (perhaps
compared to positions favored by prior CDCs on those issues, such as by the "annual
issue dialogues" mentioned above, or by the CDCs evaluating key pieces of legislation
as described below). For example, four issue-centered CDCs could be convened before
a particular election to evaluate each candidate in depth on the economy, the environment,
security and education. These CDCs would review the candidates' records and interview
the candidates directly, along with their supporters and their detractors.

Qualification-centered
CDCs would ask experts and the candidates themselves what criteria should be used
to evaluate candidates for the particular position they seek to win. Once the CDC
chooses its criteria from that advice, it would have the candidates discuss their
own and each others' qualifications in terms of those criteria. Partisan and non-partisan
experts could also testify on candidates' qualifications.

Although
interviews would usually be part of all candidate-evaluation CDCs, interview-centered
CDCs would more deeply engage with the candidates, not limiting themselves to positions
and qualifications, but reaching into the candidates' character, responsiveness
to the public, management style, and even undefinable "gut feelings."
Having each candidate face various challengers or challenging scenarios for several
hours in the unscripted presence of a randomly selected citizen panel could be very
revealing.

In
all cases the evaluations of the CDC would be made available to the voters through
the media, the Web and official voters pamphlets.

An
intriguing variant for legislative races proposed by John Gastil envisions a CDC
convened to pick what the people feel are the ten most important bills proposed
or voted on since the last election. Legislative candidates would be required to
state their views on each of these pieces of legislation. (The voting records of
incumbents would already be available on bills that were passed or defeated.) Then
full CDCs would review each piece of legislation in the same manner that they might
review a ballot measure. If a supermajority (67 percent or more) of their members
supported or opposed a piece of legislation, their judgment would be recorded as
"the people's preference." The percentage of times a candidate's record
or position aligned with this "people's preference" would be published
in the media, on the Web and in voters' pamphlets, along with the CDCs' and candidates'
explanations of their views.

These ratings would be much like the ratings
published by partisan organizations like the National Rifle Association or the Sierra
Club to approve or disapprove of Representatives and Senators, except that the CDC
ratings would be from a nonpartisan "general interest" perspective rather
than from a particular special interest perspective. The CDCs' rating (say, 20 percent — or
90 percent — agreement with "the people's preference") would not tell voters
how to vote, but would provide a useful "rule of thumb" to add to the
guidelines most of them use — such as party affiliation, last name, gender, interest
group recommendations, etc. A further (and controversial) option would be to list
the candidates and their "people's preference" ratings right on the ballot
in descending order.

  • Reviewing government budgets.

Effective
review of a government budget would require several CDCs. The first CDC could review
the budget proposed by the chief executive (mayor, governor, president). Another
could review the version provided by the legislative budget committee as it completed
its work. Other CDCs could review the budgets of past years, or the budgets proposed
by various interest groups, to suggest more general citizen guidelines for budgeting,
or to review the effectiveness of past budgeting efforts.

Interestingly,
when citizens are allowed to deliberate in an informed way about budgetary matters,
they tend to choose higher taxes to cover services they believe necessary for a
healthy community or country, rather than cutting taxes to have more money for themselves.
This fact could have a profound impact on budgetary crises at all levels of government,
if there is a citizens' movement to empower informed citizen deliberations like
CDCs to evaluate budget proposals and publicize their public judgment to counter
special-interest manipulation of poorly informed public opinion and votes.

Note
that this approach is different from the increasingly popular Participatory Budget
approach used in hundreds of cities worldwide. A mass-participation Participatory
Budget program is not a randomly selected CDC, but the two could be used productively
in parallel.

  • Reviewing government or corporate performance.

Using
the same model of hearing testimony from all sides of an issue, a CDC could hear
defenders and critics of the performance of a public official, public agency, or
corporation. This would be a particularly useful tool in touchy areas such as periodic
citizen review of corporate charters or of police behavior or treatment of whistleblowers
that were not in the judicial system. Systems could be set up whereby a certain
level of public petition would automatically trigger a CDC to investigate. In all
cases, such a system of highly informed and impartial answerability could greatly
increase the quality and responsiveness of all forms of power exercised over our
collective life.

 

Summary

The
broad citizenry could, if it chose, ensure that its general interests were well
and dependably articulated through the use of randomly selected citizen deliberative
councils. The quality of deliberation involved could — especially on hot priority
issues — replace or shape public opinion polls as an indicator of the public will
and the general welfare. Their randomness and brief existence could make them at
least as resistant to manipulation as trial juries. Well-monitored facilitation
and information could help them produce sophisticated, common sense results. Their
rootedness in community values could counter-balance the growing greed, power-hunger,
partisanship and shortsightedness rampant in both public and private sector decision-making.

CDCs
are so flexible they can evaluate issues, proposals, legislation, candidates, public
officials, and the general state of the community. In each case, the kind and quality
of information and perspectives supplied by a CDC is unique-and uniquely valuable.

Implicit
in this vision is the realization that nowhere else do we have a trustworthy source
of publicly accessible public judgment and public wisdom arising from high quality
investigation by and dialogue among significantly diverse ordinary citizens deliberating
together away from the shallow, one-sided PR manipulations of special interests.

Whatever
issues, candidates or proposals most excite our passion, they must pass through
the decision-making processes that are built into our systems of politics and government.
It behooves us to ask: Are these systems set up to make sensible decisions on behalf
of the long-term common good? If not, we have CDCs as a tool to inject public wisdom
and popular will into that decision-making. We can give that collective wisdom and
will as much power as we choose.

These
reforms should start at local or state levels (e.g., evaluating local issues and
mayoral or gubernatorial candidates) before they are pushed at national levels (e.g.,
evaluating national issues and presidential or Congressional candidates). However,
public servants at any level (including the national) could always convene CDCs
to advise them or their agencies-or to influence their fellow public servants, other
institutions (like corporations) or the public at large towards more wisely democratic
policies and behaviors.

Underlying
all these details about citizen deliberative councils is a larger purpose: To bring
about the urgently needed next step in the evolution of democracy, itself. It is
desirable and likely that regular use of CDCs can help transform "We the People"
from a patriotic myth to a highly conscious and intelligently coherent political
force. It can help bring real vitality to this ultimate democratic authority — the
people — that is currently fragmented, entranced and unable to act clearly and consistently
on its own behalf.

The
revolution in decision-making that citizen deliberative councils offer us is of
comparable magnitude to the revolution in decision-making created centuries ago
by the idea of majority vote. It can be applied virtually anywhere, and it could
make all the difference in the world.

 

Image by Hamed Saber, courtesy of Creative Commons license. 

Psychedelic Resources

A Foraging Trip: Where Do Magic Mushrooms Grow?
Eager to learn more about the origin of psilocybin species? Read this article to find out where magic mushrooms grow and more!

How to Make Shroom Tea: Best Recipe and Dosage
A step by step guide on how to brew shroom tea, and why entheogenic psilocybin tea is a preferred method for psychedelic connoisseurs.

R. Gordon Wasson: Author and Mushroom Expert
Learn about R. Gordon Wasson, the “legendary mushroom expert” and popular figure within the psychonaut community.

Shrooms vs Acid: Differences and Similarities Explained
Ever wondered what the differences are between shrooms vs acid, or if you can take both together? This guide explains what you need to know.

Quantum Mechanics, Reality, and Magic Mushrooms
Scientist and author Dr. Chris Becker takes an in-depth approach in understanding how we perceive reality through magic mushrooms and quantum mechanics.

Psilocybin Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Psilocybin has everything you want to know about this psychedelic fungi from its uses to its legal status.

The Psilocybin Experience: What’s the Deal With Magic Mushrooms?
From microdoses to macrodoses, the psilocybin experience has been sought after both medicinally and recreationally for millennia.

Psilocybin and Magic Mushroom Resources
Curious to learn more about psilocybin? This guide is a comprehensive psilocybin resource containing books, therapeutic studies, and more.

Paul Stamets Profile: Mushroom Guru, Filmmaker, Nutritionist, Scientist
Learn about Paul Stamets, read his thoughts on psilocybin mircodosing, the future of psilocybin, and his recent film “Fantastic Fungi”.

Microdosing Psilocybin & Common Dosage Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivably, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing psilocybin.

Psilocybin Nasal Spray: Relief for Anxiety, PTSD, and Depression
Microdosing nasal spray with psilocybin, is that possible?! Oregan a start-up Silo Wellness believes so and has created this new option for PTSD treatment.

Mazatec Mushroom Usage: Notes on Approach, Setting and Species for Curious Psilonauts
A look at traditional Mazatec psilocybin mushroom usage, and a comparison to the cliniical therapeutic approach, with an examination of the Mazatec setting and species used in veladas.

María Sabina: The Mazatec Magic Mushroom Woman
Magic mushrooms are incredibly popular today. How they became introduced to into American culture isn’t usually a topic discussed while tripping on psilocybin fungi. We all may have María Sabina to thank for exposing the Western world to the healing properties of the psilocybin mushroom.

Guide to Magic Mushroom Strains
Are there different types of psilocybin? Read our guide to learn about the different magic mushroom strains and their individual effects.

Kilindi Iyi: Mycologist, Traveler, Teacher
Learn about traveler and mycologist Kilindi Iyi known in the psychedelic community for his research and exploration of psilocybin.

How to Store Shrooms: Best Practices
How do you store shrooms for optimal shelf life? Learn how and why the proper storage method is so important.

Shroom Chocolate Recipes: How to Make Magic Mushroom Chocolates
This recipe provides step by step directions on how you can make mushroom chocolates with the necessary ingredients. Read to learn more!

Why Do People Use Psilocybin? New Johns Hopkins Study
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicines has just published a new study on psychoactive effects of psilocybin. Read here to learn more.

How-To Lemon Tek: Ultimate Guide and Recipe
This master guide will teach you how to lemon tek, preventing the onset of negative effects after consuming psilocybin. Read to learn more!

How to Intensify a Mushroom Trip
Learn about techniques like Lemon tekking, or discover the right time to consume cannabis if you are looking to intensify a mushroom trip.

How to Grow Magic Mushrooms: Step-by-Step
This step-by-step guide will show you how to grow magic mushrooms at home. Read this guide before trying it on your own.

How to Dry Magic Mushrooms: Best Practices
Read to learn more about specifics for the best practices on how to dry magic mushrooms after harvesting season.

How to Buy Psilocybin Spores
Interested in psilocybin mushrooms? We’ll walk you through all you need to know to obtain mushroom spores. Nosh on this delish How To guide.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

Having Sex on Shrooms: Good or Bad Idea?
Is having sex on shrooms a good idea or an accident waiting to happen? Find out in our guide to sex on magic mushrooms.

Gold Cap Shrooms Guide: Spores, Effects, Identification
Read this guide to learn more about the different characteristics of gold cap mushrooms, and how they differ from other psilocybin species.

Guide to Cooking with Magic Mushrooms
From cookies to smoothies and sandwiches, we cover various methods of cooking with magic mushrooms for the ultimate snack.

2020 Election: The Decriminalize Psilocybin Movement
Are you curious if mushrooms will follow in marijuana’s footsteps? Read to learn about how the U.S. is moving to decriminalize psilocybin.

Oregon’s Initiative to Legalize Mushrooms | Initiative Petition 34
Oregon continues to push ahead with their initiative to legalize Psilocybin in 2020. The measure received its official title and now needs signatures.

Canada Approves Psilocybin Treatment for Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients
Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu approved the use of psilocybin to help ease anxiety and depression of four terminal cancer patients.

Mapping the DMT Experience
With only firsthand experiences to share, how can we fully map the DMT experience? Let’s explore what we know about this powerful psychedelic.

Guide to Machine Elves and Other DMT Entities
This guide discusses machine elves, clockwork elves, and other common DMT entities that people experience during a DMT trip.

Is the DMT Experience a Hallucination? 
What if the DMT realm was the real world, and our everyday lives were merely a game we had chosen to play?

How to Store DMT
Not sure how to store DMT? Read this piece to learn the best practices and elements of advice to keep your stuff fresh.

What Does 5-MeO-DMT Show Us About Consciousness?
How does our brain differentiate between what’s real and what’s not? Read to learn what can 5-MeO-DMT show us about consciousness.

How to Smoke DMT: Processes Explained
There are many ways to smoke DMT and we’ve outlined some of the best processes to consider before embarking on your journey.

How to Ground After DMT
Knowing what to expect from a DMT comedown can help you integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible from your journey.

How To Get DMT
What kind of plants contain DMT? Are there other ways to access this psychedelic? Read on to learn more about how to get DMT.

How DMT is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make DMT? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how DMT is made.

Having Sex on DMT: What You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered about sex on DMT? Learn how the God Molecule can influence your intimate experiences.

Does the Human Brain Make DMT? 
With scientific evidence showing us DMT in the brain, what can we conclude it is there for? Read on to learn more.

How to Use DMT Vape Pens
Read to learn all about DMT vape pens including: what to know when vaping, what to expect when purchasing a DMT cartridge, and vaping safely.

DMT Resources
This article is a comprehensive DMT resource providing extensive information from studies, books, documentaries, and more. Check it out!

Differentiating DMT and Near-Death Experiences
Some say there are similarities between a DMT trip and death. Read our guide on differentiating DMT and near-death experiences to find out.

DMT Research from 1956 to the Edge of Time
From a representative sample of a suitably psychedelic crowd, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t tell you all about Albert Hofmann’s enchanted bicycle ride after swallowing what turned out to be a massive dose of LSD. Far fewer, however, could tell you much about the world’s first DMT trip.

The Ultimate Guide to DMT Pricing
Check out our ultimate guide on DMT pricing to learn what to expect when purchasing DMT for your first time.

DMT Milking | Reality Sandwich
Indigenous cultures have used 5-MeO-DMT for centuries. With the surge in demand for psychedelic toad milk, is DMT Milking harming the frogs?

Why Does DMT Pervade Nature?
With the presence of DMT in nature everywhere – including human brains – why does it continue to baffle science?

DMT Substance Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to DMT has everything you want to know about this powerful psychedelic referred to as “the spirit molecule”.

DMT for Depression: Paving the Way for New Medicine
We’ve been waiting for an effective depression treatment. Studies show DMT for depression works even for treatment resistant patients.

Beating Addiction with DMT
Psychedelics have been studied for their help overcoming addiction. Read how DMT is helping addicts beat their substance abuse issues.

DMT Extraction: Behind the Scientific Process
Take a look at DMT extraction and the scientific process involved. Learn all you need to know including procedures and safety.

Microdosing DMT & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing DMT.

DMT Art: A Look Behind Visionary Creations
An entire genre of artwork is inspired by psychedelic trips with DMT. Read to learn about the entities and visions behind DMT art.

Changa vs. DMT: What You Need to Know
While similar (changa contains DMT), each drug has its own unique effect and feeling. Let’s compare and contrast changa vs DMT.

5-MeO-DMT Guide: Effects, Benefits, Safety, and Legality
5-Meo-DMT comes from the Sonora Desert toad. Here is everything you want to know about 5-Meo-DMT and how it compares to 4-AcO-DMT.

4-AcO-DMT Guide: Benefits, Effects, Safety, and Legality
This guide tells you everything about 4 AcO DMT & 5 MeO DMT, that belong to the tryptamine class, and are similar but slightly different to DMT.

How Much Does LSD Cost? When shopping around for that magical psychedelic substance, there can be many uncertainties when new to buying LSD. You may be wondering how much does LSD cost? In this article, we will discuss what to expect when purchasing LSD on the black market, what forms LSD is sold in, and the standard breakdown of buying LSD in quantity.   Navy Use of LSD on the Dark Web The dark web is increasingly popular for purchasing illegal substances. The US Navy has now noticed this trend with their staff. Read to learn more.   Having Sex on LSD: What You Need to Know Can you have sex on LSD? Read our guide to learn everything about sex on acid, from lowered inhibitions to LSD users quotes on sex while tripping.   A Drug That Switches off an LSD Trip A pharmaceutical company is developing an “off-switch” drug for an LSD trip, in the case that a bad trip can happen. Some would say there is no such thing.   Queen of Hearts: An Interview with Liz Elliot on Tim Leary and LSD The history of psychedelia, particularly the British experience, has been almost totally written by men. Of the women involved, especially those who were in the thick of it, little has been written either by or about them. A notable exception is Liz Elliot.   LSD Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, or just acid is one of the most important psychedelics ever discovered. What did history teach us?   Microdosing LSD & Common Dosage Explained Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing LSD.   LSD Resources Curious to learn more about LSD? This guide includes comprehensive LSD resources containing books, studies and more.   LSD as a Spiritual Aid There is common consent that the evolution of mankind is paralleled by the increase and expansion of consciousness. From the described process of how consciousness originates and develops, it becomes evident that its growth depends on its faculty of perception. Therefore every means of improving this faculty should be used.   Legendary LSD Blotter Art: A Hidden Craftsmanship Have you ever heard of LSD blotter art? Explore the trippy world of LSD art and some of the top artists of LSD blotter art.   LSD and Exercise: Does it Work? LSD and exercise? Learn why high-performing athletes are taking hits of LSD to improve their overall potential.   Jan Bastiaans Treated Holocaust Survivors with LSD Dutch psychiatrist, Jan Bastiaans administered LSD-assisted therapy to survivors of the Holocaust. A true war hero and pioneer of psychedelic-therapy.   LSD and Spiritual Awakening I give thanks for LSD, which provided the opening that led me to India in 1971 and brought me to Neem Karoli Baba, known as Maharajji. Maharajji is described by the Indians as a “knower of hearts.”   How LSD is Made: Everything You Need to Know Ever wonder how to make LSD? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how LSD is made.   How to Store LSD: Best Practices Learn the best way to store LSD, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long LSD lasts when stored.   Bicycle Day: The Discovery of LSD Every year on April 19th, psychonauts join forces to celebrate Bicycle Day. Learn about the famous day when Albert Hoffman first discovered the effects of LSD.   Cary Grant: A Hollywood Legend On LSD Cary Grant was a famous actor during the 1930’s-60’s But did you know Grant experimented with LSD? Read our guide to learn more.   Albert Hofmann: LSD — My Problem Child Learn about Albert Hofmann and his discovery of LSD, along with the story of Bicycle Day and why it marks a historic milestone.   Babies are High: What Does LSD Do To Your Brain What do LSD and babies have in common? Researchers at the Imperial College in London discover that an adult’s brain on LSD looks like a baby’s brain.   1P LSD: Effects, Benefits, Safety Explained 1P LSD is an analogue of LSD and homologue of ALD-25. Here is everything you want to know about 1P LSD and how it compares to LSD.   Francis Crick, DNA & LSD Type ‘Francis Crick LSD’ into Google, and the result will be 30,000 links. Many sites claim that Crick (one of the two men responsible for discovering the structure of DNA), was either under the influence of LSD at the time of his revelation or used the drug to help with his thought processes during his research. Is this true?   What Happens If You Overdose on LSD? A recent article presented three individuals who overdosed on LSD. Though the experience was unpleasant, the outcomes were remarkably positive.

The Ayahuasca Experience
Ayahuasca is both a medicine and a visionary aid. You can employ ayahuasca for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repair, and you can engage with the power of ayahuasca for deeper insight and realization. If you consider attainment of knowledge in the broadest perspective, you can say that at all times, ayahuasca heals.

 

Trippy Talk: Meet Ayahuasca with Sitaramaya Sita and PlantTeachers
Sitaramaya Sita is a spiritual herbalist, pusangera, and plant wisdom practitioner formally trained in the Shipibo ayahuasca tradition.

 

The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca
My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice.

 

Microdosing Ayahuasca: Common Dosage Explained
What is ayahuasca made of and what is considered a microdose? Explore insights with an experienced Peruvian brewmaster and learn more about this practice.

 

Ayahuasca Makes Neuron Babies in Your Brain
Researchers from Beckley/Sant Pau Research Program have shared the latest findings in their study on the effects of ayahuasca on neurogenesis.

 

The Fatimiya Sufi Order and Ayahuasca
In this interview, the founder of the Fatimiya Sufi Order,  N. Wahid Azal, discusses the history and uses of plant medicines in Islamic and pre-Islamic mystery schools.

 

Consideration Ayahuasca for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research indicates that ayahuasca mimics mechanisms of currently accepted treatments for PTSD. In order to understand the implications of ayahuasca treatment, we need to understand how PTSD develops.

 

Brainwaves on Ayahuasca: A Waking Dream State
In a study researchers shared discoveries showing ingredients found in Ayahuasca impact the brainwaves causing a “waking dream” state.

 

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a pro cannabis Peruvian Shaman.

 

Ayahuasca Retreat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Brave the Brew
Ayahuasca has been known to be a powerful medicinal substance for millennia. However, until recently, it was only found in the jungle. Word of its deeply healing and cleansing properties has begun to spread across the world as many modern, Western individuals are seeking spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. More ayahuasca retreat centers are emerging in the Amazon and worldwide to meet the demand.

 

Ayahuasca Helps with Grief
A new study published in psychopharmacology found that ayahuasca helped those suffering from the loss of a loved one up to a year after treatment.

 

Ayahuasca Benefits: Clinical Improvements for Six Months
Ayahuasca benefits can last six months according to studies. Read here to learn about the clinical improvements from drinking the brew.

 

Ayahuasca Culture: Indigenous, Western, And The Future
Ayahuasca has been use for generations in the Amazon. With the rise of retreats and the brew leaving the rainforest how is ayahuasca culture changing?

 

Ayahuasca Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
The Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca has a long history and wide use. Read our guide to learn all about the tea from its beginnings up to modern-day interest.

 

Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order
Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.

 

Ayahuasca and the Feminine: Women’s Roles, Healing, Retreats, and More
Ayahuasca is lovingly called “grandmother” or “mother” by many. Just how feminine is the brew? Read to learn all about women and ayahuasca.

What Is the Standard of Care for Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy is on the rise in light of its powerful results for treatment-resistant depression. But, what is the current standard of care for ketamine? Read to find out.

What Is Dissociation and How Does Ketamine Create It?
Dissociation can take on multiple forms. So, what is dissociation like and how does ketamine create it? Read to find out.

Having Sex on Ketamine: Getting Physical on a Dissociative
Curious about what it could feel like to have sex on a dissociate? Find out all the answers in our guide to sex on ketamine.

Special K: The Party Drug
Special K refers to Ketamine when used recreationally. Learn the trends as well as safety information around this substance.

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

Ketamine vs. Esketamine: 3 Important Differences Explained
Ketamine and esketamine are used to treat depression. But what’s the difference between them? Read to learn which one is right for you: ketamine vs. esketamine.

Guide to Ketamine Treatments: Understanding the New Approach
Ketamine is becoming more popular as more people are seeing its benefits. Is ketamine a fit? Read our guide for all you need to know about ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Treatment for Eating Disorders
Ketamine is becoming a promising treatment for various mental health conditions. Read to learn how individuals can use ketamine treatment for eating disorders.

Ketamine Resources, Studies, and Trusted Information
Curious to learn more about ketamine? This guide includes comprehensive ketamine resources containing books, studies and more.

Ketamine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to ketamine has everything you need to know about this “dissociative anesthetic” and how it is being studied for depression treatment.

Ketamine for Depression: A Mental Health Breakthrough
While antidepressants work for some, many others find no relief. Read to learn about the therapeutic uses of ketamine for depression.

Ketamine for Addiction: Treatments Offering Hope
New treatments are offering hope to individuals suffering from addiction diseases. Read to learn how ketamine for addiction is providing breakthrough results.

Microdosing Ketamine & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing ketamine.

How to Ease a Ketamine Comedown
Knowing what to expect when you come down from ketamine can help integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible.

How to Store Ketamine: Best Practices
Learn the best ways how to store ketamine, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long ketamine lasts when stored.

How To Buy Ketamine: Is There Legal Ketamine Online?
Learn exactly where it’s legal to buy ketamine, and if it’s possible to purchase legal ketamine on the internet.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
How long does ketamine stay in your system? Are there lasting effects on your body? Read to discover the answers!

How Ketamine is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make Ketamine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how Ketamine is made.

Colorado on Ketamine: First Responders Waiver Programs
Fallout continues after Elijah McClain. Despite opposing recommendations from some city council, Colorado State Health panel recommends the continued use of ketamine by medics for those demonstrating “excited delirium” or “extreme agitation”.

Types of Ketamine: Learn the Differences & Uses for Each
Learn about the different types of ketamine and what they are used for—and what type might be right for you. Read now to find out!

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

MDMA & Ecstasy Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to MDMA has everything you want to know about Ecstasy from how it was developed in 1912 to why it’s being studied today.

How To Get the Most out of Taking MDMA as a Couple
Taking MDMA as a couple can lead to exciting experiences. Read here to learn how to get the most of of this love drug in your relationship.

Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing MDMA.

Having Sex on MDMA: What You Need to Know
MDMA is known as the love drug… Read our guide to learn all about sex on MDMA and why it is beginning to makes its way into couple’s therapy.

How MDMA is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make MDMA? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how MDMA is made.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

How Cocaine is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make cocaine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how cocaine is made.

A Christmas Sweater with Santa and Cocaine
This week, Walmart came under fire for a “Let it Snow” Christmas sweater depicting Santa with lines of cocaine. Columbia is not merry about it.

Ultimate Cocaine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
This guide covers what you need to know about Cocaine, including common effects and uses, legality, safety precautions and top trends today.

NEWS: An FDA-Approved Cocaine Nasal Spray
The FDA approved a cocaine nasal spray called Numbrino, which has raised suspicions that the pharmaceutical company, Lannett Company Inc., paid off the FDA..

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Bioavailability
What is bioavailability and how can it affect the overall efficacy of a psychedelic substance? Read to learn more.

Cannabis Research Explains Sociability Behaviors
New research by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano shows social behavioral changes occur as a result of less energy available to the neurons. Read here to learn more.

The Cannabis Shaman
If recreational and medical use of marijuana is becoming accepted, can the spiritual use as well? Experiential journalist Rak Razam interviews Hamilton Souther, founder of the 420 Cannabis Shamanism movement…

Cannabis Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Cannabis has everything you want to know about this popular substances that has psychedelic properties.

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a procannabis Peruvian Shaman.

CBD-Rich Cannabis Versus Single-Molecule CBD
A ground-breaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), challenging the medical-industrial complex’s notion that “crude” botanical preparations are less effective than single-molecule compounds.

Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
Modern science has already confirmed the efficacy of cannabis for most uses described in the ancient medical texts, but prohibitionists still claim that medical cannabis is “just a ruse.”

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