I just received the following email from Terje Bongard, and my spirit fell low. The RID-model (Representative Ingroup Democracy) is the most promising initiative I know about. For me the rejection of Bongard’s project feels like the end of the world, and actually I think it is.

I’m sorry, my dear daughter. These anonymous referees shot down your future. It’s just to lean back and wait for the slow collapse of John Michael Greer. At least this is how I feel now.

Dear daughter, you have no future

Dear all

Please find enclosed the comments from the anonymous referees (not included here).

First, I want to thank each and every one of you for grasping the idea so quickly. During this process I talked to many researchers who did not. Some of them stalled the process and used up our time, and some made it difficult for us with unnecessary negative comments.

It is not easy to think new and creative thoughts. To have a position, status, makes it more difficult to take chances, listen up and think freely. You all crossed this cognitive and evolved conservative mechanism, and I thank you all for that. Your open minded strategy is what is needed now.

Is it possible to reform the global free capitalism to sustainability? As an example, I include Beate Sjåfjell, leader of Concerned Scientists Norway, in this mail. She is fighting bravely to find legal actions to support and encourage “green businesses” through both nations and the EU, see http://www.jus.uio.no/ifp/english/research/projects/sustainable-companies/

Will small changes add up to something really working? I wish Beate all the best, and support her with all my heart, but I fear it will only be cosmetics confined to the rich world. Facing the global poverty, economic growth is overshadowing everything. And time is running out.

But, we need to work for both perspectives: Do the best of a bad job, and at the same time search for creative solutions. But we mustn’t forget the last perspective…

Would new ideas for minor changes and improvements have come out of our MEDOSS project? I don’t know, but I sincerely hope you all will bring the RID model with you, and reflect over the idea whenever discussing solutions to our dangerous near future. Regardless of what the “referees” of our application say, MEDOSS is based on scientific knowledge of human behavior: We can do this change, and it will address societal problems in surprisingly many arenas. It is a sustainable solution.

I would never have engaged in this process if it hadn’t been for the initiative coming from the Norwegian Research Council’s own advisors. The invitation to address the kick-off meeting, and the seed money support from them made me hope for a small miracle. These people are at the center of research and science, and have a unique competence for thinking new thoughts in broader perspectives, free from prestige. I thank you for the opportunity, and please keep thinking more in the same direction!

Alas, the programme committee and referees are not this broadminded. As you will see, the comments are all about how they want elaborations on topics they don’t understand, or are not willing to examine closer themselves. As you all remember, in the struggle to fulfill the limit for 10 pages max, we had to cut into bones. How is it possible to document, to every thinkable referee’s satisfaction, the scientific background for a new society built on a complete democracy, describe experiments and deliverances on 10 pages…. ?

I will write an essay, first in Norwegian, about my efforts over the last years in these matters. My reflections and experiences will perhaps be useful to others. In it, I will discuss how to move on. Of course I will appreciate and include in this essay your comments about the process, the application and ideas for further initiatives and development. We cannot give in yet, or…?

yours truly



Terje Bongard

Researcher, PhD

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research – NINA

Postal address: NO-7485 Trondheim, NORWAY

Delivery/Visiting address: Høgskoleringen 9, NO-7034 Trondheim, NORWAY

Phone: +47 986 44 786 • Fax: +47 73 80 14 01 • www.nina.no

2 Comments Terje Bongard: No grant for MEDOSS

  1. Avatarvera

    Øyvind, this cannot be started top down. For it to work, it must be done bottom up. Relatively invisible to the powers that be. So… get going, your little girl needs you not to give up! 🙂

  2. Øyvind HolmstadØyvind Holmstad

    The RID-Model is a down-up system, but as a democracy it has to include everyone. If one hawk is free to predate on the system, it will fail. It has to include everyone into the system, so it has to be implemented top-down, as you say. It has to be equal for everyone at once.

    The RID-model will be focused around production, every in-group to be responsible for their own little part of the production system. This is because the production system is what threatens our survival, still it’s outside of democratic control.

    What is the point of the ingroup-model is to harvest the fruits from the “positive” side of the handicap principle, which is the driver of human behavior. This “good force” we can use to organize every aspect of society. No matter how it comes alive, bottom up or top down, the fruits of this force are the same, cooperation, sacrificing, modesty etc.

    You see this aspect of the handicap-principle most clearly among the social flock bird the arabian babbler, which Amotz Zahavi, the “founder” of the handicap-principle, studied in the Negev Desert for 40 years. See the book: The handicap principle: A Missing Piece of Darwin’s Puzzle. 1997, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. By Amotz and Avishag Zahavi.

    On the contrary, our capitalist and modernist system, almost entirely grows the “dark side of the force”, the “janus face” of human nature. Terje Bongard exemplifies this in his book “The biological human being” (http://leveveg.blogspot.no/2014/01/the-biological-human-being-individuals.html) with using the Australian satin bowerbird as an example of a “capitalist”, that mean growing the “destructive” force of the handicap principle in human society. If a society is organized around this side of the handicap principle, you get a bunch of egoists.

    Earlier people instinctively organized to harvest the benefits from the handicap principle, like in the tribe. Or in the alexandrine pattern 37: http://www.patternlanguage.com/apl/aplsample/apl37/apl37.htm

    The RID-Model (http://www.resilience.org/articles/General/2013/12_Dec/bongard61.jpg) would create the ultimate commons, dissolving both the market and the state, making us all part of an superorganism. Where every individual had an equal say. This is a highly scientific model stemming from the best knowledge available about human behavioral biology.

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