(A. Rossin's paper at the DD Congress of Athens, on Fri. 23 June 2000)



The "Top-Down" Family Model for RR

The "Bottom-Up" Family Model for DD


Two different but complementary ways towards the implementation of Direct Democracy are considered.

One of these, that we may call "Top-Down", bases on the modern tools of Information and Communication Technology and, of course, on the wisdom of local and governmental authorities ruling the matter of democratic voting.
The other, that we may call "Bottom-Up", bases on the educative development of personality in people, hopedly, towards the latter's open-mindedness and better understanding of participatory Democracy principles, for each one to take upon oneself one's own Direct responsibilities and to put into action the capability of making aware and flexible choices.

According with the Bottom-Up perspective, Antonio Rossin analyzes the two basic family educative models that may cause the formation of children's personality, towards either direct and responsible sharing into the social framework or passive delegating by representatives, from Family up to Society.

top page

Dear Direct Democracy Friends,

Let's see that of implementing Direct Democracy over its opponents, to be a problem having two different though complementary approaching ways:

1) The first way is the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, so as to facilitate common people to shift from the already existing "Rule by Representatives" (RR) social arrangement towards Direct Democracy (DD). We know, today the ICT tools are becoming more and more powerful, and ready to everybody's disposal. The ICT improvement looks to be a must of us DD activists -- nevertheless, let us consider this as a part of the "Top-Down" approach to the problem. Indeed, is not like people, as soon as they get the proper DD tools from the "Up" of the ICT providers, make DD follow automatically inside the "Down", whereas the active and aware individual's understanding of DD principles by the "Down" ICT user people would not be actually requested.

2) The second approaching way, which I call the "Grassroots Bottom-Up" way to DD, foresees common people being due themselves to build the new DD understanding actively and awarely, from the deepest of their grassroots communication relationships upwards. Actually, both the "Top-Down" and the "Bottom-Up" look to be the two sides of a same coin, each one of them being really necessary for DD to succeed. However, at the current time, the first seems to be a task of the ICT engineers not only, but also and especially, I must say, of just those social representatives and policy makers whom DD wants to get rid of. The second way seems to be a task of us common people, aiming at opening our minds and the minds of our neighborhood to the principles of DD.

Well now, I am neither an ICT engineer nor a RR politician, but a common "people in the street" who wants to speak DD together with the other "parents in the street", therefore my contribution to this DD Conference of Athens cannot but deal with the second side of the problem, that is, the know-how of the Grassroots Bottom-Up approach to DD. Of course, in order to explain DD to other people so as to make it become alive and fertile, some resistances must be treated and overcome.

Let me quote from Aki Orr's "Direct Democracy Manifesto, Introduction",
www.democracy-manifesto.org, about resistances against DD:

" Some people believe Direct Democracy (DD) will be far more complicated than Rule by Representatives (RR)...

" Some people will oppose Direct Democracy on principle even when convinced all its difficulties can be overcome. These people are Absolute Elitists...

" Making a decision implies responsibility for its results. Some fear this responsibility and therefore fear freedom. This is an attitude of children afraid of losing parental love. Adults suffering from fear of responsibility need support and help to overcome it. Fear of freedom and responsibility stems from immaturity. It can be treated and overcome... "

To this goal, as far as I can see, it looks as if there were two kinds of people: the RR-minded ones and the DD-minded ones. The course of DD is due to go from a majority of RR-minded to a majority of DD-minded people, and there is little doubt that a DD-minded collectivity will match the ICT tools in order to perform the DD social arrangement at the best. But there is also little doubt that a RR-minded collectivity will use the same ICT tools in order to keep on with the former RR social arrangement. Therefore, all what us common people must do, is looking for shifting ourselves from RR- to DD-mindedness, grassroots Bottom-Up re to the social arrangement. Clearly, this shifting looks to be a matter of education basicals, that is a matter of earliest family education in that space-time where every parent and every child is Directly involved.

Now the problem is how to make people's majority more openminded and flexible in their beliefs and behavioural procedures, according with our DD expectations. I searched for the age in which the young individual is more sensitive to the formative stimuli and for the particular nature of the latter. I found most sensitive the age from the O years of the child until the school age, when the family communication patterning, through an environmental pressure mechanism, selects and conditions, or imprints, the brain connections in the child. On this foundation the building of the individual -- her/his future way of life -- is erected: either autonomously flexible or rigidly psychodependent, that is, coming nearer to us, either DD- or RR-minded.

At the same time, I should make it clear that, in speaking of such polarities, DD- and RR-mindedness, I am only making an outline for purposes of exposition. I am not suggesting that they must be found in a "pure" form in any individual or situation, and, I must admit, I have felt some RR-mindedness traits also among those who say themselves to be DD. Rather, these represent poles of a continuous spectrum, and any person's behaviour can only tend towards one or the other. A multiplicity of factors -- including antecedent encounters -- intrude themselves in any real life situation. It is my hope that this beginning will prompt further research and understanding, leading to these being taken into account in a similar analytic way. But, what has to be kept in our minds, it is that the final amount of these behaviours will turn out into either Direct Democracy or Rule by Representatives social arrangement.

I've searched for the education basicals, focusing on the intensity of the educative messages and the utmost respect of child's initiatives. What I've found, it looks that in the special space-time, child's age from birth until schooling when parents are the only teachers, the family models on which the formation of the child's personality, either RR or DD-minded, depends, are two. (I do not want to waste your time with the detailed illustration of these models, that are shown in fig.3 and fig.5 below, because I've already enlarged this matter at www.flexible-learning.org).

About these models, suffice it to say that one (fig.3) bases on the 'No-Contradiction Principle' and leads children never to discuss the local Representative Authority; the other bases on dialectic and Critical Thinking, and leads individuals towards autonomous and direct assumption of one's own responsibilities from childhood onwards. Further I must say, out of everybody's evidence, no parent all over the world has been even made aware of these two different educative chances so late, thus, most of all within the RR-minded collectivities, the "Top-Down" family model (fig.3) is the only educative chance, whereas all RR-minded policy makers and politicians avoid carefully to put the "family educative model" subject into discussion. As soon as I theorized the connection between the use of language in the first family communication patterning and the shaping of children's brain frame, I realized that most parents are unaware of this chance, of this responsibility of their own. Thus, I concluded, they must be made aware sooner than later.

Of course, those who are RR-minded, who are the majority, will oppose any such Direct involvement of the Family institution aiming at turning the educative model from RR to DD. I have experienced much of deliberate obtuseness, actually rejecting any such involvement, mostly if declaredly aimed at developing DD. Actually, the development of DD looks to be caught inside a vicious circle, where a people's democratic majority do not want Direct Democracy to succeed.

There is but a way-out from this vicious circle. Conservative RR-minded parents and social authorities, even though they would oppose and reject any attempt for explaining and implementing the Principles of DD, could not but accept any suggestion or project aimed at improving their children's health. Well now, the same family model exposed in fig.5 is equally fit to prevent addiction in the youth, because the characteristics of human personality which a wise educative model must look for the implementation of both DD and Primary Prevention of drugs Addiction are the same: exactly, the autonomous flexible personality, trained to take upon oneself one's own individual and social responsibilities directly, from childhood onwards.

Therefore, esteemed DD supporters and activists, let us get people (their Education officials and policy makers) into searching more carefully for which family communication patterning may be the best for their children health, let your tax-payers boards know that there is a way to prevent the social damages due to the criminality of drugs addicts, out from the family educative model, no expense or copyright but only information to parents, and very soon you'll see pretty realized the grassroots Bottom-Up way to implement the principles of Direct Democracy, its understanding.

After all, isn't it the Primary Prevention of (drugs) Addiction in the youth, one of the main engagements which a wise Direct Democracy should deal with?

Antonio Rossin

top page

The "Top-Down" Family Model for RR

"Top-Down" family model

Both the relationship between the two parents FP-FM, and that between the parents FP+FM and the child FF, can be consensual only.

Within this family communication patterning the request for consent is strong, because it is based on the "No-contradiction Principle",-- each family member being due to submit his/her own consent to the dominant parent's statements.

Within this family model, any family practice is started after a subjective demand of (joined) parents, from the subjective role FP+FM to the objective role FF.

The family value given to FF is made authoritative because doubled by the joined consent of the leadership FP+FM, so allowing the child no choice.

The child FF is bound to GIVE her consent to keep on with her family relationship, which she knows she must always depend on for survival.

The family practice starts normally after a Top-Down inititative of the authority, which the child is thus trained to delegate any responsibility to. The subsequent environmental pressure conditions FF to search only for the leadership's consent out from her social and political environment.

From this family model on, the young individual is inclined always to join society in hierarchic relationship preferably, where s/he will keep on delegating the authority for any political responsibility and choice.

top page

The "Bottom-Up" Family Model for DD

"Bottom-Up" family model

Both the relationship between the two parents FP-FM, and that between the parents FP+FM and the child FF are opened to dialectics. Within this family communication patterning there is no request for compulsory consent because it bases on the comparison of opposite opinions.

When a parent (conveniently, FP) expresses a sentence, this means that he has expressed this sentence within "positive language" (+). If the other parent FM (or the significant other) would express an opinion being to some extent different from the first, this means that she has expressed the same sentence as FP, but within "negative language" (-).

The angle alpha in the chart is opened by the difference and comparison between the parents FP and FM just because their relationship is dialectic. This communication patterning provides the child FF with a real learning space, where she can behave "try and err". Hence she will learn how to perform her autonomy and responsibility and how to expose her own proposals and choices "Bottom-Up".

According to this "Bottom-Up" Family Model, the parental leadership starts no request for FF's consent. This family practice can be therefore started by the child's conscious demand, from the "Bottom" role of FF to the "Up" role of the family's and society's authority. Once become adult person, this child will preferably share Directly in society, no "Representative" being needed any more.

top page

Antonio Rossin
Neurologist - Family Doctor
45010, Ca' Vendramin (RO)

Last update: 07/08/03