weak interactions

WEAK INTERACTIONS is contrasting to the STRONG INTERACTIONS and EPHEMERAL ENCOUNTERS we are experiencing in our normal daily life.

Strong interactions are the default ones: we know some people well, we love and hate some of their features, we have mutual financial interests in each other, and we have to co-operate on certain tasks. We are in strong interactions with the members of our family and our distance relatives, with friends and with our fellow workers. In each encounter we re-enact an age-old game, and every encounter brings the balance of our whole common past.

Although very much justified psychologically – the feeling of belonging to someone, somewhere, the positive effects of empathy and solidarity – they are not much help at deliberating and deciding things in a wider group context.

All problems that we face in our representative model of democracy are coming from strong interactions. The members of political and administrative class act together as a closely-knit group full of strong interactions. All conflict of intent or opinion represent rather a new phase of an age-old duel, than a will of finding the best solution. All co-operation is based on back-rubbing, behind-the-scenes agreements, rather than a prudent deliberating of the public good.

Strong interactions in wider groups (work, politics, public administration) are responsible for negative group dynamics, negative selection, high exposure to corruption.

On the other hand, EPHEMERAL ENCOUNTERS are not real interactions. We pass by someone, and – according to some social rules – we co-operate on one chip of activity: we sell and buy a ticket, decide who can cross the crossing first. No deliberation involved.

However, WEAK INTERACTION is the ultimative discussion and decision tool. In a weak interaction we can concentrate on the sole purpose of the interaction. We do not know much more about the others than their opinions and attitutde to and about the issue at hand. And we do not need to know more. Discussion is about exposing ideas, deliberating options, trying to change minds based on focused arguments about the issue.

And this is not just a whisful thinking, but has become a reality. Weak interactions exisist between twitter followers and blog writers, readers and commenters. Not a perfect one, but way better than anything else.

It is properly the weak interactions we need to have in NextDemocracy to reach a higher quality of decisions about public policy issues than the present, representative system can deliver.

How? In NextDemocracy the participants are anonymous, their individual votes are untraceable, yet they can come together on this platform, discuss the issues, formulate decision options, and cast a vote.


Wanna see more?

Advocates of weak interaction (although using other terms) at TED:


Howard Rheingold: Way-new collaboration


Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. collaboration




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