We need a new way of communicating about the truth

The medium is the message / the medium is the massage 

— Marshall McLuhan

The existing methods of "truth-telling" are obsolete. News-style prose is old technology and has been exploited to the point of uselessness. The art of Orwellian doublespeak - communicating lies in order to make a certain impression in the listener, regardless what words are actually spoken - has been so finely honed at this point that someone with enough training can deceive the masses without fail. News-style prose, and any paragraph-style communication medium, whether it be in television interviews or Congressional hearings, is not effective at finding truth.

The problems with the old news formats are many. They are one-way, broadcast communications, spoken from one voice and from a single perspective. On the one hand, they are playgrounds for propagandists to spread disinformation through dismissing or distorting the facts. For authors striving to be neutral and fair, on the other hand, accusations of bias and fraud - or even malice or treason - are completely out of their control. Reality Upside Down characterizations have become commonplace.

We need a new way to communicate truths which we can all feel good about believing in.

Making the old model obsolete

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

— Buckminster Fuller             

Argument maps were specifically designed to help clarify confusion when collaborators disagree. By using argument maps, Concordis accomplishes these critical goals.

  • The four D's of disinformation are removed: Dismissing, distorting, distracting, and dismaying.
  • The best arguments and counter-arguments are placed right next to their most persuasive rebuttals and counter-rebuttals.
  • Groupthink is minimized because all premises are explicit, allowing them to be questioned and challenged.
  • The public can hear directly from the best collaborators on any issue - climate scientists, lawyers, eye-witnesses, etc. Media conglomerates, journalists, pundits, politicians, activists, and lobbyists are no longer required middlemen.

"Intersubjectivity"

The kind of truth we need right now.

Imagine an artist's studio. A group of painters sits in a circle around a subject. Each paints the subject from their own perspective, including their own inevitable human biases in their paintings. When they are finished, the paintings are shown to someone with no personal experience of the original subject.

Even though that person has never seen the subject, they are able to understand it from all perspectives. Their mind combines all of the paintings into one cohesive understanding, smoothing discrepancies when paintings disagree.

The collaboration of the community of experts (the painters) allows the person to see which painters have distorted the truth. The person will effortlessly delete those paintings from their understanding of the subject. In this way:

  • Clear communication is supported
  • Inevitable human biases and fair margins of error are accommodated
  • The representations of bad faith actors are marginalized
  • And, the reputations of those bad faith actors - those willfully at odds with their peers - suffer as they should

Intersubjectivity is the central guilding principle behind the design of the Concordis mediation platform.

James Tolley


Hello and welcome.

I am intensely interested in stories, what we agree about and call the truth, and how we can skillfully navigate conflict, both in interpersonal dialogue and in mass media.

I am interested in the tensions within and between systems on every level. Being a couples communication coach, Concordis is a way for me to take what I've learned about negotiating interpersonal conversational stresses and applying that understanding to online communications.

The first thing that needs to happen before constructive communication can occur between two people is that they need to be free from intimidation and fear. Concordis does this by removing bias, innuendo, and logical fallacies. Nothing is personal, nothing is an attack. All arguments are as clear and neutral as possible. No one needs to change their minds about anything. No one is under any obligation. Everyone is always at choice about whether to participate or not.

The next thing to take care of is: everyone needs to feel that they will have an opportunity to say whatever is on their mind. All relevant information is welcome and deserves to be considered and answered.

Then, a community is included in order for the wisdom of the group - which includes all of the most informed perspectives from across the spectrum of informed belief - to make itself known. Areas of consensus and areas of contention will become clear and will be explicit. Areas where further examination or communication is warranted will also receive attention. The argument map document type grows in the area of greatest remaining uncertainty and stops growing in areas which enjoy community consensus.

All stakeholders - that is, everyone who is paying attention to a given conversation - will be represented in the group of collaborating authors by their own thought leaders Everyone will see their own perspectives included in the argument map as first-class citizens, alongside the best counter-arguments, rebuttals, and counter-rebuttals. Because of this, each map will be relevant to everyone interested in the topic.

When accusations of bias or malice are made by thought leaders, those leaders will be invited to specify what they disagree with and to present their evidence. In this way, argument maps will be resilient to such accusations.

 

The process of resolving problems has two phases: the consensus-building phase and the action phase. It's not possible to move to the action phase until there is agreement about the problems, their causes, and possible solutions. As a society, we are currently cycling endlessly through the consensus-building phase and we are therefore not able to address or resolve our major societal problems.

The goal of Concordis is to be able to create consensus such that we are able to move to the action phase of problem solving.

It is not necessary for us to either believe or disbelieve that 97% of climate scientists believe that global warming is caused by human activity and is an urgent threat. We can simply ask them. That's the goal of Concordis. I hope you will join us.