We are building a public deliberation method for any issues of importance to users. Everyone is invited – our software will be free.
8 shapes for compassionate understanding
To clarify our own thinking, express what we mean specifically, and understand others, ushin sorts out 8 different basic “shapes of meaning”:
A list of feelings and needs is handy for finding the words to describe your personal experiences. Thoughts, facts, merits, people, actions, and topics are specific to your situation.
Meeting the Need for Clear Communication
In face-to-face and online communication, we often jumble feelings, concepts, facts, people, actions, topics and needs, punctuated with judgements. We get triggered. We don’t get our needs met. We speak without considering the value and effect of our utterances.
These 8 shapes help us to formulate clear, comprehensive messages and also to understand the merit in what others have to say. The way of thinking that these shapes offer is useful for understanding and resolving personal, relationship, family, group and social issues.
From face-to-face to online (and back again)
We are developing a system for sharing, finding, and deliberating information that matters based on these shapes. People will be able to use the 8 shapes on existing popular platforms, programs and websites, and by adding tags to create a digital public commons where we can meet around issues for understanding and deliberate actions in solidarity with each other.
The inspiration for ushin
Universal shared information, ushin, builds on Nonviolent Communication, NVC, a powerful method to clarify underlying human motivations and elicit compassionate connections and behaviors. Ushin shapes include kinds of meaning that may needlessly complicate interpersonal dialogue, yet are necessary for comprehensive understanding and deliberative action especially among groups of people and/or for complex issues.
NVC models 4 kinds of meaning:
- Observations, or Facts, include what we each witness with our senses such as personal experience or journal articles we read. By owning what we observe we stand up for ourselves and in hearing others do the same we recognize assumptions and appreciate different truths in different experiences.
- Feelings include all of the emotions such as mad, sad, glad, and scared and their infinite combinations and nuances.
- Needs include physical, emotional, mental and spiritual conditions for human health. These are the core values of NVC, ones that all humans share, the recognition in each other being the key to compassion. Again, a list of needs is handy.
- Requests, or Actions include what we want others, and sometimes ourselves, to do, specifically.
Lists of feelings and needs are handy for finding the words to describe internal, personal observations. Facts and requests are specific to your situation.
Ushin models 4 additional kinds of meaning:
- Thoughts include attitudes, judgements and recommendations, as well as methods of reasoning, knowing and judging.
- People include individuals, tribes, groups, nationalities, classes and all of humanity, among other categories.
- Topics include related subjects to consider and honor separately.
- Merit is a system of ranking and filtration.
A list of thoughts is handy for finding the words to describe your reasoning and judgement. People, Merits and Topics are specific to your situation.