Community, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Consensus

Following on from the Sunday Sayings post about Truth – [which seems like a topical theme at the moment, given the preponderance of so- called fake news, in our world], is Consensus.

The Effects of Consensus

Is Consensus a noble objective, or can it be implicated in watering down any goals, objectives or even, progress that a group, workplace or family unit, might make?

Consensus in a group, setting, might mean respecting differing opinions and finding that sometimes illusive, “middle ground.” The group seeking consensus might be a family, a workplace or a community of individuals.

Some believe that in order to get agreement on group issues and direction, it is important to have a background of common values and goals and thus, workplace employees are often selected on that basis, when they begin employment. That makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, like-minded people, tend to agree, don’t they?


Intertwined in this concept of consensus and truth, is the complication that everyone is an individual, and comes with a pre-set of values, developed via their upbringing, culture, or their own personal bias. Our previous discussion on ‘Truth,’ appears to indicate that truth, like individual opinions, can vary greatly according to each person’s perspective and a given moment in time, as Mann suggests below:

Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.

Horace Mann

This link claims, “Consensus implies that everyone accepts and supports the decision, and understands the reasons for making it.”

Sounds great in theory, doesn’t it? Everyone having a say, and everyone agreeing with one end decision after a friendly discussion? The world should therefore be a happy place, if consensus ruled. But then there is this:

As consensus does not imply perfect unanimity, it implies that the majority of people express a particular view, which is accepted as the consensus by all the members including those who actually oppose it. The dissent of the opposition is sacrificed in the interests of the harmony among the members or in the larger interests of the organization.

Group Harmony and Acquiescence

The words posted above suggests that dissent is sacrified in the interests of harmony. That means some folks might give in. Are they really always happy about that?

Are they adult enough to side with harmony for the common good?

Does this happen in Politics?

Some will be confident enough in their self-concept and objectives to accept the outcome, or let go of dearly held viewpoints, for the sake of harmony, or for the good of the group, whilst for others, it will eat away at them, and perhaps also at group dynamics.

Might this lead eventually, to mutiny in the workplace and conflict, in the family group or political sphere?

The Blog Endless Weekend, also was moved to probe at this concept of truth in a recent post on Consensus.

Collective Responsibility of the Team

I feel the degree of collective responsibility within a given group, something more commonly referred to as team effort, or being a responsible team player, could perhaps, be one factor in overriding any concerns of jealousy, resentment or disregard in finalizing decisions.

How mature are we at handling group conflict and disagreement?

Do you always seek consensus in a group setting? Are you always happy if the outcome is progressive, even if your concerns were not elucidated or discussed?


Does a powerful boss or leader intimidate the group so that the following might be true?

Sunday Sayings Weekly Proverb

“The squeaky wheel gets the most grease.”

American proverb

Are you a vocal or silent team player?

What do you think of the quotes and proverbs presented this week?

I invite you to join in the discussion here on Sunday Sayings.

Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi should have the last word –

Sunday Sayings – Something Topical to Ponder About today

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21 thoughts on “Sunday Sayings – Consensus”

  1. Obama struggled for this for so long … And since he left, he’s continued to struggle to – ahh – see it achieved. Or even a bit.
    But the world has gone mad for partisanship, and not just in politics.
    I don’t expet the pendulum to swing back in my time.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe it will. I think mankind’s entire thinking history consists of r-ls followed by l-rs: I dont consider it possible for either movement of the pendulum to be so strong as to simply sit up there in stasis.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes it was so shocking to think Obama was almost stuck despite his powerful position. But then if yo have read anything about the alt right, it seems the Democrats will never overcome underhanded tactics and manipulation by the opposite side. I hope it won’t become like that here.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is timely. I’ve just finished reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography. What an amazing woman. I didn’t know a presidential couple could be so missed. Gandhi’s and Shaw’s quotes are my favourites. And I’m usually a vocal team player.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have always thought she was an inspirational person. I believe she sobbed when she finally left the White House? Did she discuss that?
      I can’t imagine you would be on the quiet side! More like a born leader!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think consensus is more readily achieved when all parties feel they have been truly listened to. If you feel that your feelings have been acknowledged, your genuine and well-rehearsed objections have been truly heard, and when you have offered exactly the same courtesy to the other side, real movement can take place. That’s when a discussion can take place which shouldn’t involve both of you in settling for orange. In fact, on paper, one may ‘gain’ more than the other. But if the other party no longer feels they are involved in a battle they have to win, that may be genuinely OK. Understanding breeds tolerance. This is all a bit idealistic – but I do believe it. Politicians might try it a bit more often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “one may ‘gain’ more than the other. But if the other party no longer feels they are involved in a battle they have to win, that may be genuinely OK. Understanding breeds tolerance. ”
      Understanding – and listening. That is the real key isn’t it, Margaret. Open our ears to listen – really listen to the other side. Feed back to them what it is you think they are saying. This is get clarification. In important discussions, this is so critical to understanding. Very few people do it.
      Of course, you would not want to feedback every item they said, like a parrot, but paraphrasing their words and asking for clarification can work wonders, don’t you think?
      Politicians are more focused on spin in their dialogue with everyone. I have never heard a politician paraphrase anything for clarification! And they should be the masters of communication!
      Better communication skills should be included in school curriculums!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I like to think we are independent free thinkers with an opinion but sadly social media on a mass scale has so warped the truth I’m not sure what we should follow and believe any more.. We might give in for the sake of harmony but did we have the facts and truths to begin with.. 😉


    1. Excellent point, Lisa. What is the real truth? The original truth? It differs according to perspective, and can be very individual. I think we should go by our instincts, ( we already naturally go by our own values), and in doing so, walk a tightrope between finding that harmonious balance, and maintainting and being able to communicate our point of view without losing integrity. Does that make sense? Give a little, but also find a way to consensually compromise without losing what you see is important. I think communication in all parties is paramount if we are able to attain that ultimate perfect solution.


  5. Having the different inputs be heard is a benefit of consensus, but it is not unique to that decision making process. In consultative decision making, people are heard as well, and then the decision maker weighs them, and makes the decision.

    Think of a relatively simple decision, like what to have for lunch. If some people are set on sushi and some on chicken bbq, would the mid way point be having raw chicken? 🤪 brings back “A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.”

    And then there’s … well, this:
    Yes, been there, more than once…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hilarious cartoon, Endless Weekend! With a sting of truth. Who would be happy with raw chicken? Point well made. So there is no real consensus if the leader imposes a middle ground decision?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Would NASA still be trying to reach consensus on decisions rather than landing on the moon 50 years ago?
        Would Tesla have produced such beautiful, innovative cars if they used consensus?

        If the team believes in the vision and capabilities of the leader (notice, leader, not manager, and, yes, that’s a big if), consultative decision making should work… maybe the leader would decide after listening to the different options presented by the team that lunch today is going to be salads? In any case, it won’t be raw chicken 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agree. I think we have nutted out whether consenses is good or bad or somewhere in between. It comes down to the leader and their behaviour. It is ironice that the success of such a collective notion comes down to one person – potentially!


  6. This post goes well with the film I saw today, Merchants of Doubt. Fascinating. There is talk also about the consensus of science on climate change. In the media world, they give an opportunity to be heard also to the dissenting minority of “scientists”. Who are paid by big money to express “doubt”. Not much longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well it is incredible that they get any airtime, these tin foil hat wearing denialists. When has any other conspiracy theory been given so much merit in the face of hard facts? Ridiculous. They say the problem it seems is the delay in getting the evidence. Also ridiculous. I was learning about this stuff in the eighties. It was science then and it is still science now, only to a worse degree.

      Liked by 1 person

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