Culture, not ideology, is the primary force of our politics. We cannot grow our democracy without transforming our culture. So, culture-building is one the three pillars of the GDProject.

Everything we do and everything in our lives is a product of our culture. As it shapes us and everything in our lives we are shaping it by how we live and relate. Yes, all of us are responsible for it. 

For the Growing Democracy Project that means we can shape our culture to become more deeply democratic by changing how we live and relate. This creative potential of people gives the Project its basic orientation.

Our politics, then, is fundamentally about how we live and relate with each other regarding how we organize and distribute our collective power and resources. 


Our culture embeds its structures, norms, and practices in us 24/7. As individuals we are dynamic recipients of this process, not passive recipients. Each of us uniquely embodies this package in the form of dispositions for being and acting in our world. 

So, we are the agents of our living and relating.

Our dispositions shape the patterned ways we respond to our daily life events, and, to a large extent, orient us ideologically. We usually refer to the combined outcome of this dynamic process as one’s “personality.” However, this concept highlights only the subjective aspect of one’s being, the unique embodying aspect of the cultural process. 

Here’s a more useful and creative way to capture this combined outcome: There is an In-Here in you and in me, there is an Out-There in our world. They are different, but inseparable. Picture the double-helix:


Together they are the two living dimensions of culture as well as the two living dimensions of the individual. Together they are the dynamic process by which we 

  • become who and what we become, 
  • sustain and develop that identity over the trajectory of our lives, 
  • reproduce, adapt, transform, and transmit our culture, which is what makes all of this possible.  


The GDProject’s notion of root democracy captures all of this, while Transformative Learning (TL) is an emerging educational approach to empower both our agency and our connectedness.

Major components