“We’re just two people and a bunch of websites”
In Danish, the word Borgerlyst is a combination of Borger (citizen) and Lyst (desire, urge, delight, inclination) and comes out to “civic desire.” As a play on the term “civic duty” which deals with obligations and expectations, Borgerlyst is a positive indulgence that makes connections with the surrounding society. It’s the warm pleasure felt when something experienced across a group of people is improved (for everyone).
Without any legal structure, this initiative aims to build awareness of these civic urges by bringing people together to connect and realize that desire. Borgerlyst reframes participation as pleasure rather than a duty for a new positive outlook to push away cyclical blame games and complaining on societal issues.
They awaken agency (capacity to act) first from understanding why others think, feel, act, react and vote how they do through constructive conversation. As meaningful and fertile conversations do not come as easily, Borgerlyst holds conversation salons which strangers talk about random and unusual topics to exercise their skills to become more comfortable with each other.
In addition to the conversation gym, they try to move away from thinking within categories to promote free cross pollination of ideas across disciplinary, organizational, political and cultural boundaries. To open up the possibility of collaboration between different people who share the desire to make a positive impact and in the process learn new skills, perspectives and people. Anyone can offer answers to questions like ‘how to establish a line of communication between public and civic sectors’ or ‘how to develop policy through online tools’ in the open development ‘pot lucks.’
A crucial shaping belief of Borgerlyst is that neither society nor democracy are perfect, rather in a state of continuous change and development. The improvement depends on presence and engagement, with the courage to challenge the status quo and learn from past mistakes. Most importantly, this means willing to experiment – which begins at inspiration.
It’s always an open-ended question to keep up with the uncertainty of constant flux.