Inadequacy of prevailing mental structures to challenge of human survival
Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Antiquated thought patterns Inadequacy of prevailing learning systems Inadequate intellectual and cognitive infrastructure to formulate effective global policies Cultural patterns degrading the environment
Much of society is trapped in antiquated thought patterns: narrow and hierarchical perspectives; deterministic, linear or emotive methods of reasoning; cause and effect perceptions of relationships; and shallow understandings of human spirit.
Computers help reinforce the mindset that has contributed to the disproportionate impact that Western societies have had on the degradation of the habitat through a Cartesian epistemology that reinforces instrumental problem solving. This ignores the importance of culture as a dimension of the current crisis and distracts from the real challenge, namely to begin to understand the difficult task of changing the conceptual and moral foundations of current cultural practices that reinforce current societal and environmental problems. There is as yet little understanding of how to reverse the demands made by cultures whose belief systems represent the environment as a natural resource and human choices as limited only by lack of data. The Cartesian mindset strengthens the myth of an anthropocentric universe and reinforces the objectification of the world. This establishes the rational process as a basis for procedural and constructionist thinking that facilitates an instrumental and explicit problem-solving approach to a world that is posited as mechanistic in nature.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.