Collapse in the meaning of participating in society
Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Reduced social commitment of contemporary life-styles Disillusionment with life aspirations
People seek the purpose of existence in their work, family, society, and cultural tradition, many of which no longer give meaning. As a part of real, everyday experience, people in the 20th Century have seen a collapse many of the understandings that gave meaning to their hopes and ambitions. While in the midst of bitter disillusionments and painful failures in aspiration, the individual comes to doubt his own creative worth in society. Nevertheless, a deep desire for creative action is retained. The more doubts there are, the stronger the desire to express creatively; while the experience of futility impels the destruction of others' creations. There is a collapse in the meaningfulness of social participation.
Many people lose track of life's purpose and direction and lead their lives in a continued state of confusion and aimlessness. Celebrations of expenditure are limited to one's personal achievement. Images of social role are reduced to one's personal satisfaction. Social responsibility, outside the legal dimension, is reduced to oneself or one's family. The context out of which one works is this week, until the week end or these few years until retirement.
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.
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