Disorder, an unstructured state of affairs, while necessary for change to occur, as a permanent state is destructive to society and to the individual. The structured patterns of animal conduct, such as, the spinning of webs by spiders or the building of nests by birds, is in the inherited nervous systems of the species. The innate releasing mechanisms by which these patterns are determined are for the most part stereotyped. The human species is distinguished by the fact that the action releasing mechanisms of its central nervous system are for the most part not stereotyped but open. They are susceptible, consequently, to the influence of imprintings from the society in which the individual grows up. The human child acquires its character, upright stature, ability to speak, and the vocabulary of its thinking under the influence of a culture, an open, flexible, but limited and limiting social form. Without this order the child cannot become a defined and competent member of some specific, efficiently functioning social group.
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.