The relationship among forces, whether these are antagonistic, collaborative or sympathetic, synergistic or randomly associated, presupposes an interaction of energy systems in which inertia, resistance and other properties inherent in each, causes a contra-tendency, sometimes balancing what is divergent, sometimes annihilating it. In artistic works a tension between compositional elements is spoken of. In group relationships and historic processes a creative tension is also observed. Such tension, however, appears to be unmanageable. Benign tension may occur, but destructive tension also exists in the psyche - horizontally, among instincts, or among feelings, or among ideas; and vertically between drives, emotions and thoughts, and between the sub-conscious and the conscious mind. Tension exists in human relationships, as in love, where the desire to possess and engulf is balanced by the need to protect and preserve the other as other. In political or international alliances there is a tension between the need to yield self-interest and to maintain self-interest. In hatred, the tension is between destroying the enemy at whatever cost, or diminishing the enemy at least cost. Ontologically the universe and its objects all regarded as real being, can be considering to fall in the sway of three forces; that which supports being by making things become as though guided by preexisting forms; that which makes all things that become pass away as though guided by an immutable power of change; and the third force between them on whose tensile strengths, like strings on a loom, the shuttle of reality moves. The finished product, the carpet of the world as we perceive it, is a product of threaded knots and tensions, but the patterns are numerous, and sometimes indecipherable.
Without tension there is no possibility of change and without change there is only stasis and death.
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.