Such a reaction may include varying degrees of non-perception, mis-perception, non-recognition, non-understanding, or non-acceptance of certain realities in order to cope with otherwise unacceptable intra-psychic conflicts, feelings or memories. People also unconsciously resort to denial as a reaction to threats that they feel unable to cope with; such denial in turn detracts from and inhibits their potential ability to resolve problems realistically. Another aspect of non-acceptance of reality is the failure to comprehend the consequences of an event that has not only never been experienced personally, but is unimaginable because of its extraordinary magnitude.
Modern examples are the threats of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. The difficulty of facing the massive and unprecedented nature of these threats may be so great that many people simply choose to ignore their existence, or meet the threat with the notion of 'it can't happen to us'.
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.