A process in which complex stable systems can undergo sudden transitions to new self-maintaining arrangements which will in turn be stable for a relatively long time, when restructured by larger hierarchical patterns. In general, a stable hierarchical structure from the lowest levels (molecules, enzyme cycles, etc) up to a given level (cell or organism, for example) grows to a new structure because it comes in contact with new and different materials or information or another such structure ([eg] another organism). This can make the patterns unstable at the highest level until there is resolution (conflict, cooperation) with restructuring either by breaking apart or by a new organization at a level higher than the given level, to make a new stable pattern encompassing the larger experience of the larger system. Some transformations of viruses are examples of hierarchical restructuring and some cancers may be also. Some forms of cultural change may be analogous, such as westernization.
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.