In this volume of Eruditio, we continue our emphasis on challenging ideas that can change the world. The first article by Zbigniew Bochniarz, “Comment: An Economist’s Reflections on Individuality, Human & Social Capital & the Responsibility of Academia: The Case of Poland and Central-Eastern Europe,” is an elegantly concise and sharp insight into the importance of human and social capital to the idea of individuality and additionally, provides an insight to the importance of human and social capital as a development priority and responsibility of academia. The author demonstrates that in the transformation of Poland, the country invested in the development of human and social capital in the context of higher education. This insight is important for the Fellows of the Academy. It means that investments in science and intellectual life are major forms of capital investment. The Polish success story seems to be a prototype that possibly should be replicated.

The second article is by Simeon Anguelov, titled, “Rationality in a Complex World: Pushing Back the Frontiers”. It is a brilliant and insightful voyage into the inner workings of rationality. The author recognizes that rationality is important for problem solving. One could add it is critical for rationality to also recognize the problem that is to be solved. He notes that the conventional wisdom of rationality is that it is a faculty insulated from emotion or sentiment. In short, he expresses the idea that rationality is an isolated and purely a faculty of formal logical calculation. He reminds us that rationality is tied to consciousness which is a late evolutionary development and consciousness is not confined to the brain but to the entire living system. He also examines the problems that limit rationality, mainly matters which include the evolution of self entrapped complexity. He considers the prospect of a form of directed incrementalism to avoid this trap and to liberate the creative potentials of society.

Richard Hames’ “A Civilized Society: Preparing the World-System for Redesign” raises the important question of the imperfections of the perspective of a shared world view that currently captures the attention of human social participants. He underscores the limitations of this point of view including the difficulties within it of eliminating war or adapting to climate change. The central idea is our paradigm does not generate a universal empathetic form of identification that can lead to global solidarity and a better human prospect. Hames suggests some ways in which that we may move forward in this regard.

Garry Jacobs’ “The World as Web,” provides us with a sophisticated, evolutionary understanding of human communications networks. He stresses the point that the interdependence and inter-determination of social process are the lines of communications networks shaping the forms of relationships between the participators and social interaction. What Jacobs sees in the wise and self-conscious development of global communications networks is that they have the power to generate an almost unlimited expansion of social productivity and human welfare. The piece underlines just how crucial are the global communications processes for the future evolution of humanity.

Pieter J.D. Drenth’s “Bridging Political, Cultural and Religious Divides: The Role of Academies of Sciences and Humanities” is a timely and important paper. It is a paper that in a sense recognizes that the institutions of global academies of art and science have not established an appropriate reach and understanding with the equivalent type of institutions in the Muslim world. At present the Western academic tradition does not recognize how central in history the Muslim academic tradition has been in maintaining and preserving the intellectual and scientific traditions of an earlier time and how much of these traditions have been transmitted to the West in time to contribute to the renaissance of learning. This article therefore can be read as an invitation to collaborate across the cultural and religious divide. Components of science and intellectual excellence might certainly be the common ground to deepen our understandings.

In “Social Evolution,” Janani Harish has used the 19th century novel “Pride and Prejudice” as a vehicle to explore the changing dynamics of individualism and class barriers. She draws from Jane Austen important lessons about the evolutionary dynamics of class, accommodation and possible conflict. She sees in the Jane Austen novel the working through of class differences in which romantic love is the key to the breaking of social barriers. In this sense, class barriers are not impenetrable and inevitable barriers between people. But as the novel shows, the characters have to work through powerful cultural inhibitors, and work through complex emotions and feelings and find a form of connectedness in the end. In a sense, the work of writers such as Jane Austen provides us with a more gentle evolutionary approach to social change rather than one racked by the trauma of violent revolution.

Ashok Natarajan’s “The Relationship between European Integration and the End of the Cold War: Lessons for Global Peace and Development.” Natarajan alertly notes that the European Union received a Nobel Peace prize in 2012. The event requires some contemplation. In the longer view of European history the Union has been a remarkable instrument in generating continent wide peace. In short, it has been a powerful instrument of peace. It has also generated an important and enviable level of social well being. Natarajan suggests that the US as a power after World War II served as a catalyst for European integration. The success of the European experiment clearly had an influence on the state run political economies of Eastern Europe and probably served as a perspective generating influence for change. Natarajan’s piece provides some interesting insights and perspectives about the broader implications of political and economic integration in Europe.

Michael Marien’s “Book Review – Bankrupting Nature: Denying Our Planetary Boundaries” is an insightful review of Whiteman and Rockström’s Report to the Club of Rome. The Report is a concise and very useful update on the central problem which is the title of his review, bankrupting nature. The discourse is focused on the idea of planetary boundaries and the question that if you pretend they do not exist, you may be damaging major interests of the earth space community. The review integrates the ideas that human activity is a significant force in changing the capacity of the earth as a biosphere to sustain long term human survival. The review stresses the importance of nine biophysical processes as important markers for giving greater specificity to the challenges of climate change. This review is a brilliant and concise statement of the central challenges that we confront in terms of climate change today.

 “ValuesQuest,” by Martin Palmer and Karl Wagner, is a discussion paper that provides a background to the Club of Rome’s recent initiative to explore the centrality of values to the future of humanity. Values are the main drivers of our social evolution and fundamentally shape the world we live in. The authors provide a philosophical and historical underpinning by exploring the origins of values and stress the substantial role of stories in transmitting and changing value systems. The underlying theme of the article is, values need to be addressed to change the course of social evolution and to enable a more humane and just society to develop, a sweeping insight that addresses the root cause of the challenges facing humankind.

Gerald Gutenschwager, in his article “Is Economics a Value Free Science?,” argues the need for a human-centered economics that develops itself as a social science, a value-laden, reality-based economics that provides a cooperative, holistic framework which seeks to maximize all human needs both material and non-material. He stresses that economists should accept moral responsibility for defending theories and policies that support a predatory system based on greed and fear. He challenges the cornerstone assumption of contemporary orthodox economics, which is divorced from social sciences, that society is an aggregation of isolated individuals; human behavior, he argues, is a product of consciousness and intention, a radical insight that can form the basis for a theory of economic science.

In “Limits to Rationality and the Boundaries of Perception”, Garry Jacobs inquires into the fundamental nature and functioning of Mind. He explains how rationality, an instrument of the human mind, has its inherent limits when it tries to ‘know’. No matter how disinterested and objective mind is, its very nature poses severe constraints in that it tends to view reality in terms of polar opposites and irreconcilable contradictions and focus on only one side of the truth. He also expresses a striking idea that the apparently insoluble problems confronting humanity today are the result of mind’s divisive, piecemeal functioning, an idea which forms the basis for formulating comprehensive solutions to the pressing challenges facing humanity today. This, he adds, can only be done by an all-inclusive perspective that sees the society as an integral whole.

Michael Marien’sBook Review — Dancing at the Edge” is an insightful review of a book by WAAS Fellow Maureen O’Hara and Graham Leicester, which is a comprehensive examination of the times we live in. The book is based on the authors’ extensive research and their practical experience observing the qualities demonstrated by some of today’s most successful cultural, political and business leaders — “persons of tomorrow,” as the authors call them. They bring out a powerful thought that each of us possesses such innate human capacities. The author makes a special comment by comparing and contrasting Ivo Slaus’ and Garry Jacobs’ usage of the term “Genius” in their Cadmus article “Recognising Unrecognised Genius” with the “persons of tomorrow”.

In “Adelaide’s Lament”, Ruben Nelson argues that nothing less that a civilizational change is needed to overcome the challenges facing humanity today. He underlines the importance of conscious human choice in shaping the evolution of the society. He emphasizes strongly that those in power must come to accept and embrace a fundamentally new view of our work in the 21st Century, that of becoming the first form of civilization in history to consciously change the course of social evolution. The author highlights the point that human evolution need not be tragic and that it’s our perspective that matters. If we change our perspective, our past, present and the future change. No form of civilization, he adds, remains fixed; we have to stop promising ourselves we have the right to preserve the form of our civilization.He further explores the reductionist/materialist bias of the modern/developed regions and points out the need for a holistic grasp on reality.