In This Issue

Yehezkel Dror is a world acclaimed social and political scientist. He is also an acute observer of the central issues of war and peace. In a sense, “Saving Humanity from Itself” is an admission of the limits of rational science on world politics and the author has decided to express himself as a world citizen with moral outrage. Specifically he is observing the slaughter in Syria and the role of the big powers including Western Europe. According to him, Western Europe has condemned itself to impotence by relying on the myth of soft-power. This myth is confronted by “a world still dominated by hard power.” In a sense, this proposes a profound challenge to the implications of the Draft Declaration on the Right to Peace.

Building up European Solidarity: A view from the East” by Emil Constantinescu looks at the challenges that are emerging that may have the possibility of fracturing the unity of the European Union. Using the historical context the author traces the history and traditions of South Eastern Europe and the role this region has played in the advancement of civilization, cultural creativity and indeed, European identity. In the Fourth Millennium B.C., the region was transformed by the migration of Indo-European groups. In time, the groups were integrated in a way that constitutes the historical roots of Europe as a whole. It should be remembered that the region itself had many discrete pockets of cultural identity. On the other hand, creative communication as well as the influence of stoic philosophy and Christianity generated a multi-cultural world with degrees of autonomy and degrees of integration on interdependence. The author seems to imply that the cement which prevented these communities from fragmenting, was the fact that they all bought into the democratic spirit. The democratic spirit had a commitment to freedom of communication which led groups to understand their distinct cultural identity as well as their patterns of common interest and similarity in shared democratic values. Thus we see pluralism today co-existing with the continent-wide solidarity infused with respect for diversity. Europe’s oldest experiment has many lessons to teach the current generation.

The Deep Blue Sea: Challenges and Opportunities for Higher Education and the World” by Roseann O’Reilley Runte is an interesting essay in which the author underscores the importance of being alert to the challenges posed by education and scientific progress and the vital importance of higher education for the public interest. To give you one illustration, the revolution in information technology and near instantaneous communication is accompanied by abuses of this information technology and the flooding of communication systems with misinformation and incorrect data. These advances challenge us to determine truth from untruth. We might add the advanced technologies have been the cause of unemployment because they replace human labor. The author reminds us that a great deal has been said about the cost of higher education. These same voices say nothing about the cost of limiting education. She reminds us “that societies with well-educated populations are rich not only in ideas, but in extraordinary cultures and strong economic development.” She makes an important pitch for the importance of interdisciplinary perspectives and a good deal more. This is an extremely insightful essay.

In “BioPolicy–Creating Positive Momentum to Save Bios,” Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis underlines the problem of the greedy, arrogant society driven by conspicuous consumption. This society relishes short term profit, the destruction of irreplaceable natural capital and is heedless of accelerated global warming. She provides the call to save the bios and suggests strategies and techniques to reach the few who exercise control over the world’s wealth. She suggests that we need a new Parthenon with a global reach by inspirational leaders. This will require a form of public education of global importance and intensity. It requires as well the collaboration of media and modern communications. She calls for a bio assessment of technological capacity as well as a bank of accessible ideas to provide momentum and dynamism for new initiatives. Among the important ideas she puts forth are the creation of genetic banks for the conservation of genetic diversity; she calls for redefining the notions of profit and gain and also calls for changing business education, mobilizing the arts, and a good deal more. The author is a leading force in global bio-politics and has generated powerful and important thoughts for improving the prospect of human survival.

In Search of Islands of Sanity,” a short article by Charles Smith, is one of the most far reaching that I have read on the role of leadership, its mental prerequisites and moral components. Smith begins the article by suggesting that the conventional methods which conventional science has given us seem to make no difference on how the world is run. Central to this assumption is that the relationships in private or public sectors have broken down. This requires new innovative paradigm thinking. Central to the idea of paradigm thinking is the effort to locate one’s self in spaces of sanity. In these spaces we begin to communicate in terms of the values of compassion, kindness and affection that provide for progressive human-centered mutuality. It is a short critique of leadership today. For example, according to Dutton, CEO is a profession of most psychopaths. He then takes us into fringes of new frontiers of physical thinking, Einstein and quantum physics. The quantum world is a world that is replete with amazing communications possibilities. Indeed, an essential element of the quantum world is the principle of non-locality. In short, in the quantum world communication over vast distances at the microscopic level is instantaneous. The implication of Smith is that the communication of empathy, solidarity, kindness and mutuality may have the possibility of generating constructive patterns of mutuality for the improvement of humanity. He gives several examples of mutuality emerging in odd places. He also insists that the development of human consciousness is a pathway to human mutuality and improved performance. He then provides nine steps to cultivate an improved level of consciousness and this includes such issues as relational identity, the Merlin factor, and a whole range of other challenging ideas that are rooted in the interconnectedness of all matter and the potentials of human consciousness in shaping humanity’s future. This is a challenging essay and I am confident that the Fellows of the Academy will enjoy reading it.

The concern of the United Nations over the threat of climate change has raised an important question of how human society and in particular, its economics, can be reshaped to reduce the impact of climate change on the viability of the earth system. One of the important issues that has become obvious is that society’s economic organization must be made sustainable and at the same time, be organized in a way so as to reduce the threat of climate change. From these discourses emerged the importance of the concept of the green economy as a method that improves human wellbeing, social justice, and at the same time reduces environmental risks and food scarcity. In “Green Economy and Sustainable Development: The Latin American Scenario,” Ione do Santos Velame and Joanilio Teixeira seek to clarify structure and the variables that may be put into a scientifically measurable form to determine quantitatively what progress has been made with economies being oriented to the green imperative. To this end, they utilized and developed the Green Economy Index and then applied this model to the context of Latin America. The green economy context builds on a geometrically constructed magic triangle and this integrates ecology, society and economy. This approach requires the simultaneous development from a multitude of variables which in turn emerged in another geometrical expression, the magic square. The ordering of the magic square had to be further developed into a form called the magic hypercube. These geometric models permit more effective and integrated measurement of the impact of green factors on performance in terms of sustainability. What the research indicates is that the green economy has had a positive effect on sustainability but in the Latin American context, this has been extremely modest.

The Human Rights Council and its affiliates have been engaged in an effort to draft a Declaration on the right to peace. This sounds simple enough. Who can disagree with the right to peace? Yet placed in the broader context of international organizations, states and civil society groups, the idea of a right to peace is not without complexity. In a rational world every item implicating or detracting from the notion of the right to peace can only be adequately understood if we have a theory and method that fully contextualize those factors to determine how they augment or restrain the ultimate emergence of the Declaration. In this context even the form of expression is complex and usually fully understood. A Declaration coming from the General Assembly in most instances emerges in the form of a Resolution of the GA. A Resolution is not legally binding. But the question is if the Resolution simply extends pre-existing UN law that is binding, does it not in reality have the character of a binding obligation? So one issue that emerges is, when states vote for the Declaration are they or are they not bound? In general, a distinction is made between a Declaration and a Resolution that the Declaration is meant to be taken far more seriously. In this overview of the continuing work of the Human Rights Council regarding the Declaration on the Right to Peace, although much progress has been made in the formulation of the Declaration, the drafting process continues. There are enormous complexities embedded in the Declaration. For example, a strong Declaration may place greater responsibilities on the world’s stronger powers. Does the right to peace require armed intervention by the powerful? Does this impose an obligation on them? Or more controversially, does the right to peace mean fewer restraints on the part of the states who wish to intervene in the internal affairs of other states? In “The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the right to peace: an opportunity to strengthen the linkage between peace, human rights and development in the New Millennium,” Christian Guillermet-Fernández and David Fernández Puyana have given us an excellent overview of the debates and drafting issues and the difficulties of ultimately emerging with a needed right to peace Declaration.

In “A Pragmatic view on the Evolution of Life: Trends, Paradigm Shifts or New Laws of Life?,” Robert van Harten has provided us with a powerful punch to enhance the current thinking in WAAS on the new paradigm. He has brought out the importance of the imaginative faculty together with a sense of evolutionary development to underscore some critical points that could give practical focus and dynamism to the promise of a new paradigm in the future. The author stresses the point that we should construe evolutionary development in the direction of harmony and unity. The dynamism of this movement he sees as having potentials of value for both macro and micro level inquiry. For example, he looks at the question of free basic income for all. This is a revolutionary idea but he suggests that there are technical ways in which we can loosen the tyranny of money and the free money idea may be a vital social invention, a part of the movement to decentralize power and to underscore the evolution of equality. Another area that he looks at is the decentralization of power. He sees this trend as already on the way and I suspect an understanding of this trend requires a deeper under- standing of a exible notion of constitutive development at all levels. Such a development should ultimately allocate power to smaller groups and individuals. Van Harten also focuses on micro level institutions drawing attention to the evolution of sharing work skills in a new form of owning such as Uber. He also draws attention to a trend that empowers people and renders obsolete many traditional professions. He notes that “the growing robotization and development of robots for our daily life... is a movement toward more freedom and more enjoyable time.” The author draws attention to the idea that we universally think in terms of the shortage of goods and services. This is built on old energy and old ideas about money. Money is changing its nature. For example, crowd funding, micro loans, Bitcoin technology, etc. He sees a trend that makes this shortage of money a thing of the past. In short, there is a possibility of a future in which shortages are a thing of the past. He makes the important point that real or imagined personal shortages are the source and basis of con ict. He thinks that in a world without shortages, aggression and violence will be obsolete. The editor believes that we should consider some of these suggestions to work them out more carefully in terms of theory, practice and possible future scenarios. A very challenging paper.

Conservatives complain that the cost of higher education is too expensive. Consider what that cost would be if we radically diminish access to higher education. “World Context and Implications for Higher Education Systems and Institutions,” a GUNI report by Federico Mayor Zaragoza republished here is extremely useful because it summarizes the documentary foundations of higher education, and education in general as a human right. It refers to the Preamble to the UN Charter, the Constitution at UNESCO, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The World Plan of Action for Human Rights and Democracy, as well as the world summit on social development and the commitments codi ed in those processes. These stress the vital importance of the culture of peace, respect for life, promotion of non-violence, promotion of human rights and basic freedoms, settling dispute by peaceful means, priority to environmental and development needs, importance to the right to development, equal rights for men and women, freedom of expression, promotion of democracy, corroboration and a good deal more. These basic values are given importance by the insights of scientists. For example, Einstein said, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Another insight, for example, is to see what others can see and to think what no one has thought or the insight that the point of knowledge is to reduce su ering. The report also gives us insights into the current state of world politics and its de cits. The report concludes with a reference to the WAAS initiative, namely the World University Consortium. The report indicates that initiatives like this are timely, and deserving of global support.

Gerald Gutenschwager has provided us with another insightful and important paper this time touching on the theme of predation and gender, its endurance and the possibility of its losing strength in our time. Gutenschwager starts “Predation, Gender and our Anthropological Oxymoron” underlining the importance of understanding the predatory moment of choice and the issue of self-preservation. He traces this back to time immemorial and its complex role in evolution, the scientific approach to predation, and most importantly, how predation constitutes a di erence between men and women. Apart from the cultural support given to male predation over time, he also underscores the importance of human biology. In short, the male brain is fed with testosterone and bigger than the female brain which is fed with estrogen. This appears to have important consequences on the way we think. Male brains are hyper-specialized and compartmentalized. The male brain tends to focus on particularity and it speaks the context. On the other hand, the female brain has many more synapses or connectors. This gives the female brain a volume of connections that support multitasking, making wider connections relevant to the life of the woman and permits the female brain to more easily digest holistic constructs of the empirical world. This is a remarkable insight but it is also evident that some women are much more focused like men and some men are focused in the direction of female cognizance. One of the most important insights that Gutenschwager underscores is the connection between predation and capitalism. A very useful and insightful piece.

Momir Đurović is one of the intellectual aristocrats of Southeastern Europe. He has an extraordinary level of sophistication in the dynamics of social power and has sought to marshal intellectual and scientific talent to clarify and advance thinking on some of the most important issues of global importance. At the theoretical level the problem of power, science and responsibility appears to be straightforward. In practice, this is not the case. Scientists hold strongly to the value of freedom in inquiry—this is their strength. On the issue of the responsibility of inquiry, there is a complexity that responsibility is meant to serve as a prudential limit on inquiry. The case of Oppenheimer and the scientists who worked for him is pertinent. They took on the development of nuclear energy largely fueled by the idea of the freedom of inquiry. But when the project came toward the end, they found they had no control over how the results of their inquiry would be used. The Atom bomb was used twice and created a crisis for many who worked on this project. In part, the problem with responsibility is that it brings to the focus of attention issues of basic ethics, morality and values. These latter issues, when juxtaposed against traditional science, tend to be subversive of scienti c objectivity. In our own time, some industrialized societies are experiencing an epidemic of unemployment. This is fueled by the development of technology and robotics. These technologies make conventional labor ine cient and obsolescent. How should robotic inventions be managed in the public interest and what should the role of science be in this regard? In “Social Power, Social Responsibility and Science,” Đurović grapples with several issues that touch on the question of responsibility in science and the need to clarify public expectations. He draws attention in particular to the important Uppsala Code of Ethics for Scientists. When the consequences of scientific innovation threaten real vested interests, scientists are often unprepared for the ferocity of the political fallout. For example, the Exxon Corporation spent multiple millions of dollars to deny climate change and to attack the scientists upon whose work climate change policy was being developed. Đurović is correct here that we need public expectations but we also need to cultivate and mobilize the public behind these expectations. Đurović also focuses on the issue of corporate social responsibility. This is another ferociously contested domain and without a doubt there is an important space here for some form of global accountability as well. Not a single corporation has been willing to adopt the UN Code of Ethics for multicorporations. Đurović draws attention to several suggestions that might guide scienti c responsibility. These are all useful but the critical question still remains, how to mobilize appropriate constituencies globally to pressurize science into an awareness of the responsibility for the output of science on society. This is a really important paper and I hope that Đurović will follow this up with some extended analysis of the many di erent domains to which he draws attention.

“The Memory of Suffering and the Pedagogy of Freedom” by Emil Constantinescu is an essay replete with profound insights that are drawn from the personal experience of living under a totalitarian dictatorship, participation in the removal of totalitarian governance, the exhilaration of democracy, and the fear of what democratic freedom may mean for a new generation. The author is one of the leading intellectuals of Romania. He grew up with vivid memories of not only with dictatorship within the state but also the possibility of being abused by the Red Army of the USSR. He carries with him the memory of the death of 25 million soldiers and 73 million civilians lost in the tragedy of WWII. With this background having shaped his political perspective he has come to one powerful conclusion that the idea of freedom is not trivial. Indeed, it is a fundamental human right. He witnessed the emergence of a commitment to freedom in the people as they challenged the coercive might of the dictatorship. It is chilling to recall his own memory that when he crossed the European continent from the Far East to the West, he was able to see only a few states committed to democracy. States were overwhelmingly totalitarian. The fundamental issue that he raises is the vital importance of the democratic principle in establishing the principle of shared power. The problem that this represents is the problem posed by Benjamin Franklin when the United States became an independent democratic republic. Franklin is reported to have said, “We now have a democratic republic if we can keep it.” The importance of democracy as a power sharing tool is that it is also a foundation of peace and fairer form of the distribution of values. As we now examine the rise of intolerant nationalism in the West, the question posed by Constantinescu is how firmly grounded is the democratic principle in the perspective of the people. The challenge here, and it is a difficult one, is to reinforce a political sociological perspective of the democratic consciousness: The democratic man or woman. This is a profoundly good essay and is an important contribution to the idea of freedom.

Michael Marien has consistently done extremely useful work for the journal in providing us with outlines of the most recent books dealing with climate change. In his “Book Review,” he provides us with a clear insight into New Earth Politics: Essays from the Anthropocene. This work compliments the work of WAAS Fellow Paul Crutzen who coined the term Anthropocene. This book touches on some of the most important themes relating to the question of climate change and governance. There are many important ideas in this work and I draw attention to one of the most important. What is emerging is a center of gravity of new earth scholarship. This scholarship raises the question of whether scholars have any in uence on governments. Falk, for example, does not see this as useful. He sees a greater possibility in reaching out to global civil society and holding out the promise of transformational post-Marxist mobilization initiated from the bottom and directed to a new earth synthesis. I suspect this is an important component of a new paradigm.

Winston P. Nagan
Chairman of the Board, World Academy of Art & Science
Chair, Program Committee