Encyclopedia of World Problems - Archived Information

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Integrative Knowledge

Integrative Concepts and Symbols

The Integrative Concepts and Symbols section of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is an editorial experiment to identify classes of symbols considered significant in traditional and modern cultures, as a means of ordering the large amount of material available on individual symbols. It was undertaken in order to enhance understanding of the range of symbols that remain active in society and which can be called upon as a cultural resource to give focus to international programmes given that they embody special significance in establishing the identity of international campaigns in relation to other initiatives.

For instance, the symbol of the World Soul is outlined from a wide range of specialized reference sources, and is found to be relevant to human civilisations throughout time and space. From Platonic philosophical myth, it is the principle of order and of life from which the Demiurge derives individual human souls. In speculative Christianity, it is the notion of the Holy Spirit. In Renaissance philosophy, it is the first instrument of Sophia, Divine Wisdom, through which everything is made. In other philosophers, the spirit of nature (Herder, H More); the ether or something closely related to it (Newton); the arché or quintessence (Paracelsus, van Helmont); the natura naturans (Spinoza), and more recently, de Chardin's interpretation of Vernadsky's noosphere...

The Integrative Concepts and Symbols section details this symbol and over 600 others - from Abstraction, Analogy and Adaptation, to Union, Visualization and World Unity. To enter the free database of concepts and symbols click here. Another complementary resource is the World Guide to Emblems, Logotypes and Trademarks of International Organizations of international organizations profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations, which illustrates one dimension of the symbolic and pictoral side of international associations. The UIA's work on symbols and concepts is also related to other research areas namely Governance through Metaphor which seeks to provide alternative ways of conceptualizing organizational relationships.