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Study of Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential

A Kannan

Preliminary study of 4th Edition (1994-5)

A Kannan, Theosophy Science Centre (of the Theosophical Society, Adyar)


Towards a Framework of Concepts and Ideas for Better Understanding

The following Notes have been prepared while going through Volumes 2 (4th Edition) and 3 (1st Edition) of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (Edited by Union of International Associations, Rue Washington 40, B-1050 Brussels Belgium, who graciously invited suggestions and improvements). We have selected the ideas and concepts amenable to holistic perspective, in our view, and explained the sequence of the Framework by referring to the Encyclopedia (hereafter cited by volume and hardcopy page number -- with hyperlinks to the equivalent web pages containing more elaborate comments).

Vol: 2/359-60. The study of SRI International (Stanford Research Institute) provides the guidelines for a framework such as the one we are considering :

The six conditions constituting the future image of man of the goal which he is pursuing can be summed up as: (a) a holistic understanding of life, including man in evolution; (b) ecological and self realization ethic based on highest value on holistic development, (c) multidimensional action of integrative and balancing nature, and (d) be experimental, open-minded and evolutionary. (See Topic (4) of Framework).

Further our aim, at the Theosophical Society, is not to arrive at a conclusion but to work with holistic human concern for world welfare so that the human and other resources in a holistic sense can be garnered for this purpose.


In Vol: 2/354, the UN University's Human and Social Development Programme (1983) is quoted as:

Human development refers to the development of human beings in all stages and consists of a harmonious relationship between persons, society and nature, ensuring other fullest flowering of human potential without degrading, despoiling or destroying society or nature .. The use of the term "human development" implies instead the view that human beings themselves should be the end to which economic development, political development and other social changes are means.--- Human development has two sides: the formation of human capabilities -- such-as Improved health, knowledge and skills -- and the use people make of their acquired skills.. for leisure, productive purposes or being active in cultural, social and political affairs.

In the chapter Significance: Cultural and, educational biases (Vol: 2/355) the development of personality through human values is referred to and the non-material dimensions of development are stated by Aurelio Peccei (1975, Director of the Club of Rome) as:

Human development means much more than universal education professional training and productive employment, although these are becoming compelling exigencies for individual emancipation and social progress. ... However, since the object of all our interest and concern is man it is the multiple dimensions of man himself, with his complex personality and growing needs, wants, aspirations and manifestations, which are the very essence. It is erroneous and misleading to confine our analyses, as generally is the case, mainly to the material aspects of his existence, however important they may be, as indeed they are, then add political social and cultural considerations as if they belonged to subordinate spheres.

Towards the complete man (UNESCO International Commission on the Development of Education, 1972) reports:

Respect for the many sidedness of personality is essential in education, especially in schools, if the individual is to develop as he should, both for himself and his associates... The physical, intellectual emotional and ethical integration of the individual into a complete man is a broad definition of the fundamental aim of education. --- Cultural development.. Although economic growth continues to be a prime necessity the international community now feels that it is equally vital to situate the human individual in his or her cultural context, at the centre of the web of development.

Transformation of Man Vol2:/357 (Lewis Mumford, 1962) is quoted as:

In brief one cannot create a unified world with partial fragmentary, arrested selves which by their very nature must either produce aggressive conflict or regressive isolation. Nothing less than a concept of the whole man -- and of man achieving a consciousness of the whole, is capable of doing justice to every type of personality, every mode of culture, every human potential. At this point a further transformation, so far not achieved by any historic culture, may well take place.

Ervin Laszlo (1989) is quoted as:

It is forgotten that not our world, but we human beings are the cause of our problems, and that only by redesigning our thinking and acting, not the world around us, can we solve them. ... Many world problems involve outer limits. There are hardly any world problems that cannot be traced to human agency and which could not be overcome by appropriate changes in human behaviour. The root causes, even of physical and ecological problems, are the inner constraints on our vision and -- values.

Sanford Nevitt, The Goal of Individual Development (in G Kenny Smith (Ed) 1945 Twentyfive Years 1970. San Francisco, CA.Jossey Bass, pp. 131 - 146) is quoted as:

From the point of view of psychology, a high level of development in personality in characterized most essentially by complexity and wholeness. There is a high degree of differentiation, a large number of different parts or features having different and specialized functions; and a high degree of integration, a state of affairs in which communication among parts is great enough so that different parts may, without losing their essential identity, become organized into larger wholes in order to serve the larger purposes of the person… The highly developed person is always open to new experience and capable of further learnings; his stability is fundamental in the sense that he can go on developing while remaining essentially himself.

At Vol: 2/353 it is stated that:

It is a tragic symptom of the times that subjectivity should need to be "vindicated" to those concerned with the development process. It suggests that developing countries are paying the price of an unhealthy western obsession with objectivity. There is no institutionally acceptable indication as to the nature of a healthy balance between subjectivity and objectivity.

At Vol: 2/359-60: The Center for the Study of Social Policy, Stanford Research Institute prepared a policy research report (1974) which states:

In contrast to such a technological, extra-polationist future, this report envisions an evolutionary transformation for society as a more hopeful possibility… A future image of man meeting these conditions would: (a) convey a holistic sense of perspective or understanding of life (b) entail an ecological ethic emphasizing the total community of life-in- nature, and the oneness of the human race, (c) entail a self realization ethic, placing the highest value on development of selfhood and declaring that an appropriate function of all social institutions is the fostering of human development; (d) be multi-levelled, multi- faceted, and integrative accommodating various culture and personality types; (e) involve balancing and coordinations of satisfactions along many dimensions rather than the maximizing of concerns along one narrowly defined dimension (e.g. economics); and (f) be experimental, open-minded and evolutionary.

Some of these points are incorporated in our Framework.

At Vol: 2/374 the UNDP Human Development Report (1990) states:

Human development has two sides: the formation of human capabilities (such as improved health, knowledge and skills) and the use people make of their acquired capabilities (for leisure, productive purposes, or being active in cultural, social and political affairs). If the scales of human development do not finely balance the two sides, considerable frustration may result.

At Vol: 2/376 under Initiative, enterprise and human development, we note the statement:

It may be that the key to effective economic development lies in a shift of attitude rather than, as is usually assumed, a particular pattern of capital involvement… Where does initiative fit into the prevailing understanding of human development?

At Vol: 2/377 the concluding paragraphs,

In many of the approaches identified…it is quite possible that the radical shift in lifestyles…[will only occur]…through a language that needs to be constructed.

At Vol: 2/380, under Transcending frozen learning cycles, Ken Wilbur in the Spectrum of Consciousness (p. 11, 1982) states:

In this fashion, a true synthesis of the major approaches to consciousness can be affected -- a synthesis, not an eclecticism that values equally the insights of Freud, Jung, Maslow, May, Berue, and other prominent psychologists, as well as the great spiritual sages from Buddha to Krishnamurti

Under Ecosystems of societal learning, MacLean's work on brain evolution (1973) is commented on that:

If man cannot understand how he is part of the problem, he cannot understand the nature of the "answer" required to his condition. It is even more desirable to recognise that it is not a question of being either guilty or innocent, but rather of being guilty and innocent as a responsible participant in the current global condition of society. In this sense being human is the ability to live creatively with this paradox.

At Vol: 2/381, under Experiencing the implicate order, David Bohm (1988, p. 206) is cited as:

…the experiencing of the implicate order is fundamentally much more immediate and direct than is that of the explicate order, which ... requires a complex construction that has to be learnt.

At Vol: 2/382, under Value crises in a life cycle, Erik Erikson's work is referred to in Childhood and Society (1963) as:

Each individual goes through 8 stages in life. In each stage a value crisis is experienced which is crucial for continued development --- The challenge is to ensure the emergence of an appropriate balance or dynamic between the two value extremes of each stage.

Under Appropriate responses and saving virtues it is stated that:

    In the Buddhist tradition, the equivalents might be considered to be the component elements of the Eightfold Noble Path:
    • Right outlook (otherwise translated as "Right Perception')
    • Right speech
    • Right acts
    • Right livelihood
    • Right endeavour
    • Right mindfulness
    • Right rapture of concentration

At Vol: 2/383, under Development of insight in learning cycles, it is concluded that:

It remains to be discovered how genuine insights can be effectively interwoven in response to the challenge of the times.

As an interim understanding derived from the above citations, we can infer that there is value implied in a new learning environment into which we can have an insight.

At Vol: 2/422-423, references are made to "Unified science", "Unity of Science", "Integrative Education", "Unity of Knowledge", "Synthenis of human sciences", "Interdisciplinary synthesis" "Integrative studies, "Comprehensive thinking", "Specialists and Generalists" and "Complexity and Chaos studies", which are all currently pursued research and scholarly study projects that can provide, through different channels, the pertinent and, necessary insight into the new learning environment.

At Vol: 2/423, the concluding paragraphs on the problem of locating interdisciplinary material for the synthesis and integration of knowledge are quite interesting.

At Vol: 2/431, the item Possible future improvement is significant to considering the new learning environment

At Vol: 2/540-542, the key chapter, Discontinuity: polarity entrapment should be highlighted in a fitting manner so that the insights that are being made available can be thematically discussed, put into practice as a education endeavour and the new initiatives emanating along these lines put to good use in the service of humanity. Such a research-oriented scheme can be styled as "value education"

For example, at Vol: 2/540, it is stated:

Many good people and groups, have sacrificed much over the past centuries to gain recognition for certain fundamental values and principles. These are now basic to the ways in which. Society is organized and governed. All new initiatives are presented and debated in terms of these values --- The purpose here is to challenge existing thinking on the basis that maybe the way forward lies, paradoxically, through recognition of the shadow cast by such modern icons. That shadow may well be associated with a fundamentally unhealthy repression of valuable features of the polar opposite of the favoured value. As it is said in fundamental physics, it is not a question of whether radical new thinking is required, it to a question of whether it is radical enough.

The discussions under "Peace and non-violence", "Consensus", "Equality", "Freedom", "Justice", "Development", "Democracy", "Knowledge" and other topics are very topical and insightful. Particularly under "Education" it is worth taking note of the key understanding:

The richer meanings of education have been perverted into job training in its most limited sense or into certificate acquisition of dubious long-term value. The widespread availability of "education" disguises the fact that the cost of quality education makes it increasingly inaccessible. Education in only incidentally improving quality of life, if at all. It is argued that the most fundamental challenges of society can only be met by appropriate education for a new generation.

The concluding sentence at Vol: 2/542 is worth noting:

The statements above are not a denial of these values but a recognition of the constraints through which their deeper significance needs to be understood.

At Vol: 2/569, it is stated:

Mundane reality is the real or transcendental reality on which concepts have been superimposed whether through unconscious habit or, preferably, whenever pragmatically necessary. Wisdom is thus detachment from the need to cling to the elements of analysis, such as "mundane", "transcendental", "nirvana" or "wisdom". --- To be of any significance it is necessary that the pattern, be sufficiently complex to encode the diversity of concepts concerning sustainable development. To be of value, it must facilitate the transcendence of the relatively sterile dynamics associated with polarized dialogues about sustainable development.

The section on Human Values and Wisdom has four sub-sections VC, VD, VP and VT (and needs one more Section VE: Value Education) in order to fulfill the need according to the assessment at Vol: 2/633 that:

The appreciation of the subtlest values, and especially value dilemmas, is intimately related to "wisdom", however it is to be understood. There is therefore a concern to explore the possibility of a framework in which explicit links between "values" and "wisdom" could be established.

Such a link could be through appropriate learning. When we re-read this in the light of the emphasis noted by us as at Vol: 2/540-542, in the key chapter Discontinuity: polarity entrapment, the link seems to be Value Education.

At Vol: 2/807, under Recognition of importance of value change, the need for a deeper foundation for value apprehension and involvement seems to be implied. This can be brought out more elaborately. The illustrations could be the generation gap and the gender gap or polarity. Under Necessity for re-examination of value systems and Desperate search for common values, the direction for this deeper apprehension and involvement of values has been indicated but it can stand more intensive exploration and examination.

At Vol: 2/808, it is stated that:

And yet there is an intimate relationship between problems and values. Basically no problem is recognizable except in the light of a value. If "justice" is not a recognized "value", then "injustice" cannot be recognized as a problem. --- Values provide focus through their inspirational value and their prescriptive potential in creating a more desirable future irrespective of established views.

At Vol: 2/809 mention has been made of important value-oriented research and study projects. But a more detailed discussion about the progress and outcome of these projects would find a place under "VE: Value Education". The statement under Ethical values for the 21st Century is of significance:

The purpose of the study (UNESCO, 1987), based on 41 contributions is to guide curriculum developers, educators and educational administrators through the problems of ethical values and to encourage further investigations.

At Vol: 2/810, under Consensus on fundamental values, it is stated:

As a result any consensus is conceptually simplistic and fails to explore richer patterns of coherence that allow for (may even depend upon) a high degree of disagreement.

If we put the same idea differently, there is no adequate reason for withholding from a learning citizen that he should be honest, he should respect all life and so on. By holding to lack of consesus the some citizen resorts to malificent inspirations. Taking note of the analysts at Vol: 2/811-830, a diagramatic representation of value classes is presented which goes to show that all aspects of value apprehension are taken care of.

Another significant phase of presentation is on "universal set of values" which tries to embody the significance of the human person as a value symbol, followed by important issues of "conflicting systemsof values" and "challenge to comprehension".

At page Vol: 2/831 it is stated from the Study of the Club of Rome for UNESCO (1987):

It would therefore be a tragic backward step to lose such basic values or not to replace them by more effective ones. The human person is nothing in itself from the practical, or even from the moral point of view, if it shuts itself off in isolation. Its value lies in its relation with others. It only acts, it is only capable of acting in "communication" and this commication is impossible unless there exists a broad base of values common to the individuals involved. That is why, whether we like it or not, we must give special prominence as the fundamental database, to a "system of ethical and moral values".

At Vol: 2/831 it is stated:

A great deal of hope is placed in the possibility that everyone naturally accepts that "peace", "love" and "justice", for example are unquestionable "goods", or that people can be educated into this understanding, --- There is a great difference between: (a) designing a limited universal set of values in the light of questionable assumptions, and (b) identifying the range of extant (or potential) values which might have some function in a universal system of values. It is this second strategy which has been tentatively explored in this section

The Director General of UNESCO, René Maheu has noted: In particular, the most basic human rights are more frequently invoked as a weapon of attack or defence against some party… rather than recognized and practiced as the royal road to a positive relationship between individuals and groups in an objective form of" fraternity.

At Vol: 2/832, under Local vs Global, it is stated:

The key question then remains by what norms should action be guided. Clearly people can only be adequately motivated by the values they fully understand. Local values necessarily avoid the uncertainty inherent in global values. Until such local values are acknowledged, respected and given a place within any global value framework, it is not expected that local communities will respond, other than in token form, to global values.

A truly universal system of values is thus better modelled by a tensional integrity structure which offers distinct niches for competing value systems, whilst ensuring a dynamic relationship between them. It is brought into existence by using the tensions between competing value perspectives ---Using the energy of opposing perspectives to engender a larger structure.

The concluding chapter in Vol: 2/834 deals with Insights: Wisdom and requisite variety. Human potential is focussed through wisdom, ethical values, education and insights, These are treated as challenges of communication and rightly so because the human being is both the source of problems as well as the instrument of finding the solutions thereto. This focus on wisdom, ethical values, education and insights should not be considered as intriguing because all of them constitute the upward direction of the two-way communication system.which the human mind is recognized to be.

At Vol: 2/834, The Club of Rome investigation for UNESCO, In Search of Wisdom for the World: the role of values in education (1987), concludes:

Successful development is very closely bound up with society's capacity to learn. ... The role of communication and the revolution it is bringing about in the transmission of ideas may radically transform, the problem of ethical values .. but the whole question needs careful thought and the will to succeed. Such thinking must be a collective enterprise associating men and women from all countries and all fields of study, since it is an immense undertaking, a grand design that is at stake. Much patience and tolerance will be needed because not everyone gives the same importance to each fact.

Nor is the objective equally obvious to everyone, With the modern world as it is, the search for wisdom will not necessarily strike people as a priority issue and many will be sceptical and ironical. Nevertheless all are invited to lay the foundations for a new humanism that will enable the peoples of tomorrow to live together harmoniously,

Under "Nobel laureates" it is stated: Pronouncements of individual laureates are viewed as a form of wisdom. Meetings of laureates are one of the acknowledged means of benefiting from the best insights that modern society has to offer. And yet the prizes are given for very specific achievements, especially in the case of sciences.

Some of these achievements, such as for example, the Peace Prize are of widespread and deep interest to people at large. The understanding and experience of the laureates could be documented, studied and fitted into a pilot project of Peace achievement which could be further elaborated for greater benefit. The contributions of "Super intelligence", "Sources of wisdom: expertise and experience" and others, are mentioned and briefly commented on. Typical of such comment is at Vol: 2/835:

Wise people… while being valued for their particular expertise, it is because of this quality that they become a symbol in society. Examples might include: Bateson, Krishnamurti, Schumacher, Jung, Einstein, Bohm, Jantsch.

This only brings into relief the necessity to utilize such persons, their life and work for the edification and upliftment of society in a more sustained and deep-rooted manner than has been attempted so far.

In Vol: 3 the following entries relating education and values are of interest:

  • SB0904: Advocating culture of tolerance
  • SC 0185: Ensuring healthy environment
  • SC 0186 Cultivating moral capacity -- Broadening moral understanding ---. Expanding moral perceptions --- Offering adequate moral development ---Providing sufficient moral development. Context: To live in society is to accept the moral obligation of at least being conscious that society comprises other human beings with rights and desires that must be acknowledged if not accommodated. The growth end development of moral values is not quantifiable in the same way as productivity of a national economy but these values are necessary for the maintenance of social sub-structure.
  • BC2427: Teaching social methodologies
  • SC4194: Maintaning ethical standards -- Promoting ethical code of behaviour -- Upholding basic ethical principles
  • SC8231: Developing comprehensive values -- Identifying universal values. Context: Values are the foundation of commitment and determine an individual's or collective's world view. They give direction, purpose and meaning to life. The destiny of both individuals and society is shaped and created with the values by which they live, Values chosen, or adopted by inheritances assign worth or importance to those aspects of life to which they relate. There may be instances where a value choice is a natter of personal opinion, but a number of values are fundamental to the well being of humanity as a whole. Such values transcend the particularities of humanity's richly diverse cultural, philosophical and social heritage and form the bedrock on which to build international cooperation. Such values are universal, not just in their application to all of humanity, but also in their application to all fields of human activity.
  • SD2463: Encouraging broader educational goals
  • SC8497: Upholding nuclear families
  • SD2543: Developing world ethic for sustainable living
  • SD3070: Disseminating information on human values
  • SD5224: Instituting adolescent peer education
  • SD7482: Providing for social principles of behaviour
  • SD8248: Embodying community values
  • SE0377: Re-emphasizing religion
  • SE5686: Eliminating immorality
  • SE7411: Demanding fundamental social values be honoured
  • SE9605: Creating global responsibility
  • SG5142: Systematizing social ethics
  • SJ2426: Protecting against vulnerability of universal principles
  • SJ2885: Matching principles with practice

Of additional interest are the entries under:

  • SC2259: Teaching integrative education
  • SC4695 Reorienting education towards sustained development
  • SD2463: Encouraging broader educational goals
  • SC4698: Teaching comprehensive life education
  • SD4371: Relating education to life
  • SE4197: Improving community capacity to assess and meet environmental educational needs
  • SE4108: Expanding programmes for continuing adult education in sustainable development
  • SE4274: Educational training programmes including sustainable development company
  • SE5216: Developing an inter-governmental / NGO network for achieving global environmental educational goals
  • SG9065: Providing environmental education
  • SF3738: Valuing education by parents.

Of fundamental importance, as stated in SD0285 (Developing global ethic -- Creating global ethic -- Breaking down barriers to a global ethic --Creating basic consensus with regard to universal binding values, unalterable standards and personal principles):

…it is claimed to embody four comprehensive and ancient guidelines, or eternal truths, which are to be found in most religions of the world: obligation to a culture of non.violence and of respect for life; an obligation to a culture of solidarity and a just form of world commerce; an obligation to a culture of tolerance and honesty in life; and an obligation to a culture of equal opportunities and the partnership of man and women.

At Vol: 3/849 it is stated:

This volume is therefore an encyclopedia of strategies drawn from organizations covering the broadest range of interests. Just as there is a Third World of developing countries constituting the greater proportion of the world's population, so there is a Third World of developing organizations which could (and do in part) constitute the most vital resource for the solution of world problems.

At Vol: 3/856, it is mentioned that:

Filing and numbering potential strategies Systematic control is maintained by allocating an arbitrary filing number to each strategy as it is encountered, however "embryonic" or "tentative" it may be regarded at the time.

At Vol: 3/858:

Mailed general requests: a general request was made for any documents containing information from which strategy profiles could be developed.

At Vol: 3/859:

Strategy-names and keywords…this naming-process is vital because the principal words in the names are indexed as keywords, individually and also within subject groupings. Keywords correspond to unique subject classes and subclasses (described in note 4.1 Subject classification of strategies)

At Vol: 3/861: Strategy-less names, Nameless strategies and Further work on strategy terminology are described.

At Vol: 3/863, it is stated:

Relationships to values:...However in a general sense it may be said that strategies and values are related by the direct correspondence between positive values and strategies, and by the manner in which strategies only become perceptible in the light of values upon which they are based.

At Vol: 3/866: The resulting strategy sections are as follows:

  • Section SB: Used for broad cross-category strategies which tend to be prominent on the agendas of international organizations
  • Section SC: Used for major of a specific nature section
  • Section SD: Used for detailed strategies
  • Section SE: Used for emanations of other strategies
  • Section SF: Used for "fuzzy" exceptional and unusual strategies
  • Section SJ: ... Section SK ... Section SP…
  • Section ST: Used for strategy types

Pursuing the relationships to the Values Section, following are of interest.

At Vol: 3/877, under Strategic ecosystem: network strategy, it is stated:

The challenge is therefore to develop the meaning and constraints of what may be termed a network strategy. This is an approach which facilitates or catalyses (rather than organizes) the emergence growth, development, adaptation, and galvanisation of organisational networks in response to problem networks, in the light of values perceived at each particular part of the social system.

Value correctness... T he strategic problem is to ensure that all possible resources bring themselves to bear on the perceived problems, but without introducing at the highest level any element of organizational imperialism…or in its absence, what might be called conceptual imperialism….The challenge is to speed up some of the dynamics of the social system so that organizational and value inadequacies become more rapidly evident in order that more appropriate substitutes may be evolved. This is a learning process essential at every point in the social system.

At Vol: 3/878, under Maturing the social system by developing strategic proficiency, it is stated:

Lasting development results from the cycle as a whole and not simply from some particular part of it. A policy cycle has the built in variability to enable it to respond to a changing environment. ... Finally a cyclic approach of this kind could be of great significance in the design of more effective meetings - as temporary organizations.

At Vol: 3/882-3, criticism is offered under the headings Wisdom limitation, Universal values limitation and Spiritual insight limitation. The main cautionary comment we would like to offer is that wisdom is veiled not because the sources of wisdom are concealed with intention but the level of consciousness to receive the wisdom effectively is not fully stabilized and established. The concept of universal values as evolved gradationally through local and personal, global and developmental, onto universal and spiritual, have to be understood in the holistic perspective. The dimension of unification, integration and being bound in unitary consciousness should qualify "universal values" apart from their applicability in widespread space and time conditions. Hence wisdom and universal values comprehended in their depth significance is an opening to spiritual life, Wherever "spiritual" is used the connotation of partiality, unseen and hidden must be perceived holistically as identification with Truth also. Particularly the excerpts referred to are "The report is remarkable ... by whom"; "The ethical manifestation of the unitary...ethical mobilization world-wide"; "In total contrast to many ... is often unnamed"; and "Despite the fact ... grasp subtleties appropriately".

At Vol: 3/884-886, Hoping for acceptance of a global ethic and Sustainable human development are to be noted.

At Vol: 3/890>, the report (Global 2000 Revisited: What shall we do?) accepts that the challenge facing humanity is "fundamentally spiritual in nature" and poses challenging questions of the religious traditions. Under "The new model" it is stated:

Giving form to first principles in a continuing process in which humanity will be hopefully engaged in ever subtler ways until the end of days --with whatever spiritual inspiration it is accorded. The challenge is not how to build on a momentary product of the process but, how to allow this process to imbue, and interrelate to, new understandings of development.

At Vol: 3/891:

To respect the different religious views, it is vital however to recognize in all humility that there are profound epistomological, cultural and religious justifications for understandings that need to be comprehended as simultaneously both "complete" and "partial"... there are profoundly different ways in which seemingly incompatible perceptions can be related. It is amongst such higher forms of order that any "new model" of development" can usefully be sought if they are to be adequate to the integrative challenge.

Some "questions for spiritual leaders" are posed.

At Vol: 3/899, Grass roots initiatives is stated:

In reaction to the dubious track record of top-down initiatives, many place their hope in community and neighbourhood initiatives and movements.

At Vol: 3/904, under "Mind change in a learning system:

One fruitful way of reframing his (Harman's) perspective in to recognise human society as a global learning system. Within such a multicultural system, groups societies and individuals are exploring quite different frontiers, coming to new understandings, in the light of the processes and crises through which their assumptions and blind spots lead them. We are all free to indulge in exercises at judging the levels of insight which others have reached. But it is useful to recognise that our next "mind change" may reveal fundamental insights which are relatively trivial to groups we may have previously disparaged .... In this sense the newness of a global mind change could prove to lie in the ability to interweave the insights already articulated within different parts of the learning system.

At Vol: 3/906, seven principles of action fundamental to strategic thinking implicit in the "game of go" are outlined of which:

It is a creative combination of theory, experience and intuition which appropriately orients strategic reflection. Much attention is now devoted to networking individuals and institutions. Internet is providing a new communication environment in support of this. However there is little understanding of how the "positions" and "territories" established can, through their interlinking, create a new base for new kinds of global strategic initiative.

It is worthwhile noting that "the global and the long-term take priority over the local and the short-term". An important phase of understanding is reached in dealing with "learning society" and cognate subjects at Vol: 3/956-57. At page 956:

  • A vital step forward is to switch from interpreting actions in terms of significance for development to their significance as learning. It is strange that development is conventionally a process applied to, or undergone by, "others" -- never by the "developers" despite their well-documented limitations. It is acknowledged that good teachers succeed partly because their attitude is one of learning, with, and from, the student -- to the point that "facilitator" is more appropriate than "teacher". The advocated change can then be presented by:
    • From developers plus developees = developing society
    • To:facilitator-learners plus learners = learning society
  • Extending the concept of learning. For this change of interpretation to be other than cosmetic, the concept of "learning" must (a) extend far beyond conventional forms of book learning and training; (b) be promoted as an activity of all social institutions; (c) extend beyond individual learning (in a learning society) to group and societal (d) be accepted as intrinsic to all activities of all social institutions (not just "educational" programmes, but living in learning).

Rector Soedjatmoko, UN University, has emphasized this point in relation to the "learning nation':

Societal learning: A Club of Rome report extends the notion to "humanity". … The conventional, often unarticulated conception of how societies learn…. adjusting to and consuming the discoveries and knowledge produced in centres of expertise. The unavoidable consequence of this view of societal learning is elitism, technocracy and paternalism. What is omitted is the fact that meaning and values -- decisive for learning -- are products of society at large, not of specialized centres. In a learning society, however, it is "learning" which is being accumulated, where this can best be partially defined in terms of accumulation, of recognized patterns. ... Learning is an ordered dynamic response to discontinuity .. The pattern which connects (all living creatures) is a meta-pattern. It is a pattern of patterns that meta-pattern which defines the vast generalization that, indeed, it is patterns which connect.

  • The capacity of a nation - not just of its government, but of society as a whole -- to adjust to rapidly changing techno-economic, socio-cultural and political changes, on a scale which makes it possible to speak of transformation, very much depends on its collective capacity to generate, to ingest, to reach out for, and to utilize, a vast amount of new and relevant information. The capacity for relative and innovative response to changing conditions and new challenges, I would like to call the learning capacity of a nations. This capacity is obviously not limited to the cognitive level but includes the attitudinal, institutional and organizational levels of society as well, It therefore resides not only in a nation's formal educational system, not only in the government bureaucracy, in parliament and the political parties, but also in the business community, in the media, the professional organizations, the trade unions, the cooperatives and the various kinds of voluntary associations within the society at large.

At Vol: 3/971, under Learning and risk it is stated:

This suggests that long: term human and social development is based on a process involving risk of identity loss, winning and losing. Periods of losing are then as important as periods of winning to the development process… Educating a child, for example, involves an understanding of when the child should lose and when the child should be allowed to win -- accepting the fact that at some stage it will no longer be a question of "allowing" him to win. The teacher, like the parent and the psychoanalyst, must accept rejection. If the student is to be free… Loss phobia and win mania, which are themselves integral and necessary features of a larger alternation cycle, obscure the nature of that cycle and its significance for human and social development.

At Vol: 3/972, W. I. Thompson (1978, p. 127) is quoted:

The pairs of opposites, of which freedom and order, and growth and decay, are the most basic, put tension into the world, a tension that sharpens man's sensitivity and increases his self- awareness. No real understanding, is possible without awareness of these pairs of opposites which permeate everything man does… Justice is a denial of mercy, and mercy is a denial of justice. Only a higher force can reconcile these opposites… The processes where the unity of opposites manifests (such a unity is not realized as a new state, a synthesis of the thesis and the antithesis, it is the movement of the process itself which constitutes the "synthesis')... In other words, these processes which appear to us as one of the fundamental organizing features of living beings, the result of a sort of collaboration between what one customarily calls life and death, can only exist precisely when it is not a question of cooperation but always radical opposition and negation (emphasis added).

Framework of dynamic, inter-related concepts, ideas and experiences embodying holistic, human concern for world welfare

N.B. This Framework has been compiled keeping in view the Intended uses of the Encyclopedia (Vol: 3/28), especially the passage:

... a rich guide to possibilities for new investigatory reports and documentaries ... In particular it is for those who recognise the possible dangers and limitations of attempting to filter this variety (of perspectives) down to a handful of "essential" problems which can be appropriately contained by a single pooling strategy or blueprint based on a single set of values.

Hence a broad-based holistic perspective is adopted to bring together seven clusters of the Framework. The numbering is done for easy reference. The sequence of the flow diagram is explained in the text.

Topic (1): Chaos; Complexity; The Universe, human being and the world as Potential Sources; Freedom in a spiritual context

Topic (2): Human Problem; Human Mind an a dual acting force different from Nature; Human Development; Transformation of Man

Topic (3): Cosmic Order, Implicate and Explicate Order - Experiencing; Rhythm; Cycles.

Topic (4): Holomovement; Ethics; Self-realization; Global ethics; Ecoethics; Polarity and tension among value systems; Local and global values; Human valuesTopic (5): Universals; Laws; The One Law; Universal Values;

Topic (6): Realization of universals and the evolution of consciousness as a process, responsibility and values; Evolving together with the world of animals, plants and the earth; Knowledge; The new learning environment - Learning by cycles of losing and winning ; Learning system, society and nation -- Extending learning beyond Conventional ways; Patterns and meta-patterns; Wisdom, Insights; Strategies.

Topic (7): Individual consciousness in a state of spiritual freedom and inquiry; Opposing human polarity to find a resonant blend of harmony, in the universal; Response to a universal cause of unity of truth, wisdom-permeated knowledge and loving action for holistic world welfare; Value education in the new learning environment; Initiatives and "self-devised and self-initiated" endeavours. Networking.

Topic (1) of the Framework includes chaos which is dealt with as VD0749 in the Encyclopedia. The meaning of disorder may not bring out fully the holistic perception which is necessary. The order which is the substratum of universe and man is not lost but is only obscured or veiled from the perceiving mind so that when re-viewed from the holistic perspective the potentiality of order comes into relief.

Complexity is dealt with under VD0849. The complex personality of man can be correlated to "complexity" as postulated in the universe by modern thinkers. Human problems are thus relevant to be considered when the predicament of men is raised to the level of human scale and related to the complexity of the universe.

Vol: 2/822-830 contains six articles on "Complexity", four of which relate to "Values", Reference to chaos is as follows (Vol: 2/822):

The first branch, represented within Gleick's book (1987) …is concerned with order hidden within chaotic systems… The second branch focuses on the order that arises out of chaotic systems.

At Vol: 2/357, it is pointed out that complexity and wholeness can result in high level of development of personality. Such a person is open to new experience and capable of further learning. He fits into that aspect of the Framework (see Topic 7) in which the individual is a resonant blend of consciousness harmoniously vibrating between the universal and human dimensions, The healthy balance between subjectivity and objectivity is also the outcome of this. It has been said: "The best corrective to error is an honest and open-minded examination, of all facts, subjective and objective."

The emergence of human potentiality is possible when the wholeness of man is free in the spiritual sense of a consciousness that in not entrapped in problems created by the human mind. J.Krishnamurti has discoursed at length on "Freedom from the known"; "Freedom first and last". HM1198 of the Encyclopedia refers to "Spirit of the people" and states:

The economist David Hume recorded an awareness of freedom which is related to, but not identical with, the actual legal liberties enjoyed in a particular state.

The comprehensive human scale understanding of development is indicated in several references of the Encyclopedia (Vol: 2/354-355). The human potential, although referred to, is of its fullest flowering, the scope of action is limited to "the formation of human capabilities such as improved health, knowledge and skills -- and the use people make of their required capabilities…" The scope of human scale development should envisage the potential in a universal and cosmic sense to be channeled through the human (see Topic (2) of Framework).

At Vol: 2/355, it is stated:

Human development is much more than universal education, professional training and productive employment, and so the human scale development is referred to as "the object of all our interest and concern to man, it is the multiple dimensions of man himself, with his complex personality and growing needs, wants, aspirations…

Discussing topics such as "Development of personality through human values", "Non-material dimensions of development", "Towards the complete man" (Vol: 2/355), education and cultural development are seen as essential and is a movement of wholeness of man and the universe in the process in which all are engaged. (See also Vol: 3/972 under Process of Synthesis)

The Harvard Graduate School of Education Project on Human Potential has brought out books that "provide a remarkable collection of material on the question of potential as seen in terms of human intellectual potentials, philosophical aspects of the concept of potential and the role of cultural factors in the progress of human development. The second volume is a deliberate effort to show the roots of the concept of" potential in genuine aspects of human nature (Vol: 2/355).

Topic (2) of the Framework. includes "Transformation of man" which "on a scale not achieved previously is necessary for creating a unified world and is possible only with the concept of whole man." Ervin Laszlo emphasizes the human being as causing the problem. This also envisages a perspective view of the human being as the generator of values by transcending his inner limits to contain the human situation in peace and harmony (Vol: 2/355)

This Framework considers human problems in the light of world and human potential (See Vol: 2/834 also). Vol: 2/380 refers to the synthesis of major approaches to consciousness as contributing to the emergence of the new individual envisaged in the Framework (Topic 7). This Framework also envisages the issue of "If man cannot understand how he in part of the problem, he cannot understand the nature of the "answer" required to his condition." The new individual is envisaged to have the ability to live creatively.

The sequential inference can be drawn that the human mind has a dual acting force for good as well as for bad from the understanding that most of the problems, including wars, are born in the minds and so acting for good the mind can be a potential source for peace. However, the mind in Nature, the intelligence responsible for all natural phenomena, their orderliness in functioning etc. is impartial. It neither knows good nor bad. The natural phenomena including earthquakes, flood storms, etc. end up as calamities only with respect to perception by the human mind. The rhythm of nature can be perceived by the human mind as cycles involving destruction, decay and death to which human mind attaches problematic values. Hence it is possible to envisage in this Framework of wholeness a situation of beyond rental concepts and feelings and yet highly intelligent, in which human-worked-out problems do not exist per se. This perspective view is highly concerned to find "answers" to all those who seek them in the sense we are all parts in this world and have our own responsible roles to play. This is how Topic (3) fits in the Framework.

Vol: 2/808 points out that the understanding that no problem is recognisable except, in the light of a value (Topic (4) of Framework). This is explored further as "human values form the driving force in many campaigns…" "Values provide focus through their inspirational value and their perspective potential in creating a more desirable future irrespective of established views'

Vol: 2/811-830 explores at length "The importance of the human person lies in the value of his intersection with the world and "communicaton" with a broad base of values common to the individuals involved" (See also Topic (6) of Framework)

Vol: 2/832 deals with Nature of the requisite dynamic framework, and suggests such a dynamic "interrelation of values" in "Local versus Global". A universal system of values is considered as a dynamic relationship between competing value systems maintaining the tensional integrity structure. From the holistic perspective universal values have on independent base to which local, personal, global and developmental values can be correlated and integration achieved as a process

Topic (4) of Framework: As can be inferred from Vol: 3/882-3, the holistic perspective is essential to perceive the value of wisdom, universality and spirituality because of the different dimension of unitary consciousness and intelligence needed to perceive such cognate values

The item of Framework on the topic of "Polarity and tension among value systems" is elucidated by (Vol: 3/972):

No real understanding is possible without awareness of these pairs of opposites which permeate everything man does. ... In other words, these processes which appear to us as one of the fundamental organizing features of living beings, the result of a sort of collaboration between what one customarily calls life and death, can only exist precisely when it is not a question of cooperation but always radical opposition and negation.

Vol: 3/972 refers to "Process and synthesis" which is cognate to the topic of "holomovement, an explained by "These processes where the unity of opposites manifests… it is the movement of the process itself which constitutes the synthesis.'

While the above reading of the situation may be pertinent to the understanding the "process" of human evolution, still since transformation and wholeness and not merely development and opposites which are only parts, are taken into consideration, the goal and aim of human endeavour should be directed by means of cooperation towards immortality, love and unity.

Topic (5) of Framework is a sequel to the discussion of previous topics. Although we cognize universality as the character of facts spread across the length and breadth of the universe, which also implies across tine and space, there is the inherent dimension of depth and unity implied in "uni-" in all such words and concepts as "universal, "union", "university" and so forth. It also connotes the indivisibility and hence indestructability. It is not suggested here that we should rely only on epistemological derivation of meaning of words. But it can be considered as a pointer of the nature of truth as universal when laws are derived as generalisation and found to be universally relevant. We should also be aware that such universality holds good only till such time as other superseding or complementary laws are not discovered. So the One Law which corresponds to truth in its timeless character also forms an essential feature of this Framework. The values cognate to such universal truth and the One Law become relevant.

The Topic (6) of the Framework comprises those aspects of the individual's work by which he transforms the principles governing the universe and men into a practical realisation in life. Vol: 2/382 envisages that the new individual should be able "to ensure the emergence of an appropriate balance or dynamic between the two value extremes at each stage (of a total of 8 stages)". These are the equivalents of the Buddhist Eightfold Noble Path.

From Vol: 2/383 we can infer that there is value implied in a new learning environment into which we can have an insight. This new learning environment incorporates (Vol: 3/904): a mind change to reveal fundamental insights which are relatively trivial.

The newness of the learning system is characterized by: the ability to interweave the insights already articulated within different parts of the learning system.

Vol: 3/956-7 deals with an important phase of "learning society" which:

…is to switch from interpreting actions in terms of their significance for development to their significance as learning, The role of facilitator is more appropriate to a teacher and the learning must (a) extend far beyond conventional forms of book learning and training; (b) be promoted an an activity of all social institutions; (c) extend beyond individual leaning (in a learning society) to group and social learning; (d) be accepted as intrinsic to all activities of all social institutions (not just educational programmes, but living in learning).

Vol: 3/956-7 extends the scope to learning capacity of a nation:

The capacity for creative and innovative response to changing conditions and new challenges, and not limited levels but includes attitudinal, institutional and organizational levels of society is the learning capacity of a nation.

Vol: 3/957 deals with patterns and meta-patterns in the light of the "learning contest':

In "a learning society, however, it is a "learning", which is being accumulated, where this can be partially defined in terms of accumulation of recognized patterns. ...Learning is an ordered dynamic response to discontinuity.... The pattern which connects (all living creatures) is a meta-pattern. It is a pattern of patterns which defines the vast generalisation that, indeed, it is patterns which connect.

Vol: 2/422-423, identifies a cluster of subjects which can be considered as a coordinating feedback loop to the Framework especially to the topic of knowledge and learning under item (6). Such subjects as: "Unified science", "Unity in science", "Unity of science"; "Integrative education"; "Integrated education"; "Unity of knowledge", "Synthesis of human sciences"; "Interdisciplinary studies"; "Comprehensive thinking"; and "Specialists and Generalists"; "Complexity and chaos studies". All these are currently pursued as research and scholarly endeavours arid can provide the pertinent and necessary insight in the new learning environment.

Vol: 2/569 under Possibility of other patterns states:

To be of any significance, it is necessary to encode the diversity of concepts concerning sustainable development. To be of value, it must facilitate the transcendence of relatively sterile dynamics associated with polarized dialogues about sustainable development.

Such a pattern can be associated with wisdom and insight.

Another feedback loop could be associated with Topics 5 and 6 of the Framework. This is referred to in Vol: 2/831 as:

A great deal of hope is placed in the possibility that everyone naturally accepts that "peace", "love", and "justice", for example, are unquestionable "goods" or that people can be educated into this understanding. ... There is a great difference between (a) designing a limited universal set of values in the light of questionable assumptions and (b) identifying the range of extant (or potential) values which might have some function in a universal system of values. It is the second strategy which has been explored in this Section.

Further, "Basic human rights as the royal road to a positive relationship between individuals and groups In an objective form of fraternity" has been reiterated.

The first 715 pages of Volume 3 of the Encyclopedia was read through to select, some topics and not all, to fit into the holistic view of this Framework. Details could be found under "Notes". Especially the selected value-oriented and education-based strategies (see Topic (6) of Framework) can be considered as Coordinating Frameworks or Feedback loops.

While we are considering the relationships of human beings in the context of evolution of consciousness along with the connected human qualities and values, togetherness in evolution, with the "lower kingdoms" comprising of the animals, plants and the earth has to be deeply considered. Those human qualities need to be evolved along with the intellectual ascendancy that is now so evident, are those of the "heart" of compassion, generosity, and sympathy. These hove be bestowed on the animals, plants and the earth in a manner that is appropriate to their stage of evolution. This arises as a sequel to the principle of eco-ethics of Topic (4) of the Framework.

The insights provided in the chapter Vol: 2/540-542 are valuable to be taken into consideration in the holistic perspective of the Framework. The recognition of fundamental values and principles and the initiatives that can emanate in society and individuals are pointers to Value Education stated in Topic (7) of the Framework. As pointed out already, coordinating the Framework are other concepts and guidelines such as "Peace and non-violence", "Equality"; "Freedom", "Justice", "Development", "Democracy", "Knowledge" and others. The key understanding under "Education" (Vol: 2/540-542) is pointed out as the inaccessibility of quality education and the incidental improvement of the quality in life -- which understanding must lead to "appropriate education for a new generation".

Vol: 2/633 also draws our attention to the appreciation of subtle values, intimate relation to wisdom, and the exploration of a framework the likeof which is outlined herein.

Vol: 2/827 discussed Complexity beyond equilibrium values and suggests "a framework of incompatible perspectives". A valuable lead is provided by the work of Christopher Langton (at the World Resources Institute, Washington, DC) based on insights of Stephen Wolfram. They identified four classes of dynamical systems:

  • Class I: Governed by a single point attractor: Doomsday scenario, in which agents or patterns of behaviour rapidly die out.
  • Class II: Set of periodic attractors: Relatively predictable pattern of behaviour, but essentially static
  • Class III: Governed by strange attractors: Chaotic behaviour which never settles into predictable pattern. No stability. Structures break up as soon as they form.
  • Class IV: Emergence of coherent structures that continue to grow, propagate, split, and combine in a complex way.

We will explain the position later in tandem with Class IV.

Vol: 2/807 envisages a foundation for deeper value apprehension and involvement. (Topics (6) and (7) of the Framework).

Vol: 2/809 refers to value-oriented research projects and there is a mention of specificity "to guide curriculum developers, educators and educational administrators through the problem of ethical values" which is of significance to Topic 7 of the Framework

Vol: 2/810-11 deals with the difficulty of coming to grips with values which however does not exclude exploration of "richer patterns of coherence (of fundamental values)".

Vol: 2/834 discusses under Sources of" Wisdom the value of profiting by the life and work of Nobel Think tanks, awardees for international understanding, etc. This has to be explored more intensively.

Vol: 3/849 is relevant to Topic (7) of Framework and notes:

A Third World of developing organizations to constitute the most vital source for the solution of world problems (especially by pursuing value education)

Vol: 3/877 goes into the concert of networking as an emergent phenomenon linking the same to values and is a sequel to the framework of understanding drawing together a number of related concepts and is part of the learning process.

Vol: 3/906 envisages networking as "the game of go" in which "a creative combination of theory, experience and intuition appropriately orients strategic reflection". 


The above presentation of Framework can be subject to valid criticism on a number of points. It does not offer a detailed discussion of the various view-points selected for presentation. A discussion is not attempted because we are not analyzing the merits and demerits of the various issues but wish to engage in an exercise as to how far the holistic perspective is conducive to study the various approaches. Secondly, this presentation is not on in-depth study so that the inference and conclusions could lead to some useful initiative and action. Our objective arises from an in-depth understanding that the study of world problems and human potential should not be fragmentary. Rather the implicit goal of human life is to serve humanity and the world in a manner such that the value and purpose of human existence should be holistically realised. This is a concept ingrained in holistic human concern of world welfare. Thus this framework is only conceived as an intellectual aid for "guiding the crestwave of intellectual advancement into spirituality" or in the holistic perspective. Thirdly, these ideas and concepts are only clusters lacking cohesion so that they may not help in encouraging and promoting new initiatives.We have taken this into account while stating the seventh topic of the framework as "the individual consciousness in a state of spiritual freedom and enquiry".

This implies an important assumption that ultimately it is the individual, whether acting separately or collectively, that has the spiritual quality of integrity and it is only when he is allowed the freedom to act in that potential capacity that he can act with holistic responsibility bringing into that task the value of his existence as a value symbol. This is no doubt an in-depth understanding of the human being which distinguishes him in his wholeness of being. Whatever we notice objectively, about his subjective nature or mind as the source of world problems, should be paradoxically resolved in the same subjective nature but decidedly at a deeper level wherein he realizes responsibility and value in their wholeness.

The human being in this perspective is capable of and should respond with the wholeness of his being to the problem situations in the world. It implies that the value of human action is embedded in its wholeness. On any issue if he intensively and discursively engages himself in thinking, arguing, justifying and comes to conclusions that being engaged in tensions generated by the polarity of his actions will lead to a solution or solutions, then that line of action may not guide him in the holistic way. He must employ in tandem his capabilities of feeling and energetic action with his intellectual capabilities. An initiative arising out of fragmentary way of thinking, feeling and energetic action is bound to fade away but become alive when the circumstances that the individual chooses is more conducive to holistic initiative. Such holistic initiatives can arise in response to a universal cause of unity of truth, wisdom-permeated knowledge and loving action. These are all values of fundamental and universal significance that can be imbibed in a new learning environment and the individual can be facilitated towards taking up this holistic initiative. The freedom of the individual to think, feel and be energetically active is an integral part of that learning.

In this Framework the initiatives of several individuals and groups of individuals working in diverse parts of the world with varying philosophical and cultural backgrounds are sought to be gathered together. Naturally the holistic perspective is important and also the in-depth nature of the new initiative is of significance. It also brings into prominence a web of relationship among those " initiators", an aspect of which is recognised as "net working". This net working in an upcoming activity in many fields of national and international import. The mere awareness of such a web of relationships is not sufficient to make it a living force for world welfare. The initiators in this network can strengthen the underlying relationship along holistic lines if the value of integrity and wholeness of the individual is fully made use of. We would like to refer back to the citation of Sanford Nevitt (Vol: 2/355) for a psychological appraisal of the potentialities of networking.

At Strategic eco-system network strategy (Vol: 3/877) some of the relevant principles are given. Whatever may be the gravity of the problem situation, the important assumption is the consciousness of the individual leading through wisdom-permeated knowledge and loving action for holistic world welfare cannot be broken up into fragments. This is the basic faith in the potential of humanity. It implies humanity can work and serve humanity for its own welfare, all in the holistic sense. Such a conviction can sustain the "net-working". So value education as a separate discipline is not separatist in outlook and approach but is a holistic activity embracing the whole of human nature. The challenge arises when value in accepted an the distinguishing characteristic of human action and what matters is how effectively, skilfully and wisely we utilize this ingrained quality as an educational tool in a broad sense. Further one can be sufficiently inspired to carry on this service to humanity when we try to comprehend the significance of the term "Universal Brotherhood" (universal values sustaining human relationships) is no idle phrase --it is the only the true foundation for universal morality.