Inside this Issue
ARTICLE | April 22, 2016
The World Academy of Art & Science was founded in 1960 by eminent scientists confronting the profound policy implications and social consequences of science and technology. The threat of nuclear weapons to human security, which was uppermost at that time, still persists more than a half century later. But today fundamental questions regarding the role and social responsibility of science and scientists in promoting human security are relevant to every aspect of global society. Never before has science possessed such immense power for promoting human welfare. Yet never before has it posed such immense threats to human security and social welfare. These contradictory trends are the result of the growing gap between the speed and reach of technological innovation and the slower development of public policy, global governance and cultural evolution. Reviving the deep concerns of the Academy’s founders, this issue examines issues discussed at an international conference hosted by WAAS, CERN and the United Nations Office in Geneva last November.
Never before has the need for democratic governance been so great or its weaknesses and limitations so apparent. No other social system has been so effective in generating and releasing the vast social potential of ideas, knowledge, values, aspirations, energies, tools, technologies and organizational capacities. This issue also includes two papers reflecting conclusions of a high level international conference conducted at the Library of Alexandria on “Democracy in the 21st Century” last December focusing on both sides of the equation. Democracy succeeds only when the institutional structures of self-governance are supported by a culture of liberalism and respect for individual human rights. A true understanding of the problems and potentials of democracy requires that we view it as a complex social system that encompasses political, legal, economic, social and cultural dimensions.
Effective policy and institutions are essential conditions for addressing today’s global social challenges, but they are not sufficient. Effective action is also severely constrained by prevailing social theories. We are prisoners of our thoughts. The radical changes required in economic policy and institutions to promote inclusive, sustainable welfare and well-being are obstructed by mechanistic Newtonian concepts in economic and social theory. This issue of Cadmus also includes several papers on the need for new theory presented at the XIII International Colloquium at University of Lisbon in May 2016. They examine prevailing myths regarding the market, money, financial systems, public investment, employment and social power, which obstruct concrete steps to promote equitable economic opportunity and security for all.
We are also prisoners of our minds and the prevailing system of education. The evolution of mind and the evolution of civilization are complementary, mutually reinforcing movements of history—one internal, the other external. Limitations in current theory reflect limitations in the way we are presently using and misusing the rich diversity of mental faculties evolved by different cultures over millennia. This issue includes several papers presented at the WAAS-WUC course on Mind, Thinking and Creativity at Dubrovnik in April 2016, part of an on-going quest to evolve concepts and methods of education appropriate to the needs of the 21st century.
We hope you enjoy this issue.