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From a whole system perspective, societal transformation is the meta issue. All aspects of human society are sub-elements of it. Around the world, many experts have developed well thought out societal transformation theories and processes. The above essays reflect the rich diversity of ideas in this area.

The authors highlighted a number of key themes related to the arts, humanities, system sciences and economics. A main theme is that current societal narratives perpetuate system failure. There is a profound need for new narratives. Several authors suggested that they should be created through dialogic social processes (Reuter) as well as processes that facilitate reconstruction of societal ideas and systems (Werlen).

There also was a broad recognition of unsustainable values. Through the lenses of different fields, the authors discuss how the values and narratives of consumerism, growth and industrialization are unsustainable and driving system failure. The creation and cultivation of more sustainable values is an essential part of societal transformation. This goes hand in hand with a new worldview, one that recognizes the diverse aspects of society as interconnected parts of one dynamic whole system. Gills and Hammad discuss this through their ‘globalisations’ and recognition of interconnected local and global systems. Several of the authors discuss the need for grassroots, local and communal processes and how these facilitate the development of new values and worldviews that support societal transformation.

The requirement for structural change is another theme emphasized by the authors. A consensus emerged around the need to recognize how fundamentally flawed systems perpetuate socio-economic inequality and ecological decline. To address this, several authors suggested different strategies for resolving systemic flaws in education, economics and the arts. There was widespread recognition that institutional and systemic change is essential for achieving societal transformation.

Combining the suggested new narratives, worldviews and system change strategies provides an overall framework for societal transformation. The framework recognizes the interconnectedness of local and global challenges, and shows that re-alignment with the laws of nature is essential. New narratives and societal transformation strategies must operate within planetary boundaries and abide by the laws of nature. Humanity cannot survive and thrive without these adaptations.

Many challenges and opportunities remain in areas including the arts, culture, education, and systemic change (economic, political, institutional). The above essays illuminate the need for cross-disciplinary, whole system approaches. Combining local and global, top-down and bottom-up approaches also is essential for successful societal transformation. These essays provide a foundation for the ongoing work of the WAAS Societal Transformation Working Group. Going forward, a primary emphasis will be on highlighting, developing and implementing practical, specific societal transformation strategies. Given the rapidly growing environmental, social and economic challenges facing humanity, there is an urgent need to engage in creative thinking together to develop real transformative alternatives and redesign civilization. Bozesan M. (2020). Integral Investing: From Profit to Prosperity. Springer: Cham, Switzerland.


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