The adagio that we cannot solve our societal problems with the same methods that (facilitate to) create them is well known. The vision that inspiration and motivation for ‘new methods’ need to come from deeper thinking about who we are as individuals and groups and about how to deliberate these problems with each other is less popular. This vision is the point of departure of the New Humanism project.
The project aims to facilitate dialogue about that vision and, consequently, about what these ‘new methods’ should be and can be. The idea is that, in order to tackle societal problems such as climate change, poverty and the various forms of social depression and oppression, we first need to rethink and reform the formal methods we use to make sense of our coexistence, namely the methods of education, scientific research and democracy.
Why would we need a ‘new humanism’ for this? What’s wrong with the old one? We aim to present here a vision on our individual and collective being and capacity transcending the one that emerged as a reaction against oppression by the pre-modern elites of emperors and priests. While liberating ourselves from this oppression was of course a good thing as such, throughout the following ages of social, scientific and technological progress, humanity has built up a self-confidence leading to the current ‘hyper-rationality’ driving education, science, economics and politics today. In that sense, the New Humanism Project explores a new way of looking at the problems the world is facing. It rejects cynical post-whatever defeatism as well as ‘back to the good old and simple times’ nostalgia. Alternatively, we want to present a ‘pragmatic ethics’ view on who we are, what we can know and should know and how we can deliberate the issues, and we believe this view is essential for how we organise our coexistence in general, and education, science and politics in particular.
Read a general introduction to the why of this endeavour here.