Berlin Consensus

At the Berlin Roundtable September 6th, 2016, we reached what was very close to consensus on the following:

We value human life. Not killing other humans is better than killing other humans.

This means that peace is better than war. Going back to a fragmented, tribal, world is therefore not an option.

We also value the lives of future generations, which in the age of the anthropocene means that we need to tackle the global environmental problems.*

To be able to meet the challenges above, we need to somehow perceive, and operate within, the increasing complexity of our world.

This increased overall complexity has at least three origins:

  1. Increased technological complexity
  2. Increased dynamic complexity
    1. Meaning that development happens faster and faster. Major technological shifts are now intra-generational rather than inter-generational.
  3. Increased subjective (inner) complexity
    1. As the world shrinks, we are forced to handle different cultural perspectives etc.

We need to embrace complexity, rather than adopt unproductive reductionist and simplistic worldviews.

We need to do this on an individual as well as a societal/systemic level.

To embrace complexity on a societal/systemic level might be the more urgent issue.

In a democracy, this implies that we also need individuals to have the ability to understand the complexity of our challenges in order to elect political representatives that can embrace complexity on a societal/systemic level.

So now we understand why we need to develop the ability to embrace complexity both on an individual and societal level.

The question then becomes: Is it true, as some developmental psychologists claim, that we as individuals have a lifelong ability do develop our ability to perceive and handle complexity?**

If it is possible to develop our ability to perceive and handle complexity, is this process then in any way possible to somehow facilitate or is this something that should just grow out of a positive and nourishing environment?

What might such a positive and nourishing environment look like?

Participating in the roundtable were: Michel Alhadeff-Jones, Lene Rachel Andersen, Sturla Bjerkaker, Tomas Björkman, Jos van den Broek, Lasse Dencik, Tobias Etzold, Arthur KokBeate Richter, Jan Visser, and Michael Winkler

* Lasse: ad preventing Xenophobia to this list

** This could be an open question for a later workshop.

We (Tomas and Lene) think that the above issues were what motivated the German philosophers when they wrote about Bildung.

 

Posted in Building a Bildung Network.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Scientific Roundtable in Berlin – The Nordic Secret

  2. “We value human life. Not killing other humans is better than killing other humans.
    This means that peace is better than war. Going back to a fragmented, tribal, world is therefore not an option.
    We also value the lives of future generations, which in the age of the anthropocene means that we need to tackle the global environmental problems.”

    I like this part of our Berlin consensus. Of course we value human life. But we have to value life in general. I would prefer to say this differently:

    “We value life. We value a peaceful world. Going back to a fragmented and tribal world is not an option.
    We also value the life of future generations. Going further as we do now in this quite destructive Age of the Anthropocene is not an option. This means that we need to tackle the global environmental problems.”

  3. “If it is possible to develop our ability to perceive and handle complexity, is this process then in any way possible to somehow facilitate or is this something that should just grow out of a positive and nourishing environment?

    What might such a positive and nourishing environment look like?”

    “If it is possible to develop our ability to perceive and handle complexity:
    – can we somehow facilitate this process in any way possible;
    – do we even have the duty to handle so;
    – or is this something that should just grow out of a positive and nourishing environment?

    And what is the best way to establish such a positive and nourishing environment?”

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