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Human-Friendly Worldviews

Willi Baumeister, "Growth of the Crystals II" (1947/52). Oil with resin and putty on hardboard. © Willi Baumeister / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany

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Human-Friendly Worldviews

We are excited to host a workshop on the topic of "Human-Friendly Worldviews" on the 13th of February 2024.

Worldviews, like stories, can help or hinder action. As the novelist P. D. James once said, “What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give”. Yet our orthodox scientific worldview repeatedly reinforces the idea that we as humans are an accident of nature, without free will and agency, and certainly not special in any way (Robert Sapolsky's recent book, Determined, being a notable case in point). At the same time, the stated goals of this same scientific orthodoxy include such things as climate action. These seem to cancel each other out.

Yet, as this workshop will reveal, there are plausible worldviews that promote humanitarian goals by providing visions of humans in the world that at least open up a space for human freedom, and can even empower action by providing a narrative in which humans are presented as natural stewards of their world. The mutlidsicplinary panel of speakers highlights a central idea of the workshop which is that part of the problems that arise from the reductionistic, materialist dogma that blinds scientists from seeing not only the big picture in terms of scientific ideas, but also the impact that their ideas can have on the future of humanity, for better or worse.
We will see talks covering political philosophy, theology, metaphysics, biology, physics and complexity, history of ideas, and more.

This workshop contributes to the goal defined by the Conceptions of Human Flourishing program at THE NEW INSTITUTE – to outline new ways of capturing the diversity of human experience beyond formal measurements.

Download the program as PDF.


This workshop is a closed event.

If you have any questions about our events, please contact Victoria Sukhomlinova.

Press inquiries can be made here.

curatorial note

Willi Baumeister's painting 'Growth of the Crystals II (1947/52)' represents his artistic evolution in the 1950s. Departing from geometric abstraction, the work pulsates with organic energy and vibrant colors. Baumeister's rich palette and textured surfaces invite tactile exploration, while ancient symbols hint at universal themes. This painting reflects his pursuit of innovation and engagement with the human condition.

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