University of Earth

Projects Overview (Explanations)
Human Development Project (Explanations)

Human Potential and Development Project

Overview: Human Development Project


Projects: Problems | Strategies | Values | Integrative concepts | Human development | Transformative approaches | Metaphors

Scope and rationale
Background
Organization and structure
Information content
Method and development

Explanatory comments
Context

Reservations and disclaimer
Statistics
Media used & multi-media


Scope and rationale

The purpose of this project is to describe briefly the complete range of concepts of human development with which people identify, consider meaningful or reject in their search for growth and fulfilment in life. The scope of this project has been deliberately extended beyond the unrelated concepts accepted with great caution by intergovernmental agencies: the job-fulfilment orientation of ILO, the health-oriented concepts of WHO and the education-oriented concepts of UNESCO. It includes concepts legitimated by the psychological and psychoanalytical establishments as well as those promoted by the various contemporary growth movements. It also includes concepts from religions and from belief systems of different cultures. Entries are clustered into two groups:

This section indicates ways in which people struggle within themselves for fulfilment and the experiences associated with that struggle which they find meaningful (whether or not such experiences are considered totally deluded or inappropriate by different scientific or religious establishments). That many of these experiences cannot be effectively "put into words" is indicated by the use of metaphors or symbols in naming them. These appear as strange to Western eyes as do others to Eastern cultures.

Background

This project was conceived as the complement to the World Problems Project in the original conception in 1972 of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential -- then titled the Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential.

Organization and structure

The database incluides  4,456 entries. It is divided into two sub-databases, corresponding to the sections described above:

Attribution to a particular type is never considered definitive and is continually reviewed for the on-line version.

The entries have been interlinked by 15,237 cross-references. These either indicate relationships between more general or more specific concepts, or, especially in Section HM, the relationship between succeeding modes of awareness in some process of human development (whether linear or cyclical).

Information content

Profiles of human development approaches and modes of awareness, and their relationships, as perceived by different beliefs systems, disciplines, religions, and cultures (notably those represented by international organizations -- profiled in a complementary source: Yearbook of International Organizations):

Method and development

The information used was obtained from a wide range of specialized reference books as well as from reports published by intergovernmental organizations. A detailed description of the method is given in the commentary.

Source: There are no official lists of approaches to human development -- nor to their associated modes of awareness. The approaches to human development profiled here are derived from extensive literature searches across disciplines, cultures and spiritual traditions. In some cases what is named may not appear either like an approach to human development, nor a mode of awareness, but it may be interpreted as such by some within the culture or discipline concerned.

Names: Approaches to human development may have a variety of names, especially through the manner in which they are translated between different languages and spiritual traditions. The alphabetic index list, based on a single name per approach, is therefore an essentially arbitrary ordering of the items in the database. As a random presentation of the contents of the database, it has the advantage of drawing attention to the variety of pathways and understandings which individuals may encounter during their personal and collective development.

Development: Although this is the complete list of the human development entries published in the Encyclopedia, it is important to recognize that the database is continually being expanded, notably through the addition of other approaches that are aspects of those already included in the list. In addition to refining entries and extending the range, consideration could again be given to the possibility of including specific bibliographic references as was done for the previous edition. It would be possible to extend the range to offer better coverage of modes of awareness recognized in non-Western cultures. A pattern of cross-references to specific symbols and to specific values could also be developed. 

Explanatory comments

Detailed explanations and commentary are also provided in a collection of 27 documents

Research studies on human development, written in relation to this project and to international organizations, are directly accessible from separate checklists:

The information on human development and modes of awareness, and how it can be organized, is seen as one of the keys to the global organization of knowledge about organizations, strategies, or problems.

The contrasting approaches to human development in different cultures, and their respective understandings of the modes of awareness associated with different stages in that development process, are a challenge to knowledge management and comprehension. It is for this reason that unconventional approaches to the orgaznization of such information are explored, notably through web interfaces.

Note that more general comments and explanations, regarding the collection of projects initiated within the framework of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, are available in a collection of 27 documents.

Context

The contents presented by this project may be considered as complementing the other projects in ways such as the following:

Reservations and disclaimer

Reservations: Many of the concepts of human development do not lend themselves to brief verbal description, particularly where their proponents sharply distinguish them from other concepts that could well be described using the same words. In editing the descriptions no attempt has yet been made to clarify such difficulties.

Verbal descriptions of subjective experiences can only be inappropriate, if not insensitive or totally inadequate. Nevertheless such descriptions are attempted by those drawing attention to the importance of particular modes of awareness. Attempting to group such descriptions into one framework obscures implicit subtle distinctions. It is for this reason that no attempt has been made to combine entries on different approaches to what might be considered the same mode of awareness.

Disclaimer: Whilst honouring the views of quite different cultures and belief systems, these profiles do not endeavour to distinguish between "positive" and "negative" approaches to human development. It is important to recognize that for advocates of particular approaches to human development, alternative approaches may be perceived as totally misleading, if not downright dangerous. Such views are usually reciprocated and lead notably to religious conflict. The purpose of this list is to raise questions about the circumstances under which particular approaches may be seen as constructive or destructive. It is for the reader to exercise discrimination in determining under what circumstances particular approaches amy be considered as "positive" or "negative" in their implications. Presence of items on this list in no way implies approval of a particular approach by the UIA as an organization. Extensive commentary on these issues is provided in the Encyclopedia.

Statistics

Statistics on human development, in the light of the methodology of this project, are provided in tables in the commentary and were published in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. They are also also available on-line

Media used & multi-media

The profiles of approaches to are published in:

The information generated by this project on human development and different understandings of modes of awareness has been published initially in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential; subsequently it has been made available on-line.

Networks of relationships between different concepts and successions of states of awareness have been explored with the experimental visualization techniques associated with the on-line version.


From Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential

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This work is licensed by Anthony Judge
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