The neglect of human and fundamental sciences to the benefit of technology and education is leading, though, to increasing alienation, social disruption and the incapacity to prevent major civilizational collapses (e.g. Irak, Syria, Lybia, South-Sudan, etc.). Paradoxically, this is the occasion for human sciences to find once again a social interest on their own scope, providing one designs an agenda to meet such an interest. In this sense, it would be erroneous to think that humanities are closer to social rather than to natural sciences, for instance, because this would restrict the scope of human sciences which is today very relevant for research in neurosciences, for instance, since one characteristic of the acceleration process in the fact that all fields of knowledge pervade the others.
In times of uncertainty, it is not the time to set detailed targets but for a flexible framework of reference capable of federating research and outlining a convergent path.
CIPSH engaged, with UNESCO, into a profound re-structuration of the Humanities in four main chapters, for which the HUM.CILM chair intends to contribute: re-structuring the modus operandi of the Humanities (new UNESCO chairs in transversal themes being a useful tool for that purpose), re-connecting the Humanities with daily life concerns (Cultural Integrated Landscape Management has precisely that aim), re-connecting the Humanities with other sciences, education and the arts (this is one of the pillars of the HUM.CILM approach) and to re-configure the global epistemological framework of the Humanities (the chair contributing for such reflection).
The World Humanities Conference, in 2017, led to five main results: institutional (new members and fields of study), strategic (a first state of the art of the humanities illustrated through the WHC, in six key-areas, now published through the proceedings, available online), networking (with UNESCO, with other international councils, but moreover across CIPSH members), organic (through new structures, such as the new UNESCO Humanities chairs) and operational (through new programmes, namely the Global History of Humanity, the Global Humanities Report and beyond).
The contribution of the humanities seems to be, at this stage, to reintroduce mid and long-term critical reasoning into everyday’ s concerns, refusing to fall into the trap to deliver short term solutions, while retrieving and strengthen fundamental notions of space, time and causality. Nevertheless, in times of transition and uncertainty, it would be too risky to set a final agenda for the humanities. This is the reason why the final document of the World Humanities Conference should be perceived not as a programme but as a flexible road-map, which allows to move forward and to integrate societal new demands and challenges.
Humanities today are about resuming rationality into making sense of things, promoting a praxis of knowledge and building a transition programme, rooted in projects and platforms to rebuild critical reasoning and integrative knowledge.
This requires several adaptive approaches that cluster in seven movements of change:
a) from problems into dilemmas (understanding that adaptation is not about solving all problems, which eventually will be solved, but to make adequate choices in face of given contextual constraints in each moment);
b) from alienation into critical knowledge (i.e., involving the majority of the population in the process of producing new knowledge and not to merely reproduce it);
c) from social ranked networks into sociocultural collaborative networks (based on vicinity or other references);
d) from tolerance into appreciation, i.e., from the acceptance of the existence of others that are still regarded as mainly different and, occasionally, inferior, into the understanding that each culture completes gaps in the other cultures, thus being a need to cherish and not a difficulty to tolerate;
e) from depression (economic and psychological) into global understanding, rooted in academic knowledge;
f) from activism into making sense of things and actions; and
g) from sciences and humanities apartheid into integrated adaptive responses.
HUM.CILM is, in close collaboration with the APHELEIA International Association (www.apheleiaproject.org), framed as part of CIPSH’s strategy.