Critique of public discourse and the meaning of life in the universe

These two topics were dealt with at the regular autumn meeting of the Institut für Design Science München in Wittenberg. This fifth meeting took place from 9 to 11 September 2022.

Though, at a first glance, these topics (see programme) don’t seem to have much in common, the discussion gave a flashlight picture of the state of humanity at the current polycrisis – accelerated by a war in Ukraine that could lead mankind to the precipice as well as by the heating of planet Earth that is already endangering its habitability for many living species including Homo sapiens. This is accompanied by a widespread mindset of arousal feeding nationalism, xenophobia, even racism and fascist traditions, while depleting sanity. However, seen from above, from space or from a metalevel, the differences among humans look tiny (see our movie on Edgar Morin’s Homeland Earth). Given this deplorable state of humanity, extraterrestrial intelligence that might have reached a point of evolution beyond the point that humans of today are struggling to overcome might not be enthusiastic to contact us if they were enabled to do so.

From GSIS, besides Rainer E. Zimmermann from Berlin, Annette Grathoff und Wolfgang Hofkirchner from Vienna and Tomáš Sigmund from Prague took part. Three of them held a lecture (see below). Furthermore, Inga Gammel from Aarhus, Annette Schlemm from Jena and Doris Zeilinger from Nuremberg participated who, at the turn of the millennium, were co-workers in the common Austrian-German-Russian-Ukrainian project Human Strategies in Complexity (with Hofkirchner, Zimmermann, Vjacheslav Stepin† and Iryna Dobronravova as respective team leaders).

Hofkirchner wearing a T-shirt bought in post-Orange-Revolution Ukraine

Wolfgang Hofkirchner | Imperative der Konvivialität für das “Anthropozän” | slides (pdf)

Sigmund at the front

Tomáš Sigmund | Rationalität im öffentlichen Diskurs | abstract (pdf)

Zimmermann starting his lecture

Rainer E. Zimmermann | Potenzial und Emergenz | slides (ppt)

Participants and the moon at the dinner [photos: Hofkirchner, Sigmund]

All contributions will be published in the yearbook Signifikant.


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