CFP: Can Collective Wisdom Save Civilization? [Abstracts deadline: April 1, 2014]

Dear All,

I’ve just stumbled upon a CFP that may be of interest Circle-wise. The core topic of this year’s conference of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations is the question “Can Collective Wisdom Save Civilization?,” which is essentially a question of a global philosophy in its truest sense, that is, loving and embracing wisdom on a global scale.

You can read the call below. The closing date for abstracts submission is April 1, 2014 so we still have reasonable time to think things over.



P.S. I was somewhat unsure how to categorize this post, so sorry in advance if I’ve made any mess with it.


Call for Papers

Theme: Can Collective Wisdom Save Civilization?
Type: 44th Annual Conference
Institution: International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, Monmouth University
Location: West Long Branch, NJ (USA)
Date: 11.–15.6.2014
Deadline: 1.4.2014

The Theme for 2014 is “Can Collective Wisdom Save Civilization?”. The conference will be held at Monmouth University on the New Jersey shore, a lively, scenic location with the Atlantic Ocean and boardwalk nearby. An excursion is being planned for interested delegates, and there will also be reduced registration fees for
graduate students.

What exactly is “wisdom” and how can wisdom be promoted on a global level to deal with a number of serious crises now facing the future of civilization? What have been some different definitions of wisdom? This is an ancient topic, but how can it be specifically applied today? What, if anything, can be done to solve these problems

Some applications may be (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • What exactly is human nature and how is this relevant to civilizational futures?
  • What are some possible solutions to overpopulation and the related problems of over-industrialization, resource-depletion and environmental degradation?
  • What are some possible solutions to the problem of inequality, economic and otherwise?
  • Why do a few have so much while so many have so little? Do rich nations have any responsibilities to the poor ones?
  • Is Capitalism really working today? What did the “occupy” movements signify? Why are many western economies currently floundering? How have technological advances (especially increasing automation) contributed to the current jobs crisis?
  • Does material accumulation really bring happiness? Why/why not?
  • Is humankind naturally prone to conflict or cooperation? How are organizations like the United Nations faring with regard to international responses to regional problems?
  • What is a Utopia? Dystopia? How are these terms relevant today? What roles do utopias and dystopias play for the future of society? Have our leaders run out of inspiration? Is fear now the main rhetoric?
  • In the 20th century, humanity saw the rise of several grand ideologies: Communism, Fascism, Liberalism, etc. We also saw the dismantling of many of the institutions built on these grand visions. Have today’s leaders given up on grand visions? Is narrow self-interest and small scaled-down retraction now the trend? If so, what are the implications of this? Is this ‘realpolitik’ or just the politics of disillusionment?

And of course, papers concerning all questions relevant to civilizational studies are also welcome! These could include:

  • Studies of great civilizationalists, e.g., Spengler, Toynbee, Sorokin. Quigley, etc.
  • Analyses of particular civilizations and/or comparative studies of civilizations.
  • Decline and progress of civilizations.

Please send abstracts via email by April 1, 2014 (@ 300 words) to:

Prof. David J. Rosner
Metropolitan College of New York
ISCSC President and 2014 Program Chair



Having now got this simple blog up and running, I’m conscious that the mantra emerging from the mailing list so far is let’s maximise action and minimise the mail box. It’s a common frustration with on-line communities, that whether email, forum or blog based, that all we ever seem to do is talk (in or about written text). Sooner rather than later, the on-line communications should concern actions we’re taking individually and as a group. However, it will be exceptional, that many of us do actually get together to act in any physically co-located activity, so in general we are only going to get to know each other through our conversations, mainly conversations via electronic media.

One of the things I like about the way this group has come together so far, is that despite the common aims, we are nevertheless from many overlapping groups and initiatives with their own principal activities and goals, each with our own pet-projects and pet-subjects. In some sense, since “wise action” to tackle global problems is our common aim, we all must be to some extent “pragmatic” yet we’ve got this far without nailing our common colours to the mast of any particular methodology or “ism”. I think that’s healthy.

One suggestion I have, is that in order to fast-track “getting to know” each other, and respect each other’s existing projects and activities, we should probably each pen an “introduction” for a members page, with links to our existing activities and pet resources. One reason to do this (from experience) is that we will often feel the relevance to “plug” something we’re already doing, yet feel guilty about too many personal plugs hijacking other members posts. The links and resources, should all find their way into the wiki and or other web-pages as appropriate, but a personal statement of interests, publications and aspirations of each member should stand in their own right?