Virtues and Social Health

In 1893, the first Parliament of the World’s Religions is established in Chicago, and it asserts that science itself is pointing the way to unity. In 1912, the father of experimental psychology Wilhelm Wundt publishes a detailed description of the psychological and cultural evolution of human consciousness toward unity. In 1944, Nobel laureate for physics and father of quantum theory Max Planck states that consciousness is primary, and matter is a derivative. In 1945, writer Aldous Huxley publishes his classic Perennial Philosophy, describing the common ideas, principles, and values of all spiritual teachings in history. In 1948, the world adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. From 1954 to 1968, the U.S. Civil Rights Movement radically changes contemporary society. In 1969, the first moonwalk captured a new and vaster perspective on our planetary homeland. In 1979, after experiencing the overview effect from the Moon (, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell establishes The Institute for Noetic Sciences, which studies processes of consciousness beyond the limitations of reductionistic scientism. In 1982, quantum theorist David Bohm states that deep down the consciousness of humankind is one. In 1993, the second Parliament of World’s Religions adopts a Declaration of Global Ethic. In 1996, Erwin Laszlo creates The Club of Budapest in support of the emerging planetary consciousness of the oneness of humankind.

The most impressive and vast-scale expression of this process is The Earth Charter, launched in 2000 after a decade of cross-cultural consultations of 4,500 NGOs from the global civil society. Watch this video, which offers a beautiful summary of the scope of this global document, and points to the deep planetary transformation ahead of us.

In 2000, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan states, “We are one human family, in all our diversity, living on one common homeland…”. In 2010, The Shift Network is founded – a global movement accelerating a shift in consciousness.

In 2009, a highly publicized statistical study of health and social problems in 23 rich countries, done by British epidemiologists, confirms that interdependence and relative equality are chief factors for the wellbeing of society. Once basic human needs are met, the more unequal a society, the higher the Index of Health and Social Problems, including mental illness, longevity, crime, etc. The lower the ‘status anxiety’ in a country due to relatively greater equality, the lower the Index of Health and Social Problems.[1]

The global financial crisis of 2008-9 showed that the global economy requires principled global solutions. The frozen in time national political governance structures cannot address meaningfully the rising global risks.

Now, massive global movements are reexamining the fundamental values that inform our collective life. Among them are movements for global unity, such as, campaigns that redefine global security as human security, youth climate action, indigenous movements for planetary justice, and many more.

[1] Wilkinson & Pickett, Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger