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In response to the paradigma shift FROM SURVIVAL TO QUALITY OF LIFE (the greatest ever) : a progressive evolutionary worldview . ECCO Jan. 25th 2007 Jan Bernheim Vrije Universiteit Brussel jan.bernheim@vub.ac.be. A poorly prepared project takes three times as long as planned.

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    1. In response to the paradigma shift FROM SURVIVAL TO QUALITY OF LIFE (the greatest ever) :a progressive evolutionary worldview ECCO Jan. 25th 2007 Jan Bernheim Vrije Universiteit Brussel jan.bernheim@vub.ac.be

    2. A poorly prepared project takes three times as long as planned A well prepared project takes twice as long as planned

    3. Abraham Maslow’s Pyramid of Human needs

    4. The greatest paradigma shift ever: FROM SURVIVAL TO QUALITY OF LIFE

    5. Suffering as the default state of the human condition • Nature is indifferent to suffering: only survival matters • Examples: spider wasps, predators •  Escapisms: renunciation (oriental philosophies) or metaphysical transcendency (religions, mysticism, the eternal life of the soul…)

    6. Challenges1/4 • The old discourses, religions and communism, for example, are discredited. • Richard Dawkins (The Delusion of Religion, 2006) : religions are pernicious because: - Fallacious - Calamitous - Obstructive for progress

    7. President Bush says God talks to him. If he had said it was through his hairdryer, there would have been a national emergency. I for one don’t see what the hairdryer adds to the ridicule of the situation Sam HarrisIn: Letter to a Christian Nation 2006

    8. Pros and cons of religions • “Good people do good things and bad people do bad things. But for good people tot do bad things, it takes religion.” Stephen Weinberg • “And for bad people to do good things also that takes religion.” Freeman Dyson

    9. CHALLENGES2/4 • The old discourses filled needs. Their discredit leaves voids: • Believers are happier, give more to charities… • Unbelievers know better what they don’t believe than what they do believe. • A world without God is cold and gloomy, without transcendence. • Can one replace religions by a scientific worldview that would be at least as satisfying?

    10. Challenges 3/4Alternatives to the great discourses? • Grotesque worldviews (fundamentalisms, New Age…)? • Relativisms? • Consumerism and Postmodernism: vacuity as a worldview.

    11. Challenge4/4 • From heteronomous (communitarianisms, authoritarianisms), humans have become autonomous • ( individualism). (Also according to modern christians, e.g. Roger Lenaerts S.J.: De droom van Nebuchadnezar, Lannoo, 2004)

    12. What after the grand discourses?

    13. What to expect from a worldview : help in confronting the big questions • What exists?: an ontology • Where do things come from?: an ontogenesis • The purpose of life?: an axiology • Where are we going?: a futurology • Truth and un-truth?: an epistemology • How to live in uncertainty? a life praxis • An explanation of behaviours?: a praxeology • Good and bad?: an ethics • A rational framework for emotions and mysteries

    14. Objective • Can we, following Leo Apostel,construct a contemporary worldview based on the sciences and multidisciplinarity? • Let’s rise to the challenge: the Darwinian (~ matter) and historical(~ time) perspectives lead to a progressive evolutionary worldview

    15. Evolutionary Theory :short instructions for the user1/3 • 1) variation and 2) selection of better fit variants • Evolution is both conservative and progressive: what works well persists and what works better is selected. • It obtains for both genes (units of biological transmission) and for memes (units of cultural transmission) • Fitness for what? For capacity of survival and procreation

    16. Evolutionary Theory :short instructions for the user2/3 • The two imperatives of de existence are:SURVIVAL and PROCREATION • In a competitive world, with limited resources, the two survival strategies for which we were selected are : - agression - egoism and - co-operation - altruism

    17. Avatars of Aggressivity • violence, • elimination, • appropriation, • submission, • exclusion, • exploitation of nature and humans • ....

    18. Avatars of co-operation • Kindness, friendship, love (in that order), • solidarity, compassion, care (in that order), • benevolence, helpfulness • credibility, • justice  in short: what we call the VIRTUES, a universal ethics, “secular humanism”, the inter-religious common language proposed by the catholic ethicist Tristram Engelhardt MD.

    19. What to expect from a worldview : help in confronting the big questions • What exists?: an ontology • Where do things come from?: an ontogenesis • The purpose of life?: an axiology • Where are we going?: a futurology • Truth and un-truth?: an epistemology • How to live in uncertainty? a life praxis • An explanation of behaviours?: a praxeology • Good and bad?: an ethics • A rational framework for emotions and mysteries

    20. Agression and co-operation as survival strategies • A mix of both strategies is necessary for survival. • Problem: Our genes by and large are those of the hunters- gatherers of 10.000 years ago, selected for what THEN was the best mix of agression and co-operation: we’re ‘misfits’, poorly adapted to the present world, which is far more complex.

    21. An ETHICS Behavioural mix adapted to society AGGRESSION CO-OPERATION Time, Complexity

    22. CONSEQUENCES OF INCREASING COMPLEXITY • The more complex a society, the more opportunity for aggression & co-operation, • More interactions = more feedback  aggression inhibited  co-operation rewarded

    23. An ETHICS Time, Complexity Behavioural mix adapted to society Acceleration AGGRESSION CO-OPERATION

    24. How do we cope with our genetic misfitness? • We compensate for our obsolete genes by memes: horizontally and vertically transmissible cultural factors, such as: behaviours, judeo-christian norms et laws or secular humanistic principles ... •  Civilisation is a means to cope with our obsolete genes.

    25. An ETHICS Time, Complexity Behavioural mix adapted to society AGRESSION Genetic mix CO-OPERATION

    26. An ETHICS Time, Complexity Behavioural mix adapted for society AGRESSION CULTUREL AJUSTMENT NEEDS Genetic mix CO-OPERATION

    27. What to expect from a worldview : help in confronting the big questions • What exists?: an ontology • Where do things come from?: an ontogenesis • The purpose of life?: an axiology • Where are we going?: a futurology • Truth and un-truth?: an epistemology • How to live in uncertainty? a life praxis • An explanation of behaviours?: a praxeology • Good and bad?: an ethics • A rational framework for emotions and mysteries

    28. An ONTOGENESIS: where do we come from? Ontogenesis repeats phylogenesis / development re-iterates history (Haeckel’s law) • For anatomy • In the mental and behavioral realm: developmental psychology • For societies and civilisations: modernity versus the anteriority (not inferiority!) of alternative societal models

    29. What to expect from a worldview : help in confronting the big questions • What exists?: an ontology • Where do things come from?: an ontogenesis • The purpose of life?: an axiology • Where are we going?: a futurology • Truth and un-truth?: an epistemology • How to live in uncertainty? a life praxis • An explanation of behaviours?: a praxeology • Good and bad?: an ethics • A rational framework for emotions and mysteries

    30. The purpose of life?: an AXIOLOGY • From survival to QOL: the greatest revolution ever • Its utilitarian ethics, suffering and enjoyment as the measure of all things (JS Mill, J. Bentham, Peter Singer, …) also provides the purpose of life: maximising the ratio of enjoyment and suffering

    31. Definitions of Happiness • Relativistic, from Aristotle to postmodernism • Escapistic • Evolutionary: sustainable pleasure, i.e . the feeling one has when the indicators for satisfaction of needs are favourable : food, shelter, love, growth and (Maslow!) self-actualisation

    32. A tall order:to measure subjective well-being, the perception quality of lifei.e. To quantify what is qualitative To make objective what is subjective

    33. Mesurer ce qui est mesurable, et rendre mesurable ce qui ne l’ est pas.René Descartes

    34. Conventional Question (CQ) Biographical Question (ACSA) Conventional question versus Anamnestic Comparative Self Assessment (ACSA). Which global question is better suited? OR

    35. Examples of sequential ACSA measures during disease • Bernheim, J.L., and M. Buyse: 1984, J. Psychosoc. Oncol. 1. 25‑38

    36. Discrimination (inter-group comparisons)& Sensitivity to objective change (after life- and QOL-saving transplantation in End-Stage-Liver Disease )

    37. The distribution of happiness in the world

    38. This was a snapshot. Next question: does happiness progress?

    39. Health Wealth Security Liberties Equality Tolerance Information, knowledge In short: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) OBJECTIVE indicators of (SUBJECTIVE) happiness

    40. Are these indicators - stable?- in regression?- in progress?