Bridging Boundaries In a Complex World
Life did not take over the world by combat but by networking.
Human creativity and imagination have allowed us to cooperate and create societies and cultures that is distinct from all other life forms. This imagination has shaped life, as we know it, in complex and never before imagined ways: be it increasing human longevity, pulling large numbers of people out of poverty, our ability to feed, clothe and shelter people under the most challenging conditions or communicating across remote corners of the world. However, for the first time in the history of the planet, human activity is also challenging the present and future of life on the planet: global warming, ecological degradation and rapidly increasing social and economic inequalities. Is it possible for human society to sustain itself in the present while sustaining the planet for future generations? Can human creativity and imagination be used to build networks, collaborate to maintain and sustain the planetary web of life?
This course will attempt to draw insights from various worldviews – both modern science and experiential knowledge of indigenous cultures – to help students view the surrounding world as an interconnected network rather than in fragments. Students will learn to: appreciate the importance of multiple ways of knowing about the world; see issues and responses as relationships in a system rather than as isolated events and; use skills of collective thinking, dialogue and action in responding to complex issues.
The transdisciplinary approach of the course will bring in important ideas from both natural and social sciences. Projects built into the course will involve critical thinking and studying ways to overcome conditioning and biases to help students think more creatively. Real-life examples will be used to understand ideas of complexity and uncertainty as well as ways of responding to these situations. Extensive discussions, debates, readings, role plays and projects will provide an immersive learning experience.