Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man QUOTES

Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man QUOTES

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"Effective statecraft is characterised by the successful reconciliation of all interests.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 28)

“The concept of just power ought to guide the use of power in an interdependent and interconnected world” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 28)

“The interaction of geo-cultural domains should be synergistic to maintain global harmony.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 29)

“A set of global values in keeping with human nature and dignity need to be identified and developed” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 29)

“Strict ethical guidelines need to be developed in anticipation of significant technological and biotechnological advances in order to guarantee human dignity” (Nayef Al-Rodhan p. 29)

“Rather than thinking of competing and separate civilisations, we should think in terms of only one human civilisation (one human story), comprised of multiple geo-cultural domains that contain sub-cultures.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 34)

“Ultimately, I conclude that however we understand existence, what gives meaning to our lives are those things that serve our neurochemically based emotional self-interest in a sustainable way.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 85-86)

“Thus, neurochemically mediated gratification is highly individualistic and behaviour that serves that end will take a variety of forms, some more benign than others. This has potentially dangerous implications. It helps to explain why an individual may be able to rationalise harmful or abhorrent behaviour and, moreover, why that behaviour may make that person’s life meaningful.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 97)

“Addictive drugs misuse the brain’s existing pre-programming, activating reward mechanisms and extreme feelings of pleasure. When stimulated, the brain’s pleasure centres emit signals to repeat the behaviour. In this sense, the brain is pre-programmed to “feel good”.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 97)

“Indeed, most human behaviour is a form of psychological addiction that has a neurochemical foundation. In this sense, we are all addicts of one sort or another. Whether “addictions” have positive or negative implications will in part depend on a person’s psychological profile as well as external factors. Parenting, education and society can positively influence neuronal architecture and physiology by associating gratification with behaviour that is constructive for the individual and society as a whole.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 98)

“The meaningfulness of existence is therefore highly individualistic and connected to whatever behaviour brings the most neurochemically mediated gratification. Human beings will do many things, but they will only repeat what gratifies them in some way, whether related behaviour is instinctive or pre-conditioned by social or cultural norms.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 98)

“Knowledge derived from sense-data is not certain. Thus, pure empiricism is rejected” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 108)

“Knowledge is also inferred from what is accepted as established knowledge, with new knowledge being based on the best explanation. This includes “possible truths subject to proof”” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, p. 108)

“Knowledge about things beyond our immediate environment may be acquired through deduction, if the initial premises are believed to be correct.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 108)

“The notion of innate knowledge (including moral knowledge) is rejected, but that of moral sensitivities is accepted.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 108)

“Knowledge is based on sense-data and reason.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 108)

“All knowledge is to some extent interpreted.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 108)

“Interpretation is the prism through which we order sense-data” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 108)

“There is a physical neurobiological substrate to all human knowledge, including thoughts, memories, perceptions and emotions. To this end, mental states and thought processes are physical.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 109)

“Morally relevant emotions are essential for living in social groups and they provide the basis on which we may construct conceptual frameworks that help guide our actions, but human beings should more accurately be thought of as being endowed with morally relevant capacities rather than innate moral knowledge.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 128)

“Knowledge therefore relies on not only sense experience, but also reason, both of which are filtered by interpretation. Yet, decisions based on accepted knowledge must be guided by ethics, not in terms of how to acquire knowledge but in terms of its application. While we should seek certain knowledge, ethics have a role in applying it to everyday life in order to safeguard human dignity. This “ethical right of passage” is likely to become all the more important.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 130)

“Each high point in the history of human civilisation has taken place where the conditions were ripe and has borrowed and built on the achievements of other cultures whose “golden age” may have passed.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 138)

“Almost every golden age of geo-cultural domains has been characterised by good governance, exchanges, borrowing, innovation and the adaptation of earlier contributions to forms of knowledge, and rationalism.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 171)

“One challenge is to agree on minimum criteria of good governance that are not perceived as a threat to cultural traditions and to draw on moral concepts that are indigenous to specific cultural settings.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 172-173)

“A further contemporary challenge that we face is to uncover from the dust the many examples of coexistence and cross-cultural fertilisation that represent parts of our common history, which was marked not by conflict but by tolerance of diversity and mutual sharing.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 173)

“Another look at the history of relations between the Arab-Islamic and Latin Christian worlds calls into question the notion that their relations have been marked by blood and conquest. Conflict certainly existed, but there have also been mutually enriching exchanges that have helped to shape the world we live in today. We need therefore to engage in individual and collective efforts to salvage these more hopeful parts of our common history in order to construct a narrative that is not marked by the division between “us” and “them”, but is testimony to our capacity to coexist peacefully.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan,Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 176)

“My own cursory examination of the golden ages of the Arab-Islamic world suggests that good governance, a high value placed on learning, an openness to critique, toleration and respect for diversity are vital ingredients for enabling innovation of all forms to flourish. Good governance is therefore a vital component of sustainable history.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 178)

“Human beings are largely motivated by their emotional repertoire, manifested through their need for attachment, physical security, a sense of belonging and a positive personal and collective identity.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 186)

“Civilisational triumph is thus not a zero-sum enterprise that favours one geo-cultural domain over another.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 213)

“Civilisational triumph is important because if it is not actively sought, conflictual relations between members of geo-cultural domains may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 219)

“Justice is paramount to civilisational triumph because of its centrality to human dignity needs, the success of individual geo-cultural domains and the well-being of human civilisation.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 219)

“...I argued that civil society needs to be empowered not simply through partnerships with multilateral institutions, but also through a universal citizens’ charter premised, in the first instance, on a broad conception of human rights – one that includes not only political, civil, gender and cultural rights but also basic social rights.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 295)

“While contact and exchanges have taken place between people of different cultures for millennia, today is marked by the unprecedented intensity and scope of relations. This offers up great opportunities on a number of levels. Historically, decisive contributions to humanity’s collective knowledge have often occurred as a result of borrowing and exchanges.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 385)

“Focusing purely on extremism, whether in the Arab-Islamic world or the West, will not alleviate the root causes of tensions between members of different cultures. It will only alienate those who do not recognise themselves in those stereotypes, and generate fear and misunderstanding.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan,Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 390)

“This lack of historical memory is partly linked to the response to the influence of the Arab-Islamic world on Medieval Europe at a time when the Islamic faith and Arab-Islamic culture had a considerable appeal.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 393)

“Cultural essentialism is, thus, intimately tied to power relations. Fixity, homogeneity and separateness are prioritised within an essentialist framework. Therefore, part of any effort to resist essentialism is recognising diversity within difference, contingency, mutability and connectedness.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan,Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 393)

“It seems appropriate to recall at this point that the basis of human rights is a normative ideal about how people should be treated. In the most fundamental sense it is about ensuring human dignity. If the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been able to secure as much support as it has, it is because people of the world’s various cultures share the desire to protect and promote human dignity. While we have no innate moral principles, we are all emotionally driven beings who have basic needs, which include the need for a positive sense of self, and some morally relevant emotions which act as a basis for the formation of normative ideals that help to guide our moral compass. We have developed moral codes, because we are self-aware and emotionally self-interested.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 396-397)

“Considerations of justice are also integral to efforts to generate transcultural security in the first instance and, ultimately, transcultural synergy.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 403)

“One of the key ingredients of coexistence and successful cooperation is trust.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan,Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 403)

“A universal axiology would need to identify the common normative ideals that we have in our diverse moral languages which underpin fundamental values. This is likely to take place through communication, exploration and increased awareness of cultural and religious diversity, making dialogue as well as research, education and exchanges critical. Given that our moral codes are normative ideals, it ought to be possible to develop a global moral code on the basis of common universal values.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan,Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 409)

“One means of breaking down essentialist conceptions of geocultural domains and highlighting their interconnectedness within a much broader human civilisation is to research and raise awareness of the many and varied instances of exchanges and borrowings that have taken place between different geo-cultural domains. This is important not only for diminishing cultural arrogance, but also for building greater understanding, respect and trust among members of the world’s cultures. All relationships of trust and respect are premised, among other things, on reciprocity, and that includes recognition of others achievements and of our debts to them.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 413)

“Whether we make it as a species and in what form will undoubtedly be shaped by technology. Will technology alter what it means to be human? The answer to this seems to be yes. The question is how this eventuality will be ethically circumscribed and what it will mean for humanness. Governance in this area is likely to become of paramount importance, and careful, informed decisions need to be made today about enhancement on the basis of maintaining dignity and the well-being of humanity.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 433)

“While humankind is predominantly motivated by emotional self-interest, what also makes us who we are includes the capacity for reason and conscious reflection. It is these latter qualities that have enabled human beings to develop moral codes to help guide us in our relation to others, since humankind is not endowed with innate morality – only with morally relevant emotions. We are therefore emotional amoral egoists.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 436)

“Indeed, collective triumph will also depend both on the application of reason and the recognition that a great deal of knowledge is indeterminate and may be temporally, spatially and perhaps culturally constrained.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 437)

“The development of human civilisation is built on foundations to which everyone has contributed.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 438)

“However, ultimately, we need to explore further which aspects of governance have the widest universal applications by looking at how desirable governance arrangements are conceived around the globe.” (Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man, p. 440)