Early human settlements were dependent on proximy to water and other natural resources. Because of opportunities, they gradually settled elsewhere, went into societies and communities, organized states and laws, created highest levels of thoughts and strived for justice, peace and happiness. By the time it has appeared that in general liberal democracy, humanistic principles, and the economic ideology of capitalism / the holistic model of eco-social market economy will provide as best for man to meet the broadest needs of the people.


Ethics is a major branch of philosophy, encompassing right conduct and good life. According to Aristotle, the virtues prudence, justice, temperance, courage are defined as a balance points between a deficiency and an excess of a trait. The point of greatest virtue lies not in the exact middle, but at a golden mean sometimes closer to one extreme than the other. It requires common-sense smarts to find this golden mean. In Aristotle's sense, it is excellence at being human, a skill which helps a person survive, thrive, form meaningful relationships and find happiness.


Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, spoke about ethics for humanity in the 21st Century during Aga Khan University’s Special Lecture Series on August 11, 2020.



With the shift of church dogmas in the direction of shaping own life, man came increasingly more central. By establishing institutes and naturally developing enlightened attitudes toward life, we created the modern era. But what has happened to you, Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom?, questioned Pope Francis May 6, 2016. What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters? What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great man and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?


Europe faltered by a variety of causes such as substantial national debts, lack of sound reforms in southern Europe, the fragile and vulnerable periphery. Populism, nationalism, and buro-technocracy reign and rulers leadership style turned from democratic into authoritarian. A fear of loss of local identity, a distate of elitist politicians far away, and an unequal distribution of wealth foster a preference for tribal interests. As a consequence, serious separatist movements emerged in several countries.

Other important aspects are the impact of destabilising geopolitical games by the Russian Federation on the (mid)eastern frontiers, the demographic explosions in Africa and Asia and religious terrorism.


To avoid and to counter ghosts from the past and to protect the future we need to work on (historical) awareness and participation of citizens towards democratic institutional frameworks as well as civic cultures. Do not run completely counter to our founding principles; freedom is easy to attack and difficult to protect. The words we use and the attitudes we carry matter. Do not let it become hateful ideologies. It will be like that man is autonomous, striving for happiness in this earthly life, using science, innovation and social skills. And in a world with many asymmetries and equally contrary views, we need the humanities, quality, erudition, and tolerance. But countless obstacles are standing results in the way. With the help of many technical possibilities the world is in a good position to reach each other directly, to sufficiently involve and to adequately inform each other in projects.