“As the new millennium is slowly getting under way, it is becoming increasingly clear that the coming years are going to present absolutely crucial dangers as well as opportunities for the continuing evolution of the human race” – Mihalyi (Mike) Csikszentmihalyi.
Not long has passed since professor Cskikszentmihakyi, our first scientific director, left this world. But his wisdom remains. The recent events in Ukraine support Mike’s wisdom and insight in seeing the dangers and opportunities inherentn in the world. Our mission for the Science for Peace project is to do applied research that discourages the use of violence to resolve conflicts. Such destructive violence is one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Thus, we issue this statement, not to take a political stance, but to send our prayers and to manifest our support to all the people who are suffering the consequences of this war.
Mike warned us of crucial dangers of societal violence in the mission statement of the Science for Peace project in 2016. Those have, sadly, materialized. Now, many Ukrainians and Russians are living a war that presents a sad paradox: On the one hand, in the past century, humanity has advanced more in many ways than in the previous one thousand years. On the other hand, the values and traditions contributing to humanity’s advance are crumbling around the globe. Because of our advances in science and technology—used for good and for ill—a war of this magnitude has the potential to obliterate the human race. Our material progress has created the greatest dangers for our continued evolution as a species.
The Russian-Ukrainian war threatens the stability and peace not only in the countries directly involved, but also on our planet. Indeed, this may be the largest menace to global peace since World War II. Our hearts go out to every living being facing the impact of societal violence. We cannot forget either that Colombia is experiencing one of the most violent periods in recent times. Many violent conflicts exist elsewhere around the world as well. We are compassionate and stand in solidarity with many others who suffer the consequences of violence and conflict all around the world.
Science for Peace was created primarily to tackle the Colombian internal armed conflict. However, it has always had global concerns. Mike, our first scientific director, was originally from Hungary. Many of our current members are researchers in other parts of the world. Moreover, the current situation in Ukraine directly affects valued collaborators in one of our projects. They fear for their survival and their families. Therefore, personally as well as ideologically we yearn for a rapid, peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian-Russian violence.
Mike also noted that there are not only dangers but also opportunities for the continuing evolution of the human race in the new millennium. It is our hope that the recent events in Ukraine act as a global wake-up call towards solidarity, compassion, peace, and even a higher consciousness.
Andrea Ortega Bechara