The SERI sustainability research and communication network is planning a colloquium supported by Meinhard Miegel’s “Stiftung kulturelle Erneuerung” (Cultural Renewal Foundation) focused on the question: How can art, religion and science protect humans from themselves?

The anchor point of this colloquium will be a change of perspective. So far, people have tried to deal with the manifest problems of our time primarily by changing the world around them. They build filters in chimneys, catalytic converters in combustion engines and sewage treatment plants in sewage systems. All this is reasonable and good, but it does not address the root of the problem. What if this problem are humans themselves with their often boundless greed, sometimes pathological instincts, selfishness and so on… As long as nothing changes here, nothing will change in the world around us.

But isn’t (wo)man what (s)he is? This ancient question is usually answered resignatively with Yes. But what are human beings actually like and what does their being depend on? Is it simply to do with their nature or culture that has made humans what they are? But if it were culture, then (wo)man would not only be an object but also a subject, that is, a designer of their culturally permeated nature. If that were the case, there would be hope!

Art, religion and science are concerned with this task in very different way – not least in the modern social movements since 1968.

The aim of this project is to persuade 12-15 men and women from these fields to deal with this topic constructively and fruitfully during a one-day colloquium in Vienna in the autumn of 2018 and to document the results in writing.


Dr. Friedrich Hinterberger



Go here to find more about the research area Sustainable Communication.