Humanity in the 21st century and beyond


Humanity in the 21st century and beyond (Humanity) explores what shaped us in the past, who we are now and what might we become.  It examines us as individuals, what makes us tick, as groups, how we relate socially, and as a species, what we are doing to this planet and to all life forms.   

In short, it explores the fundamental questions, what does it mean to be human and what will it mean in the future, a future for ours to shape and for us, our children and children’s children to enjoy.  

It goes beyond specialist, formal education to promote wisdom, big picture thinking, integration and above all, engagement with life and living.  Since these are deep concepts we think is important to define clearly each of them:


We live in amazing times with technologies, living standards and global interactions that could never have been imagined just a few centuries ago. And we seem hell or heaven bent on continually changing our world and ourselves at an ever-increasing pace. But do we know what changes we want; what changes would really benefit ourselves and the world we live in? To do so requires a wisdom for the 21st century, a wisdom for ourselves, our communities and for our amazing species to embrace change and to move confidently and positively into the future.


We live in a time of information overload. We are bombarded with seemingly infinite knowledge and expert opinion albeit often trivialised and consumed from tweets. So how can we step back from this seductive merry-go-round of disconnected and sometimes questionable information to focus deeply on what is really important for ourselves and for humanity? That is what big picture thinking is all about and why it is a key feature of our courses.


In times of increasing specializations we learn more and more about less and less and lose the ability to put it all together. Humanity takes a quite different approach: It brings together the sciences, humanities, and professions to bear on the big questions of our time. It integrates knowledge, skills, purpose and values


We spend many years in formal education, to prepare us for work and to create successful careers. But we may have learnt very little about values, purpose and the simple joys of life and living. Humanity fills this enormous gap. It takes a transformational approach to make life and living its central educational concern.


  • The wonder and meaning of being human. 
  • Humanity now: successes, failures and future trends. 
  • Past and Present; the emergence of our astonishing species. 
  • Our biological and cultural heritage; how we can now shape the world. 
  • What makes us human and who are we really? 
  • Human needs, wants, and desires; what makes for genuine well-being.
  • Technology; how it has changed us and how should we now use it? 
  • Ideologies shape our society; what ideologies do we need for the future? 
  • Globalisation and the global network; will we ever be the same? 
  • Human prospects within our lifetimes.
  • Existential threats from annihilation to superhumanity; prospects beyond our lifetimes.  
  • Better human and world futures; re-imagining what that could mean. 


  • Collaboration and cooperation. 
  • Creativity. 
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills. 
  • Reflection; looking deeper. 
  • Clear, coherent and engaging expression. 
  • Formulating questions and seeking answers.
  • Integration and transdisciplinary skills. 


  • Altruism. 
  • Empathy, compassion and love. 
  • Engagement and enjoyment. 
  • Courage and hope. 
  • Curiosity. 
  • Wisdom and authenticity. 
  • Freedom and equality.
  • Sustainability: social, environmental and economic.

Commitment                   12 weeks

This is an introductory course to Human Action for World Futures