The adagio that we cannot solve our societal problems with the same methods that create them is well known. The vision that inspiration and motivation for ‘new methods’ need to come from deeper thinking about who we are as individuals and groups and about how to deliberate these problems with each other is less popular. This vision is the point of departure of the New Humanism Project.
Tackling complex social problems such as climate change, poverty and the various forms of social depression and oppression comes down to a fair dealing with their complexity. This requires ethical competence and the preparedness to engage in joint public reflexivity ‘in face of that complexity’, taking into account our interests, hopes, hypotheses, believes and concerns. However, our current methods of democracy, scientific research and education stimulate conflict, positionism and competition rather than public reflexivity and the development of ethical competence. Therefore, we need to rethink and reform those methods into interaction methods that are inclusive, pluralistic, transdisciplinary and deliberative. These interactive methods will not only enable more effective sustainable development governance, they also have a chance to be perceived – in a form of inner ownership – as fair by anyone in our society.