12 + 1 Perfections

Simplicity is the perfection of complexity

Circle is the perfection of diversity of forms

Silence is the perfection of sound

Balance is the perfection of smells & tastes

Harmony is the perfection of touching

Colorless is the perfection of colorful

Invisible is the perfection of visible

Kairos-Time is the perfection of Chronos-Time

Forgiveness is the perfection of righteousness

Love is the perfection of values & virtues

Emptiness is the perfection of fullness

Life after death is the perfection of life before death

The Divine is the perfection of the Divine

Corruption-free Religions are Possible: new book by Christoph Stückelberger

Corruption-free Religions are Possible: Corruption, the abuse of public or personal power for private interests is almost as old as humanity. This book focuses on the sector of religious institutions.

Religious institutions are normally not-for-profit. Religious organisations run 100,000s of profit-making specialized services such as hospitals, universities, schools, elderly homes, companies, banks, micro finance institutions, farms etc. They often have the legal form of a not-for-profit foundation, trust or association with a supervisory control by the religious institution. Profiting from these activities is then not distributed to shareholders, but serves to build reserves for the sustainability and stability of the serving institution and if possible, to support core activities of the religious institution. Some religious institutions have large properties of land, buildings and other assets.

Many studies and experiences show that a number of religious institutions are affected by corruption and mirror the corrupt environment in which they live. All religions are potentially and — in reality — affected by corruption. All religions are part of the problem, but also part of the solution. And between religions, denominations and countries are clear differences.

This book includes twenty articles from Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Catholic and Protestant perspective and international standards. It refers also to sexual corruption by religious leaders.

Corruption-free Religions are Possible

This book has three objectives: 1. to understand the mechanisms and roots of corruption in religions by analysis and information, 2. to encourage stronger commitment of religious institutions in fighting corruption as core part of their commitment to their faith and values, 3. to strengthen cooperation between people of different faith and religious institutions in order to increase impact in all sectors of society.

As Ethicist and Founder-President of the Swiss Chapter of Transparency International 1996-2006, the anticorruption cooperation between different world religions has been one of my goals for a long time.

Corruption-free Religions are Possible: Download for free and order print your print copy here

Download: https://www.globethics.net/documents/10131/26882169/GE_Praxis_16_isbn9782889314225.pdf

More info and print copies: https://www.globethics.net/latest-publications

Corruption-free Religions are Possible. Integrity – Stewardship – Accountability. Christoph Stückelberger (Editor), Globethics.net Ethics Praxis No. 16, Geneva 2021. ISBN 978-2-88931-422-5 (online version), ISBN 978-2-88931-423-2 (print version).

Globalance: The Social Security System

The Social Security Systems must be further expanded as a key part of security. But the systems developed during the last seventy years in high income countries may not be applicable and certainly not payable all over the world as it is already under heavy economic pressure in high income countries to find sustainable financing e.g. of pension schemes.

In a globalised, urbanised and mobile modern society, former social structures in families and villages are often fragile or no more in place. Will Asian and African countries implement social welfare states as in Europe with pension funds, health insurance, unemployment schemes, or will it be different, reflecting different value-priorities?

With the boom of elderly homes as an answer to the ageing of societies such as in China and with Covid-19 pandemic and its boom of jobless people exposed to health without health insurance, the questions becomes even more important for a global world in balance.

Innovative models of social security will be needed. It includes social protection for workers in the ‘non-standard forms of employment’ (informal sector, temporary workers), decoupling of social protection from employment and policy innovations for social insurances.

Thoughts from my book “Globalance. Ethics Handbook for a Balanced World Post-Covid.

Globalance. Ethics Handbook for a Balanced World Post-Covid.Globalance. Ethics Handbook for a Balanced World Post-Covid.

Christoph Stückelberger, with a Preface by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker. Geneva, Globethics.net Focus Series No. 57, 2020.

ISBN 978-2-88931-367-9 (Online Version)
ISBN 978-2-88931-368-6 (Print Version B&W)
ISBN 978-2-88931-372-3 (Print Version Colour)

Download for free and order print your print copy here

Online Conference on Spirituality, Religion and Irreligion

Dialogo,  the platform for ‘Dialogue between Science and Theology’, based in Roumania and partner organization of Globethics.net, organized its  annual online conference  on 21-29 May 2021 on “Spirituality, Religion, Irreligion and Society today”. Research papers have been presented.

In the final online conference on 28 May, Globrethics.net President Christoph Stückelberger gave a presentation on Religious, spiritual, secular: three world views and its relevance for ethics and values.

All presentations on empirical, spiritual scientific, and historical aspects can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/3960518033986087/videos/3969295813108309 (Christoph Stückelberger starts at 13:34).

Wow: Fire in the Heart! Unity in Diversity as the Fruit of the Pentecostal Revolution

May is considered a blissful month in Europe, when nature is in bloom, love grows and traditionally many weddings take place. May is also the month when the Christian Pentecost is celebrated (like today, Pentecost Sunday, when I am writing this text). Both love instinct and Pentecost have one thing in common: fire in the heart!

The large peony bloom from our garden in Zurich today is like an unfolded fan, like a white wedding dress that hugs the world. In the middle is the golden fire of the stamens that hold the blossom and the world together. For me the picture is a symbol of Pentecost.

However, is Pentecost more than a long weekend? Yes, it is no less than the origin of a world revolution that has lasted and continues to this day and the future. It came this way:

The followers of Jesus had turbulent times behind them: The enthusiasm to emulate Jesus with his vision and his values was followed by a total crash with Jesus being executed on the cross as a sect preacher and heretic. Called Good Friday later. This was followed by apparently strange apparitions of the dead man with the few friends who could not forget him – later called Easter. This gave rise to shy, fragile moments of hope from this tiny “sect group” that their life would have meaning again. This fragile longing for hope was followed by an event that I call the beginning of a world revolution: Pentecost, in Greek πεντεκοστή/Pentecost (Acts 2:1) simply means “fifty” and means fifty days after Easter. It is the number for fulfillment, wholeness and new beginning. The debt relief, as described in in the Old Testament Lev 25-26, took place every seven years. After 7×7 years, in the 50th year, the Jubilee year of debt relief and a new beginning was declared, so that everyone had the same economic starting opportunities again.

The Pentecost event is now described as follows (Acts 2,1-13): the group of those women and men who had regained courage gathered in a house (Greek οίκος, Oikos). Suddenly these people were seized by an inner turmoil, described as a storm wind, where a flame appeared on everyone’s head. I call it more understandable as ‘fire in the heart ’, just like with lovers. The vendors from the surrounding hotels and residents of the narrow streets of Jerusalem flocked to see what was hap-pening. These “enthusiasts” with fire in their hearts did not begin to speak in their own ‘club’ language, but in the many languages of the multicultural and international community of people in Jerusalem. These came from all over the world at that time, from Egypt to Iran, from Turkey to Libya, from Rome to Central Asia (enumerated in v. 9-10). They were “Jews, Cretans/Greeks and Arabs” (v.11). “We hear them speak of the great deeds of God in our own languages” (v.11) testified the people of this cosmopolitan city.

Why now do I call this Pentecost event the origin of a world revolution? This small group with the ‘fire in the heart’ won the hearts of people by taking them seriously in their own existence and culture – the mother tongue is the most intimate expression of this – and not imposing their own values from the outside, but translating them into the other culture. Their hearts were full of empathetic and energetic love (αγάπε/agape is the Greek word for divine, inclusive, comprehen-sive love). With this fire of love they broke through the walls of the then hegemonic world powers (Rome, Egypt and Persia are explicitly mentioned). This courageous small group formed bridges between people, cultures, centers of power and ideologies.

This ‘fire in the heart’ leads to respect for diversity and being different. This is only possible – without exploding, imploding or indulging in arbitrariness – because the courage for diversity is connected with the certainty of unity. This fire is a symbol of the love that holds the world together on the inside. Like the gold-yellow center of the white peony at the beginning of this text. Pente-cost thus becomes a symbol for unity in diversity.

And the house (oikos) of this Pentecostal community of women, men and children becomes a symbol of the world community. Oikos in the threefold sense of Oikoumene (ecumenism as a community of churches and religions), Oikonomia (economy as the fair sharing of the goods of this earth) and Oikologia (ecology as a commitment to unity with the whole creation). In times of renewed war in Gaza, dangerous US-China tensions, climate crisis and particular interests post-Covid: Isn’t Pente-cost there a stunning, comprehensive spiritual, economic, ecological, political, social and cultural vision and world revolution? The invitation for a new beginning for the post-Covid world community. Yes, we can, with the fire in our hearts!
Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2021

One World – Diverse Systems …

OF Discussion Board n°15 – 23 April 2021

Question asked : “Does the world need to contain China and how?“

My answer: “… One World – Diverse Systems … ”

How should be the role of China in the world? Three options: 1. China is disconnected from the world, sealed off, as it was to some extent 1949-1979, based on self-reliance and autonomous development. 2. China is fully integrated in the globalized world and follows the Western model of so-called capitalism and democracy as many powers in the West hoped that China, with its Open Door Policy since 1979, would develop. 3. China is integrated in the world, but with its “Chinese Characteristics” of “third way” combining planned and market economy, socialist one party system with elements of consultative participatory processes and controlled civil society.The Ethics of International Relations needs to respect the diversity of systems as in option 3 while encouraging each other to become “better socialists” and “better capitalists” serving humanity.

Read the full discussion here.

Money and Morality in Higher Education. Seven Countries Case Studies.

How does the attribution of funds and their origin impact ethics in higher education? 52 This main question of this research paper leads us to ask three secondary questions: What is the evolution of the higher education domain? Who funds higher education and through what means? Is ethical commitment part of the funding strategies?

This research paper proceeds in a succession of two moments: 1. Identifying global trends related to higher education. 2. Focusing on some case countries, trying to compare them with the global situation. 3. Conclusions. The paper works with data from the World Bank and UNESCO. However, an important challenge was missing data for some aspects and countries.

The World Bank provides on its website a table with all the data they have on each country, until 2015. This was very interesting as I wanted to do a time series analysis, to see the evolutions in higher education over time. This proved to be impossible as there were many countries that did not have any data available, or only had data for one year instead of twenty. Developed countries had a complete panel of data, while the data from the developing world was pretty scarce. The conclusions, therefore, would have only applied to developed countries and would have been pretty useless for our efforts to identify the places where gaps between the local and average international situation exist.

The gaps would have most likely been even bigger if developed countries were only taken into account. This was even more problematic as the data missing was from the specific countries we wanted to use as case studies. Therefore, the methodology had to be adapted. Since sufficient data was not available, we switched to a more qualitative study; doing a lot of readings on governmental and international reports on the global trends in higher education. Data was cross-referenced to see if information was confirmed by other reports. Main sources used were studies by UNESCO, the British Council and the UN to get a general overview, but many other sources have been integrated on specific topics. This study had to differentiate between general data on education that focused mainly on primary education and the data on higher education. The responses to SDG4 seem to concentrate on primary education and this can be understood, as it is the unavoidable basis for further education and essential to the improvement of alphabetization rates. However, the fact that investment in primary education creates not only the biggest social, but also economic returns might also have something to do with the choice in priorities.

Data were also directly drawn from governmental national reports, by accessing their online archives. This was somewhat complicated, as sufficient understanding of each education system was required in order to make data comparable. For instance, some countries consider high schools part of higher education, which increases the numbers of students enrolled in classical tertiary education. We then had to subtract high schoolers from the overall number. In addition, sometimes linguistic problems occurred as some reports are published in national languages, and not readily available in English or French. However, with translations and additional research, reports could be understood.

Reasons for missing data in databases of international organisations such as the World Bank and UNESCO can be manifold: some data are sensitive and countries are not keen to share in an open international database for political and social reasons. In some cases, data are really not available or not reliable.

Most of the data collected in this study are analysing the evolution of higher education between 2000 and 2015, although where data were available, we went further back in the past. According to each situation, historical moments that were significant, were identified. Country progress data are based on information from the World Education News + Reviews.

This text is an abridged version of the following article:

Money and Morality in Higher Education. Seven countries case studies
2021, Leadership with Integrity: Higher Education from Vocation to Funding, Globethics.net Leadership with Integrity No. 8, Geneva, 81-125.

Download the full book via globethics.net here