About the UHNA project

This blog is set up to explain the UHNA project, its goals, proposed methodology and to invite contributors & collaborators to help refine the project into a useable resource.  This is an organically evolving “systems” exploration project.

The fundamental assumption

The fundamental assumption this project is based on is that the overwhelmingly vast majority of people on this planet want to live a humane lifestyle regardless of gender, religion, race, age, economic status, geographic location, political affiliation, country of origin or cultural influence.

A humane lifestyle might be described as: the ability of an individual or society to live with a satisfying balance of psychological, physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional security; or in other words to live a generally fulfilling and happy life.  Each of us has our own definition of what constitutes a humane lifestyle but wouldn’t it be nice if we had a common ‘language’ or ‘framework’ that we could all relate to so we could compare our individual understanding?

The fundamental goals

This project is an attempt to develop an intuitively understandable and universally useful:

• list of  ‘elemental universal human needs & experiences’ that effect our behavior and globally verify it by creating the world’s largest signatory document.

• set of contextual frameworks for describing and understanding the dynamic balance of relationships between any ‘elemental universal human needs & experiences’ which drive our behavior on a daily basis.

The fundamental hypothesis

Logically Speaking,

IF there exists a universal set of ‘elemental human needs/experiences’ that directly effect our ability to lead a humane lifestyle,

AND these elements can be simply defined, intuitively understood and globally verified,

THEN there exists the opportunity for people to start to understand what and how any ‘elemental human needs & experiences’ drive our own behavior through experimenting with their own contextual framework models

THUS, the creation of such a platform may empower individuals and communities to collaboratively create the conditions needed to support sustainable humane lifestyles based on a common set of principals that may be globally verified and evolving.

Project feasibility

Essentially, this scenario places everyone of basic functional psychological capacity potentially in the same target market of “people who want to live humanely”; thus implying it’s potential to universally motivate. People tend to cooperate and are more conscious of each other when they share a similar set of fundamental principles and goals.

The outline of this project suggests a methodology which can feasibly facilitate a fundamental shift in consciousness of the individual on a global scale towards empowering them with the means to live a humane life style, thus greatly improving the odds of preserving, expanding and evolving human/e rights within societies. Addressing these issues at their roots will also be useful in understanding the nature of conflict and reducing incidences of desperation and desperate action.

A review of Historical and theoretical background logic

Regardless of how many laws are created to preserve humane rights or how many declarations of human rights there are that get officially recognized by hierarchical organizations, those rights will never be realized into actualization unless the nature of those rights are clearly understood by the individuals in any society for whom the rights were intended to be guaranteed.

Therefore, it is logical to approach this subject from the perspective of consciously engaging the individual with an intuitively recognizable set of fundamental principals which empower him/her to be more successful in fulfilling their ultimate right to self determinately actualize the implementation of their human/e rights.

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”—Author unknown…


20 Responses to “About the UHNA project”

  1. Annie Blaise Says:

    Dear Scott,
    I love your inquiring mind, your efforts and the aim of the UHNA project! And spiritually I feel quite at home with the insights and methods Nonviolent Communication (developed by Marshall Rosenberg) is offering. It is a very rich body of work. The insight I shared the other day was, that human beings basically have the same needs – yet different strategies how to fulfill these needs. It is on the level of (differing) strategies that conflicts arise. The experience is, that when people are open and able to empathically connect on the level of needs, when in turn they feel seen and understood, that they then tend to open to strategies, which serve everyone’s needs. It is possible! We are just not used to look there. The ‘how to’ is taught by NVC. For example…. I am certain, that one of these days I will find NVC listed as a resource on this page. Godspeed!

  2. universallyhumane Says:


    Thanks for taking the time to comment on the project in such a thoughtful way.

    I would first like to point something out about your comment; you start out by questioning the fundamental assumption but you have done so by re-defining it based on some dictionary references and definitions.

    If you re-read my description (interpretation) of ‘a humane lifestyle’ you will notice a difference between your definition of ‘humane’.

    “A humane lifestyle might be described as: the ability of an individual or society to live with a satisfying balance of psychological, physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional security; or in other words to live a generally fulfilling and happy life. Each of us has our own definition of what constitutes a humane lifestyle but wouldn’t it be nice if we had a common ‘language’ or ‘framework’ that we could all relate to so we could compare our individual understanding?”

    Certainly, if you start out your analysis by re-defining the spirit and nature of the meaning of my statement then the whole project can be turned on it’s head and re-interpreted in a myriad of ways. I’m sure we could find ways to re-rationalize it’s fundamental meaning throughout the project but that is not the point of this project.

    The true spirit of the assumption is that people want to live a generally happy and fulfilling life. The objective of the project is to help create a dialogue and contextual tools that allow the ‘common wo/man’ to pursue that in ‘humane’ (now we can apply your definition from the dictionary) and sustainable ways.

    The second point I would like to address your statement that, “…too many people are psychologically and philosophically inhumane.”

    I could not agree more that this statement is true. However, while this is reflective of the current state of affairs it does not negate the fact that the vast majority of people want to live better that what the current state of affairs offers.

    Now a question for you…. What are you doing to bring about more humane conditions in the world?

  3. JDmysticDJ Says:

    Definition of humane (ad)

    1. compassionate: showing the better aspects of the human character, especially kindness and compassion

    2. involving minimal pain: done without inflicting any more pain than is necessary

    3. with emphasis on liberal values: with an emphasis on respect for other people’s views

    Synonyms: compassionate, caring, kind, gentle, humanitarian, kindly, benevolent, charitable

    The problem as I see it is that too many people are psychologically and philosophically inhumane.

    Definition of inhumane (adj)

    1. not compassionate: lacking compassion and causing excessive suffering

    Synonyms: cruel, cold-hearted, vicious, cold-blooded, callous, brutal, merciless, sadistic, heartless, atrocious, appalling

    As I see it, the FUNDAMENTAL ASSUMPTION of this project is a false assumption.

    “The fundamental assumption this project is based on is that the overwhelmingly vast majority of people on this planet want to live a humane lifestyle regardless of gender, race, age, economic status, geographic location, political affiliation, country of origin or cultural influence.”

    The “human lifestyle” is seemingly overwhelmingly lacking in altruism and seemingly overwhelmed by the reality of self interest in all of its forms as to gender, race, age, economic status, geographic location, political affiliation, country of origin or cultural influence.” Altruism is NOT the norm in psychological and philosophical thinking it is instead a rare anomaly.

    “An assumption is something taken for granted without proof,” all the evidence suggests that human institutions are not humane, and that evidence is shockingly evidenced by the events of history and by current events.

    If the premise (Fundamental Assumption) of this project is false, the project will prove to be an exercise in futility; a project of interest only to likeminded individuals, but perhaps this project can serve as a “think tank” of intellectualism; offering modes of thinking helpful in the greater struggle between: liberalism and conservatism i.e. compassion vs. self interest.

    “The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism is a 1964 collection of essays and papers by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden.”

    Ayn Rand adherents consist of a cult of right wing-thinkers still evident and prominent in right-wing thinking, and right-wing politics, today. The “struggle” today can be seen as a struggle between psychologically and philosophically diametrically opposed factions, a struggle between a modicum of altruism and a distorted and perverse concept of collective public welfare ala Ayn Rand like thinking. Ayn Rand has been justly discredited but her mode of thinking continues today under another guise; that guise is neo-conservatism in the form of: fiscal conservatism, austerity, and profound hardship for the underprivileged, a hardship profound and all encompassing measured by individual suffering marked by a lack of institutional compassion.

    Our political institutions are not devoid of compassion but divided along compassionate lines, with progress relating to altruistic compassion being obstructed by one of our primary political factions. That IS “The struggle” and one should be careful so as not to obfuscate the nature of that struggle, or be drawn away from that struggle by esoteric pursuits having little promise.

  4. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” is actually a Chinese proverb and that Karl Marx said “Sell a man a fish, and he can eat for a day, teach a man to fish, and you lose a great business opportunity.”

  5. universallyhumane Says:

    David, I think I finally found something to mildly disagree with you about…although it has been a challenge. My basic assumption is not that humans are motivated to BE humane by NATURE, but that humans are motivated to LIVE humanely. We need to learn to BE more humane through NURTURE. This is how our intellect separates us from the other species in the animal kingdom.

  6. I’m gonna quibble with your basic assumption. I don’t think humans are primarily motivated to be humane to any but members of their primary, or in-group. All humans are motivated, however, to maximize their survival. Since humans threaten one anothers’ survival more than any other environmental force can, at least at the moment, then deaing with one another effectively becomes a primary requirement of our mutual survival. In the final analysis, warfare is inefficient as well as inhumane toward achieving this end. In fact, it is ultimately downwright unfeasible. Therefore, we can conclude that your basic premise is sound. In order to survive as a species we have no choice but to extend in-group altruism to include our entire species. In fact, to incude all species. Cutting edge research in psychology is telling us that this goal is achievable, but far from easy.

  7. The following site will encapsulate my outlook on human interface. In 1977 I aked Ben Bova if the metalaws might be applied to the Israli ?
    / Palestinian crisis of the time. He replied that it was a good suggestion but probably wouldn’t be applied. Still goes on today. 30 years. When individual prejudice intrudes, all agreements are halted. For current examples, just look around at all the daily news. Here is the relevant site :
    http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/LegalRightsOfETs.htm JK

  8. Thank YOU! I’m delighted to discover you and the Project as I wander through my e-mail backlog following links unconsiously (intuitively?). What a reward for my inner procrastinator! I teach a sociology course on Human Relations at a community college and feel like I just struck gold based on your ‘comment’ alone; I have not yet delved deeper into your site and I can hardly wait to do so.

    The first name from my past exploration that you triggered for me is Ken Wilber and the evolution of consciousness. Then Marshall Rosenberg and nonviolent communication. Then Matthew Fox and the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality. Then something I’m about to do that my brother is involved in around a values survey.

    My friends used to call me a workshop junkie and thank God I was/am and didn’t take offense–for all the reasons you layed out in your eloquent comment.

    Now I’m off to dig into your site. The semester is almost half over and I’m sure I’ll have some revising to do!

    Your sister in seeking,

  9. universallyhumane Says:

    i’m not aware of uBuntu, but i will do some research and get back to you. do you have any especially good references to suggest? thanks – sb

  10. Are you aware of uBuntu, a national believe of South Africans. If so, what is the difference?

  11. As they say when god calls us we will get together and we will be in the knowing no more assuming when we re-member we put back together what was once to believed seperate. More to come respect on all things possible transcending time and space ….


  12. I’m sure it’s laudable, workable, moral. All that stuff. I only wish you could use about the same number of words as, say, the Ten Commandments. Then you’d have something.

  13. inthesedramatictimes Says:

    How about using Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs as the baseline?

    Sam Keene was working about 5 years ago on a Global Index that fits with what you are up to. Also, there is the Gross Happiness Index scale used by the kingdom of Bhutan.

    Add elements from ancient wisdom traditions re: happiness, human flourishing, eudaimonic pursuit. Starting place: McMahon, A History of Happiness; Dalai Lama, Art of Happiness.

    Add modern elements from positive psycyhology & the emerging cognitive research on happiness. See books and articles by Jonathan Haidt, Richard Layard, David Gilbert (Stumbling on Happiness), Sonja Lyubomirsky, (The How of Happiness.) McKibben’s Deep Economy reviews the emerging happiness economics theories.

  14. Alan Smith Says:

    May some of the peace in the world come from here.

  15. universallyhumane Says:

    if catholic social doctrine has already done this, then perhaps you can give me a reference link that you are familiar with so i can review this summary. i think that you are misunderstanding the concept a bit…this project does not require one to prescribe to any specific religious or political doctrines, which are in themselves the basis for highlighting differences and segregating populations as opposed to uniting them.

  16. Hi. Interesting project, though a biy redundant. Catholic social doctrine has already done this.

  17. Hi Scottie, I’m impressed by your new project, seems both ambitious and altruistic! I’m looking forward for the developments. Good luck!

  18. Hello Scott, we already had great discusions about this idea. Glad to see that it’s coming together. I hope your event on the 4th of Nov. was good. Speak to you soon. Sending you good vibes from London!

  19. Looking forward to learning more about the Project . Good luck.

  20. give a woman/man a beautiful place to live and let the woman/man express her/his visions and let us create our homes in our diversity and let us live in freedom and understanding for each other…let us create new centers of inspiration and art, dance and music and JOY

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