Humanist Institute of Systemic Prognosis

Launching of the IHPS

The IHPS is based on the current of thought New Universalist Humanism, which emerged in the 1970s from the intellectual and social work of Mario Luis Rodríguez Cobos (1938-2010).

Systemic forecasting refers to the prospection of future time, based on the analysis of futures in relation to their historical connectivity as well as non-linear factors.

First of all, the importance of the observer should be emphasised, as opposed to the interpretation of historical time and the subjective register of the passing of time in everyday life, as Victor Piccininni points out in his monograph On the Psychological Register of Time.

Unlike chronological time, which, as a natural and social ordering norm, can be fixed by each culture in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, moons, suns, rains or seasons, psychological time is a subjective, variable and impermanent phenomenon. It is the vital register that each person has of what we could summarise as the passing of his or her own life. This personal register varies depending on multiple personal factors. [1]

Authors such as Karl Popper and Edgar Morin, from philosophical positions that are far removed from each other, have warned that predicting the future in the social sciences lacks objective scientific rigour, since any prediction about political, spiritual, cultural, social and psychological events is a fundamentally intuitive, subjective enterprise.

From this point of view, Popper affirms, in his critique of historicism, that in the field of social sciences, any prediction shared by any human group modifies or at least influences the decisions that this group might make with respect to the future, that is to say, that any discourse referring to a possible future – whether optimistic or pessimistic – lacks objectivity and precision.

The idea that a prediction can influence the predicted event is very old. Oedipus, in the legend, kills his father, whom he had never seen, and this was the direct result of the prophecy that caused his father to abandon him. This is the reason that makes me suggest the name “Oedipus effect” for the influence of the prediction on the predicted event (or more generally, for the influence of an information on the situation to which the information refers), whether this influence is in the sense of making the predicted event happen, or in the sense of preventing it. [2]

A prediction is a social event that can give rise to a reciprocal action between it and other social events, and within these with the event it predicts. It can help, as we have seen, to precipitate this event, but it is easy to see that it can also influence it in other ways. It can, in an extreme case, even cause the event it predicts: the event might not have occurred at all had it not been predicted. At the other extreme, the prediction of an impending event may lead to its avoidance and impediment (whereby by purposely or negligently refraining from predicting it, the sociologist may in a sense cause it to happen). [3]

The view of universalist humanism, on the other hand, admits the fact that all forecasting implies influence on events, but does not see in this a defect but rather the possibility of realising a humanising projection.

This is so because it recognises the concept of human intentionality acting in the evolution of historical processes, and that through the action of such intentionality history acquires an indeterminate character or a character of uncertainty that is almost impossible to predict with any accuracy.

Silo (Rodríguez Cobos), highlights the human intention underlying every enunciation.

It is not necessary to argue here that the configuration of any situation is affected by the representation of past events and of more or less possible future events which, when compared with current phenomena, make it possible to structure what is called the “present situation”. This unavoidable process of representation in relation to the facts means that the facts themselves can never have the structure attributed to them. That is why when we speak of “landscape” we are referring to situations that always involve facts weighted by the “gaze” of the observer. [4]

At the same time, such inescapable ponderations of the observer referred to history and possible futures, allows a horizon of freedom that moves between determinisms and indeterminisms, that is to say, the human being is thrown towards the future with his capacity to imagine and predict the future, beyond the success or the error, makes him the forger of his own destiny. In the words of David Samano:

[…] we would say that the degree of “habitability” of the new worlds that can be built, for example, with knowledge such as that which comes from science, lies not only in the possibilities of offering better conditions for satisfying the fundamental needs of all living beings, but also in the way in which the tension between determinism and freedom is resolved. In order to adapt to our environment, we need both a deterministic horizon and a horizon of freedom. A world without regularities or without any possibility of prediction would be as difficult to live in as a totally predictable and determined world. [5]

In the IHPS, different points of view converge to be able to configure encouraging scenarios in philosophy, spirituality, politics, art, science, etc.

The institute will work to generate a growing influence through the analysis, projection and publication of its studies.

At a crucial moment in history such as the one we live in, where the present is taken over by the uncertainty caused by the dizzying acceleration of events, the IHPS calls for the participation of all those observers, from all fields, committed to this, our, historical time.

  • [1] Piccininni, (2009). La Experiencia del Tiempo”, Piccininni V., Centro de Estudios – Parque de E. y R. La Reja (2011).
  • [2] Popper, (1957). The Misery of Historicism, digital ed. Titivillus 21.02.15, epub base r1.2, p.15.
  • [3] Ibid, p.17
  • [4] Silo, (1990). Contributions to thought. Ed. León Alado, p.114
  • [5] Samano, ( 2021). Interpreting New Humanism. Ethnology, epistemology and spirituality. Ed. León Alado, p.53

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