Here you can find out more about

  • Longtermism vs. shorttermism
  • A new academy
  • The status of the Human Purpose Village Project


“Those who only look back cannot see what lies ahead.”

“If you want to build a ship, don’t call people together to collect wood, assign tasks and distribute the work, but teach them to yearn for the great, open sea.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at.”
Oscar Wilde


Stop the line of thought that throws itself under the bus!

The wisdom quoted above reveals the whole drama of our time: Because the maxims that these wise great thinkers of humanity gave us on our journey into the future, which are actually obvious, are being fatuously disregarded today.


When the Chinese sage warns us that we should not “only” look back, because then we are not prepared for what lies ahead, this at least implies the inclusion of the past in our perspective, which is a good thing it itself. It is a reminder to conservatives to include the future into their thinking and resist the wish to translate the past face value into the future, believing that we can forever maintain a status quo ante.

However, what we find today in the debates among leaders in politics and business of the West, often does not even include the past: Protgaonists are exclusively fixated on the present and believe that they can act “anew” from now onwards without any knowledge of historical contexts or consideration of long-term events playing out, some of which were triggered decades ago, guided by wishful thinking, ideological truncations or even quite banal material and/or narcissistic concerns. A way of thinking and acting that, figuratively speaking, throws itself in front of the bus on the assumption that it will change course or stop because that’s just how you imagine it.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The quote from the French visionary draws attention to another problem of our time: a materialistic view that believes that all we have to do is distribute the tasks correctly or place them in the right hands, provide the necessary means to accomplish them, and everything will be taken care of. This is short-sighted, object-focused thinking at work, which ignores the broader horizon of where the journey should take us. On the surface, this thinking appears to be long-term, but it ignores the fact that the future travelers who are to build the ship should at least be able to dream about where the ship could one day take them.

Oscar Wilde

The sharp-tongued British author finally gets to the heart of this idea in his own unerring way: Without an imagination of the destination, without a point in the future to which the travelers set off, the journey is meaningless. It would just be the case of sailing around aimlessly.

Mega and poly crisis

Facing the mega- and poly-crisis the concept of the Human Purpose Village Project however takes into account all three maxims embedded in these quotes and offers viable ways out of the 14 “evolutionary traps” that humanity has fallen into, as identified by the Stockholm Resilience Center on a solid scientific basis.
These key points must be included in all considerations about shaping the future.

1 Climate change and turning points

Climate tipping points are one of the greatest dangers for our survival. Rising global temperatures can trigger irreversible chain reactions with serious consequences for planetary ecosystems.

2 Artificial intelligence out of control

The already recognizable unpredictability and error-proneness of AI systems combined with their “superpowers” could trigger potentially catastrophic scenarios, especially if decision-making is delegated to the machines.

3 Chemical pollution

The accumulation of thousands of toxic substances in the environment poses a growing threat to human bodysytems and ecosystems. Crushed microplastics have contaminated almost all biological organisms and are deforming natural growth.

4 New infectious diseases

Microbes and pathogens are spreading faster and faster due to the destruction of natural systems (or because they escape from laboratories) and are causing new types of infectious diseases with devastating consequences.

5 Monocultures in industrial agriculture

Dependence on a small number of crops grown on a large scale at specific locations (e.g. Ukraine wheat, Brazil soy, etc.) makes the global food supply vulnerable to environmental changes, fungal and oomycete pathogens and collapsing supply chains.

6 Unsustainable economic growth

An economy geared towards growth at any price leads to the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources (see Earth Overshoot Day) and social inequality. What is needed is a fundamental restructuring of a linear economy to circular processes (for which a large number of concepts have already been developed).

7 Instability of global cooperation

The lack of effective cooperation at a global level prevents critical environmental and social problems from being solved. New collaborative environmental governance is needed to achieve joint action in socio-ecological systems.

8 Social and economic misalignments

Ultra-liberal political and economic regulations that are geared solely towards profit are in stark contrast to social and ecological well-being of the large majority of mankind and lead to tensions and conflicts.

9 Digitalization and the loss of social capital

The increasing digitalization of society is leading to a loss of human ties, social capital and cognitive skills. Interpersonal communication is based not only on the exchange of words and images, but also on emotional and psychosomatic biological and molecular processes.

10 Loss of biodiversity

Biodiversity is an essential factor for the stability and resilience of ecosystems of all kinds and thus not only for human health, but for the entire planetary climate.

11 Erosion of political and bureaucratization of state systems

The loss of creative power by political leaders and the simultaneous dwindling involvement of large sections of the population is compensated for by a flood of regulations, compliance with which is monitored by sprawling bureaucracies.

12 Growing social inequalities

The increase in inequalities fuels social and political instability, which above all prevents an effective response to global crises.

13 Depletion of natural resources

The over-exploitation of natural resources such as soil, water and minerals fundamentally jeopardizes the continued existence of those parts of the biosphere that form the basis of human existence.

14 Waste and environmental pollution

Environmental pollution from pesticides, nuclear waste and petroleum products poses a serious threat to human health and ecosystems.

The “economically based belief in progress”, driven by a turbo-techno-capitalism has steered humanity and its present globalized civilization systems into a blind alley and caused a cultural, social and political desertification – a landscape where people now err around aimlessly and have even forgotten what it is like to long for distant shores, to stay with the metaphor of Saint-Exupéry’s quote.

However, it takes more than a such a longing, but a concrete utopia, because a map of the world without utopia is not even worth looking at, as Oscar Wilde so aptly put it.

A well-founded utopia

Today, however, utopias are easily dismissed as “unrealistic, impractical”, as “mere fantasies set in a distant future”. People prefer to bask in the horror of dystopias, which are traded in abundance on all communication channels.

The Australian philosopher Roman Krznaric addresses today’s inability to think long-term in his must-read book “The good ancestor: Long-term thinking in a short-lived worldand calls for us to consider the well-being of future generations first and foremost in our actions and plans.

At the moment, we look at the future like colonizers, exploiting it for our own purposes as if it were devoid of people. The approximately 10 billion people who will inhabit the future over the next 175 years exist at best as demographic statistics in the minds of the current economic and political players.

Only if we once again adopt a “cathedral mindset”, like that of medieval cathedral builders who worked on projects that spanned several generations, can we develop strategies that do justice to the interests and needs of future generations.

The Human Purpose Village Project

A project that aims to create a cellular future civilization consisting of semi-autonomous, clearly structured, interconnected living spheres that secure human existence and provide meaning can indeed be called utopian. Living environments or villages that are harmoniously embedded in the biosphere, committed to the regeneration of the earth and consider themselves as its guests and guardians, could indeed be the places of longing that resonate in the Saint-Exupéry quote above.

Although the vision of the Human Purpose Village Project extends into a future spanning seven+ generations, it is also anchored in the here and now, in very specific projects of theoretical and practical nature. Because as the Chinese proverb so beautifully puts it: A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step!

A planned Think and Do Tank, which forms the framework in which the vision can unfold, is already taking shape.

A Human Purpose Academy (the outline of which can be read here) is already in the founding stage. It will develop a toolbox for the Purpose Villages in an interdisciplinary and international research dialog and accompany their development process.

In parallel we are working on plausible business models, that support the planning of the first villages and at the same time introduce the project vision into the social and media discourse. The project has already been awarded the Purpose Magazine’s Sustainability Award from Purpose Magazine award.

Finally, the circle of people who are enthusiastic about the project is constantly expanding, and we are confident that we will soon also be of interest to investors. The “CoCreators“, which can be seen on the project website, are exemplary for many others who are “super motivated to save the world”, as Julia says, for example:
“From my experience in the business world, I know that only completely new approaches will help us to tackle  the complex mix of problems the world is facing … and the Purpose Village Project embodies exactly the new thinking that we so urgently need. That’s why I’ve come on board!” 

Text Giò von Beust