The Norway Project has four objectives for the next three years and beyond:

1) To understand Norway as a case study of cultural evolution leading to a high quality of life. This is largely an academic enterprise involving multiple collaborators, which is integrated with EI Vice President Peter Turchin’s Seshat World History Databank project.

2) To increase Norway’s literacy about evolution in relation to human affairs as a whole nation, reflected in its media and public discourse. For a variety of reasons, we think that this can happen sooner in Norway than in America and most other nations. The Arne Naess symposium and event staged in collaboration the Norwegian think tank Agenda are examples of this kind of effort.

3) To assist in the formulation of specific public policies from an evolutionary perspective. An example is a project that will use Norwegian census statistics to measure changes in income inequality and their social consequences at a fine spatial and temporal scale of resolution.

4) To clarify how other nations can learn from Norway’s success. This is a complex issue, because cultural evolution at all scales is highly path-dependent and it is not always possible to get from “there” to “here”. An example of this effort is the Focus Essay titled “Blueprint for the Global Village” by David Sloan Wilson and Dag Hessen, which was published with commentaries on the EI’s Social Evolution Forum and publicized on the EI’s website.

What’s next?
Lieberman and Wilson’s next trip to Norway will be March 2015, where Wilson will participate in an art-science fusion event on the topic of “What It Means to be Human in the Age of Extremes” and both will participate in workshops that will advance the objectives listed above. Wilson will have another extended stay in Norway in September 2016.

Published On: March 15, 2016

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