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editorial philosophy



» versione Italiana

editorial philosophy

(written in 1987 by Tony Balis)




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As we celebrate a new millennium of human history, it is crucial to re-examine where we’ve been and where we’re going. At the very least, the vulnerability, interdependence and complexity of our present world demand that we rigorously investigate our shared humanity and common destiny.

The Humanity Foundation believes that a compelling journal – widely distributed, profoundly original and with the enduring appeal of classic literature – contributes a vital element of understanding and compassion to our dialogues across the street and across the seas.

This journal engages the reader in an energetic, original inquiry into how the world works now and how we would like it to work in the future. Two-thirds non-fiction and one-third photography, humanity is a well-traveled friend who inspires us with spirit, perception and good nature, whose stories and essays leave us with a refreshed, even redeemed, sense of our humanity.

We encourage writers and photographers throughout the world to share their perspectives on the human condition, fashioning a pluralistic mosaic of insight and experience. We use only exceptional photographs.

Our journal allows a far-ranging spectrum of social, political and economic thought, but its main ambition is the presentation of human experience. Our goal is to make this journal an intriguing serialization of how we’re doing, a compelling and accessible conversation with the world, full of wisdom and surprise, with an optimistic eye on truly celebrating our survival as the new millennium begins.


2. THE NEED FOR humanity

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Our home planet is beset by thousands of complex problems. Yet, in spite of the rigorous efforts of its most intelligent species, progress remains painfully elusive and still seems to result more from good luck or political expedience than good planning.

Most of our solutions turn into part of the problem, as diversity of opinion in this community of six billion people makes universal consensus on our ills or opportunities simply unobtainable. Society has been unable to find ways to make disagreement an accepted, integral feature of our negotiations.

We need solutions that embody and eventually diminish discord, a way to make progress that fully incorporates forever-opposed opinion. By presenting the planet as a lively neighborhood, humanity helps to trade parochialism and its attendant defensiveness for a willingness to listen more closely to foreign attitudes. We thereby will create a positive change in the tone and, eventually, the substance of our negotiations.

Our journal need not preach, warn nor wring its hands. Nor does it reach merely for common denominators. It simply shares what each writer and photographer has come to understand for himself or herself.

By making our differences less threatening, humanity helps mitigate confrontations. By allowing us to look beyond the horizon more accurately and with more enthusiasm,humanity encourages us to find new ideas and new approaches to our complex challenges.



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An inquiry must have some cohesion in its search for truth. It must not only ask the right questions but do so in logical progression. This is particularly crucial in our inquiry into how the world works, our evolving and informal investigation of human interaction. Accordingly, humanity’s annual plan aims to provide the reader with a balanced perspective in two ways:

First, we cross-reference articles throughout each year, making it easier for the reader to reconsider different perspectives, as well as helping the editors keep track of expressed and implied sentiments.

Second, we use eight headings as editorial guides: nature, culture, communication, force, leadership, faith, love, and chance. These are not meant to be absolute categories, clearly defining each area of investigation; rather they are designed for convenience, stimulation, ease of access, continuity and familiarity.

Nature covers topics about our natural environment, our home, the stage. Culture introduces the actors, explores the development of homo sapiens. Communication covers the economic, political and social interplay among these tribes and nations. Force includes both armed conflicts and the quieter but equally disruptive impact of disease and famine.

Leadership explores the science and art of leadership; it also will try to identify the next generation of effective leaders. Faith, love, and chance determine our attitude toward life. They must be understood as part of our individual, cultural, and national identities. Is our fate cast as a roll of the dice or by the role of religion? Does love move the world?

In addition to running several of these eight headings in each issue, we are publishing a regular humanity essay, written by a person of high international esteem.

We also carry short features that remind the reader of our common traits, idiosyncrasies, challenges and heritage; present facts in a way that steadfastly views our planet as a common community; and invite reader reaction and involvement. Such features include:


ENTERPRISE: How someone, with the barest amount of capital, founded a promising business.

FAMILY TREE: Tracing one person’s mixed heritage back several generations to show how we are all related.

HERO: The story of one individual who acted for all humanity, particularly in the most humble and most local way.

PEACE: A statistical report on the world’s current wars. Something dramatic and simple to show how much fighting still occurs.

SPIRIT: One victory of human spirit and ingenuity in solving a localized problem.

VILLAGE: A photo of everyone in a village of fewer than 100 people, with an essay in their own words on how they live and on what they think of the rest of the world.

VOTE: A scorecard of elections or quasi-elections with some indication of the meaning of that event for the people and nation involved.

WORLD ORDER: Explorations of what it might take to achieve a new world order in substance, not just in supposition.


Ours is a journal about being at home, at home on a vulnerable, dynamic, dangerous, fascinating, unpredictable planet. Moreover, it is a journal which appreciates that each of us has a unique definition for being at home and a unique role to play in our future.