The calendar is to a large degree a social convention, and each newyear does not necessarily usher in innovation and novelty. All the same, the beginning of the year, like the beginning ofa decade or a century, provides a regular opportunity to take stock, to test the pulse of humanity.
At the beginning of 1984 we have chosen to examine three of the many questions which are preoccupying the human community: the effects of the economic crisis; the latest trends in psychologicalresearch; and the thrust ofa criminality which seems generally to be rising. We invited two specialists to contribute to the debate on each of these issues, one from an industrialized country, onefrom a developing country. This is not meant as an endorsement of one of the accepted ways of delineating the world today, but as an attempt to present a diversity of analytical viewpoints and processes and, perhaps, to reveal points of agreement which transcend the inevitable divergences.
It goes without saying that we are not claiming in this number to cover the most important threats or promises confronting humankind todayproblems of hunger and health, knowledge for all, peace, justice, and harmony among peoples. The studies in this issue do, however, have roots in such problems and make it possible to explore their often hidden complexities if not to propose potential solutions. Noris it in accordance with convention that we open this issue with an analysis of the case of George Orwell, which is being widely studied and questioned in this month of January 1984.
Over and above the political controversy or the so-calledprophetic nature of the work, the question remains ofman's anxiety in face of his own "modernity". Is it not the machine-State more than the totalitarian State that is at issue here? And does not the reaction to such a danger of robotization lead man to fall prey, paradoxically, to attitudes that are regressive or invalid? The sharpness of these debates should not obliterate our common hope, reaffirmed by the twentysecond session of Unesco's General Conference held at the Organization's Paris Headquarters from 25 October to 26 November 1983.
The Unesco Courier presents its best wishes for 1984 to its readers and to all men and women of goodwill throughout the world.
Edouard Glissant, Editor-in-Chief
Read this issue. Download the PDF.
Read also our online article: George Orwell, a "Tory anarchist"