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From Humiliation to Dignity:
For a Future of Global Solidarity

by Evelin Lindner

Lake Oswego, OR: Dignity University Press, an imprint of Dignity Press

Foreword by Howard Richards
philosopher of social science and scholar of peace and global studies

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•  eBooks forthcoming
Download a book flyer and an executive summary
See the author's personal digital Pdf review edition with full endnotes

Print ISBN: 978-1-952292-00-2
ISBN of the author's personal digital Pdf review edition: 978-1-952292-03-3
ePub: Apple 978-1-952292-01-9 and Kindle 978-1-952292-02-6 (forthcoming)

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lxxiv + xxx pages (total xxx)

Honour, dignity, decorum, humiliation, ecocide, sociocide, dignism, solidarity, dialogue, nondualism, unity in diversity, partnership.
Trans-cultural and trans-disiplinary studies, history, social philosophy, political science, sociology, global studies, anthropology, psychology (clinical, cultural, community, social psychology), neuroscience

Book presentations
Book presentation at Columbia University, Teachers College, Gottesman Libraries, room Russell 306, on December 5, 2018, 12.00 - 2pm. See the invitation flyer and the event announced in the Gottesman Libraries Calendar. (Please be aware that this is an unedited video). Thank you most warmly, dear Jennifer Govan, for making this talk possible!

• From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity — From a Virus Pandemic to a Pandemic of Dignity: How Can We Escape Complicity with Institutionalized Humiliation?, presentation of 48 minutes recorded on December 6, 2020, and presentation of 51 minutes recorded on December 5, 2020, in Germany, for the 17th Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict that was originally scheduled to take place at Columbia University in New York City, in December 2020. See the background text.
From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity — A Meta-Narrative for Times of Radical Transformation
, presentation of one hour and ten minutes recorded on November 17, 2020, in Germany, for the 17th Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict that was originally scheduled to take place at Columbia University in New York City, in December 2020. See the background text.
See also a presentation with a similar title prepared for another conference on 13th December 2020, pre-recorded on 16th November 2020 in Germany, with one version of 25 minutes and a longer version of one hour

Related articles
From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity – The Coronavirus Pandemic as Opportunity in the Midst of Suffering
Paper finalised on 2nd April 2020 in Germany, while taking care of my 94-years old father in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic that began in China in December 2019, to be reprinted in InterViews: An Interdisciplinary Journal in Social Sciences, in July 2020.
German translation by Georg-Wilhelm Geckler:
Von der Demütigung zur Würde: Für eine Zukunft der globalen Solidarität Die Coronavirus-Pandemie als Chance in der Not

•  Editorial Reviews
•  Contents
•  Foreword by Linda Hartling
•  Larger Book Project
•  Synopsis
•  Endorsements
•  Reviews and Comments
•  Pictures


Editorial Reviews

Short Book Description
Soon to come

Extended Book Description
Soon to come

Executive summary by the author further down or downloadable here

Short key words
• transdisciplinary inquiry
• history of humiliation, honour, decorum, and dignity
• ecocide and sociocide
• future dignity and peace
• future global solidarity
• reflections from a global citizen

Expanded key words
• transdisciplinary inquiry of the historical path of the concept of humiliation in relation to the notions of honour, decorum, and dignity
• the history and present reality of honour and humiliation, and of human rights ideals and humiliation
• from ecocide and sociocide towards dignity and peace
• paths to global solidarity through dignism
• a real-world analysis and experiential inquiry and reflections from a global citizen

Short Biography of the Author
Evelin Lindner has a dual education as a Medical Doctor and a Psychologist, with a Ph.D. in Medicine (Dr. med.) from the University in Hamburg in Germany, and a Ph.D. in Psychology (Dr. psychol.) from the Department of Psychology at the University of Oslo in Norway. She is the founding president of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS), a global transdisciplinary community of concerned academics and practitioners who wish to stimulate systemic change, globally and locally, to open space for dignity, mutual respect and esteem to take root and grow. Our goal is ending systemic humiliation and humiliating practices, preventing new ones from arising, and opening space for feelings of humiliation to nurture constructive social change, so that we call can join in healing the cycles of humiliation throughout the world. Linda Hartling is the director of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies. Lindner is also co-founder of the World Dignity University initiative, including Dignity Press and World Dignity University Press. All initiatives are not for profit. She lives and teaches globally and is affiliated with the University of Oslo since 1997 (first with the Department of Psychology, and later also with its Centre for Gender Research, and with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights). Furthermore, she is affiliated with Columbia University in New York City since 2001 (with the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity, AC4), and since 2003 with the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. She convenes two conferences per year together with the HumanDHS network, and more than 30 conferences have been conducted since 2003 all around the world. One conference takes place each December at Columbia University in New York City, it is the Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict, with Morton Deutsch as honorary convener until his passing in 2017. The other conference takes place at a different location each year, since 2003 in Europe (Paris, Berlin, Oslo, Dubrovnik), Costa Rica, China, Hawai’i, Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa, Rwanda, and Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. See for a list of past and future conferences and the status of the work here. Lindner has received several awards, and as a representative of the dignity work of HumanDHS, she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015, 2016, and 2017.



Foreword by Howard Richards

Part I: Humiliation and humility – A timeline from 1315 to 1948
Chapter 1: 1315 — The journey of humility and humiliation begins
Chapter 2: 1757 — A new meaning of the verb to humiliate emerges
Chapter 3: 1948 — Human rights ideals separate humiliation from humility and shame
Chapter 4: 1948 — In awe of inherent dignity

Part II: 1948 and beyond – Equal dignity for all!
Chapter 5: Dignity is yearned for all around the world
Chapter 6: Beware of dignity mission creeps
Chapter 7: Beware of systemic humiliation – Sociocide and ecocide
Chapter 8: Can we rise from humiliation?

Part III: Where do we go from here? A future of solidarity?
Chapter 9: How we got here
Chapter 10: What makes the present historical juncture so challenging
Chapter 11: What now? Egalisation, dignism, and unity in diversity
Chapter 12: A call to action

Afterthoughts by Francisco Gomes de Matos


Foreword by Howard Richards

The central message of this book emerges gradually as the confluence of many lines of research and reflection employing various methodologies, various conceptual schemes, various models and various vocabularies. It cannot really be understood without reading through the evidence and argument that show not only what the central message is, but also that it is true. Nevertheless, I will begin this Foreword by trying as hard as I can to summarise it briefly. Then I will offer an opinion on how to get from here to there. ‘Here’ refers to the world as it is. ‘There’ refers to the world as it needs to be. Lastly, I will make a remark on method.
Emotions have histories. Our experiences today of shame or humiliation, or of the happier emotions associated with dignity, are present-day outcomes of centuries-long histories. If we include the long evolution of the human species, from the time of our common grandmother Mitochondrial Eve until now, then we can speak of the millennia-long histories of our emotions. We could go even farther back, all the way to the appearance of the first unicellular organisms on planet earth, approximately 2.3 billion years ago.
This book breaks up history in a way that features two major periods in the history of emotions. The first, and by far the longest, began when our ancestors first crossed the somewhat arbitrary imaginary line that marked their passage from being pre-hominids to being hominids. It ended, after about 190,000 years, with what anthropologists call ‘circumscription’. During that time the deepest and most fundamental features in the human emotional repertory were composed. [read more]
Howard Richards
Professor, Philosopher of Social Science and Scholar of Peace and Global Studies
Limache, Chile
January 2018



Executive Summary

First comes an important caveat: While the author of this book is the founding president of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, with Linda Hartling as its director, both are also researchers on their own account. This is a very important point, because what is presented in this book does not define any ‘official position’ of the HumanDHS community. On the contrary, the author wishes to inspire her readers to forge their own pathways to exploring dignity and humiliation. The maxim of the overall dignity work is unity in diversity and in their role as conveners, the author, together with Linda Hartling and all its members, attempt to nurture unity by holding diversity — the diversity of the network members’ views, of which the author is only one part in her role as a researcher.
This book came into being as part of the author’s overall dignity work that reaches back many decades and is inspired by the following questions. If we acknowledge that humankind faces global challenges — namely, the degradation of our eco-sphere and socio-sphere at a global scale — we have to cooperate globally. In this situation, what are the best ways to global cooperation, and what are the most significant obstacles? What is human nature? Does it condemn us to hate, fight, compete for dominance, and exploit each other and the planet? Or can we cooperate in solidarity? If we can, can we do so globally? After all, no country, no region, can tackle global challenges alone. ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is an African saying. Can our global village become a village that raises its children in dignity and keeps them safe? Is the following a valid promise or empty rhetoric: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’? Can equal dignity and equal rights be the moral compass for a decent future for humankind? Or not? Is there hope? What if clashes of civilisations are harmless compared with clashes of humiliation? What if clashes of humiliation now undermine our best chances for cooperation? What if only mutual care and trust can save us?
Where do we stand, as humankind? The author of this book offers this analysis: We have dug ourselves into a multitude of perilous crises, both despite and because of what we call progress. We engage in systemic humiliation — ecocide and sociocide — we shred our relations with our habitat and with each other. We catalyse the degradation of our ecosphere and sociosphere by damaging our cogitosphere, the realm of thinking and reflection. We do so to the point of cogitocide, so that we embark in common sightlessness on our collective suicide as a species, and on omnicide, the annihilation of all life on Earth. The suffix –cide comes from caedere in Latin and means ‘killing’.
At the same time, there is also an immense window of opportunity waiting for us to use. Unfortunately, so far, instead of recognising the depth of the crises we are in and grasping our historic opportunity to exit, it seems that most of us choose to stay shortsighted and myopic.
This is the opportunity: Few people seem to take in that Homo sapiens lives in a historically unparalleled promising moment. For the very first time in its history, humankind is in a position to succeed in bringing about the kinds of adaptation that are needed. Unlike our forebears, we have the privilege of experiencing the overview effect with respect to our planet, which helps us understand that we humans are one species living on one tiny planet, so that we can embrace biophilia. We have everything needed to build global mutual trust and solidarity, we can humanise globalisation and reap the benefits that flow from the global ingathering of humanity.
Perhaps we need a crisis that is big enough to urge us to use this opportunity? Can the coronavirus crisis that began to unfold at the end of 2019 be this wake-up call? We are fortunate that the virus is not as deadly as the Ebola virus and gives us time to turn around. When we think of social factors such as dignity and humiliation, then the pandemic highlights both in unprecedented ways — the more the world interconnects, everything spreads out farther and faster, be it the nemesis of new viruses, the promise of shining ideals such as equal dignity, or the pain and anger that emerges when dignity is felt violated.
Present-day’s most definitorial systemic humiliation is a world-system that gives priority to profit maximisation rather than common good maximisation, a state of affairs that sends humiliation into every corner of the world. Not least the coronavirus pandemic was a ‘predicted crisis’ due to this predicament, as decades of warnings were overheard in the rush for profit at any price, a rush that at the same time brought humans in close contact with novel pathogens that can spread around the world and kill hundreds of thousands in a few months. The coronavirus pandemic throws into stark relief the fact that global care for the common good is paramount, while the profit motive is destructive when it takes the lead rather than being of service. The crisis calls for an ‘economy of life’ rather than an ‘economy of death’ — it calls for a dignity economy. It calls on us to remember that humans are not only capable of solidarity, it might even be much more fulfilling and meaningful to stand together than to outcompete each other.
To counter the widespread myopic trend, this book focusses on all of human history — on big history — because only a wide view makes the primary problems visible that spawn secondary, tertiary, and quaternary ones. The book looks at modern Homo sapiens’ entire journey on this planet and conceptualises the so-called Neolithic Revolution as a definitorial turning point that merits renewed attention today because it saw the emergence of humankind’s primary problem. Competition for domination and control was Homo sapiens’ master survival strategy during the past millennia, and it was once useful. The core problem of our time is that this strategy outlives its usefulness now, and it does so the more interconnected the world grows and the more overstretched Earth’s carrying capacity becomes. In an interconnected and finite world, competition for domination transmutes into a collective suicide strategy. This is why we, as humankind, find ourselves at a historically unprecedented turning point. It is a situation where history does not repeat itself, where the lessons of our forebears no longer hold. In this new context, the only realistic aim is to work for global mutual trust and global partnership through unity in diversity in equal dignity for all. During the past millennia, such ideas were deemed wishful and unrealistic dreaming. Now humankind finds itself in the historically unprecedented situation where global partnership in mutual solidarity represents the only life-saving strategy.
This book explores the notion of dignity, the opportunities it offers, and how it can show us a decent path into the future. The book approaches dignity from many directions, also from its violation, humiliation. The first part of this book has the title ‘Humiliation and humility — A timeline from 1315 to 1948’. The second part looks at dignity under the heading ‘Equal dignity for all’. The third part of the book wonders: ‘Where do we go from here?’

Part I: Humiliation and humility — A timeline from 1315 to 1948
Part II: 1948 and beyond — Equal dignity for all!
Part III: Where do we go from here? A future of solidarity?

The author of this book has been living on all continents for the past forty-five years. On her global path, she has witnessed how the promise that is entailed in the sentence ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ has become a foundational value, far beyond mere legal concepts. This promise seems to be a genie that, once it was unleashed, cannot be put back into the bottle anymore, and this despite the fact that it is betrayed widely and frequently. The promise has force now. Despite its complexity and despite its betrayal, the notion of dignity has found its way not just into hearts and minds but into the centre of many constitutional texts. It speaks to the deep human desire to rise up from being pushed down — it is an embodied longing, beyond language, beyond legal instruments. It is the simple and straightforward yearning to be respected as an equal human being among fellow human beings.
Click here to read the rest of this summary on dignity, on humiliation, and where we go from here.



Standing on the edge of countless catastrophes, humanity needs to chart a course forward more powerful than the problems erupting today. That is purpose of this book! Informed by 45 years of scholarship on all continents, Evelin Lindner calls us to seize our remaining window of opportunity. She offers us our best hope for a better future, a journey toward global unity built on a courageous foundation of loving dignity.
Linda Hartling, Director, Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies and World Dignity University initiative

This is much more than a history-making book: It is a uniquely DIGNImaking contribution to Human Character Elevation and to in-depth Humility
Francisco Gomes de Matos – A peace linguist from Recife, Brazil

Evelin Lindner is rightly pointing out the tragic destiny uf humanity, facing so many humiliations and surviving through a permanent, and often heroic, fight for dignity. As a renowned activist for a human emancipation from all kinds of humiliation, social, economic or political, she brilliantly shows in this book that any social order is not even conceivable without establishing dignity as the main human institution.
Bertrand Badie, Professeur émérite des Universités à Sciences Po Paris. See his book Le Temps des Humiliés, Paris: Odile Jacob, 2014, translated by Jeff Lewis in 2017, Humiliation in International Relations: A Pathology of Contemporary International Systems, Oxford and Portland, Oregon: Hart.

We must all be grateful that the extremely distinguished Medical Doctor and Psychologist Evelin Lindner has given us a book which can guide humanity to a sane and sustainable future. Her book, From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity, outlines the steps that are urgently needed to build a new global ethic, in which local loyalties to family and nation will be supplemented by a higher loyalty to humanity as a whole. Only an ethic of solidarity within the world's entire human family can save us from the multiple interlinked threats that we face today: militarism, the climate crisis and excessive inequality.
John Scales Avery, theoretical chemist, part of a group associated with the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995

Evelin Lindner is one of our most important voices for conflict resolution, human dignity, peace and global solidarity, and has, with her research-based commitment laid down a lifelong work, not least in the form of international publications. In this book, too, the study of conflicts is understood and portrayed through the decisive role that humiliation and the restoration of dignity plays. Can we raise our children to dignified lives and a world of respect for each other? Do we still think this is possible? On what should we build the hope for a peaceful world today and how shall we prevent oppression, the human urge to oppress and exploit others in a persistent competition? These questions are more relevant than ever, and in this book, Lindner tries to answer them all. By presenting the great story – big history – Lindner places us in ‘the dark era of the twenty-first century’, but at the same time offers concrete advice on how we can get out of the self-defeating ‘cycles of humiliation’. ‘Equal dignity in solidarity’ – in short, dignism – can become reality.
Norwegian original:
Evelin Lindner er en av vårt tids viktigste stemmer for konfliktløsning, menneskeverd, fred og global solidaritet, og har med sitt forskningsbasert engasjement, lagt ned et livslangt arbeid, ikke minst i form av internasjonale publikasjoner. Også i denne boken er studiet av konflikter forstått og fremstilt gjennom den avgjørende rolle ydmykelse og gjenopprettelse av verdighet spiller. Kan vi oppdra våre barn til verdige liv og til en verden preget av respekt for hverandre? Tror vi fortsatt dette er mulig? Hva skal vi bygge håpet om en fredelig verden på i dag og hvordan skal vi forebygge undertrykkelse, menneskets trang til å undertrykke og utnytte andre i en vedvarende konkurransesituasjon? Disse spørsmålene er mer aktuelle enn noen gang, og i denne boken forsøker Lindner å svare på dem alle. Gjennom å presentere den store historien – big history – plasserer Lindner oss  i ‘the dark era of the twenty-first century’, men tilbyr samtidig en rekke konkrete råd om hvordan vi kan komme ut av de selvødeleggende ‘cycles of humiliation’. ‘Equal dignity in solidarity’ – in short, dignism – can become reality.
Inga Bostad, Professor of Philosophy, Director, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, Norway

Evelin Lindner continues her unfailing engagement for world peace in her new book From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity. As a Western scholar, with experience from the South, and insisting on being a world citizen, she is able to pinpoint our Western shortcomings when it comes to building peaceful, just, and sustainable societies. The world is using abnormal and growing sums to build military might, including modernizing nuclear weapons, the world’s most devastating invention, but fails to meet the needs and concerns of its people. The inequality gap is growing, creating justified anger by those who are left behind. Evelin Lindner contributes substantially to the new reflection that is needed to get us out of the dominant capitalistic, confrontational, and competitive patterns, and instead help us concentrate our energy, creativity, and empathic potential on how to cooperate, in and with dignity, to save humanity and our planet from the global environmental and climate threat. 
Ingeborg Breines, former Co-President of the International Peace Bureau (IPB), former Director of Women and a Culture of Peace at UNESCO, and Special Adviser to the Director-General on Women, Gender and Development

Scholar and visionary Evelin Lindner analyzes our looming, self-enacting, path to extinction. By reviewing human history through the lens of honor, humiliation, and dignity, she develops a counterstrategy. She challenges the very frameworks of domination of people and nature led by exploitative, corporate, and dictatorial forces. She illuminates a pathway for dignified, egalitarian solidarity, one that is grounded in the capacities of 'we, as humankind' to generate new frameworks, cultivate sensitivity, and incorporate the language of dignity. Lindner advocates engaging these social capacities and current empirical knowledge with the perspective of one planet-one humanity. She demonstrates how we can redirect a massive historic turn toward a global citizens movement for new global life-supporting mechanisms and dignity-sustaining constituent rules.
Janet C. Gerson, Ed.D. Education Director, International Institute on Peace Education


Reviews and Comments





December 5, 2018 Evelin's book talk: From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity
Columbia University, Teachers College, Gottesman Libraries, room Russell 306.
See the invitation flyer and the event announced in the Gottesman Libraries Calendar. Thank you most warmly, dear Jennifer Govan, for making this talk possible!

• From Humiliation to Dignity: For a Future of Global Solidarity
(Please be aware that this is an unedited video)

• Please click on the pictures above or here to see more photos.