FROM THE EDITOR – You will notice a link to a new contribution from the Institute: The “Looking to the Future” Podcast. People have been requesting that we offer something in an audio format and we are excited to be able to do so. We hope you enjoy. Also, the new “For the Media” section is now pretty filled out. It includes long-form articles as well as short pieces suitable for stand-alone use (presented without links to more in-depth material).

As far as being alerted about new content, clicking on the RSS feed button sends information about the six most recent posts to your RSS reader. If you would like to receive periodic updates on new posts and Institute activities just sign up on the blog list on this page.

Because of new book projects in the works, I will be doing new blog posts and podcasts less often in the months ahead (probably about one every three or four months). New books projects include: A second edition of Hope and the Future (now with a new subtitle: Confronting Our Today’s Crisis of Purpose) that has recently been released (See A new book titled On the Evolution of Intimacy: A Brief Exploration Into the Past, Present, and Future of Gender and Love to be released in the spring. A new book that brings a cognitive psychology lens to the concept of Cultural Maturity titled, Rethinking How We Think: Integrative Meta-Perspective and the Cognitive “Growing Up” On Which Our Future Depends that is now close to completion. And an overarching, multi-volume work  Creative Systems Theory: a Comprehensive Theory of Purpose, Change, and Interrelationship in Human Systems that is in early stages and that I will be working on over the years ahead.

Because we think the general audience book Hope and the Future: Confronting Today’s Crisis of Purpose makes such an important contribution, ICD Press is making available to educational settings complementary pdf or e-book copies.  It is also possible to get print copies in quantity at our cost for teaching purposes. (Contact the press at

All the best — Charles Johnston

  • Understanding the Significance of Cultural Maturity and the Ideas of Creative Systems Theory—Current Perspective

      (This is a lengthy piece. But it is particularly important for the perspective it provides.) I formally introduced the concept of Cultural Maturity and the basic ideas of Creative Systems Theory over forty years ago. In the years since, I and colleagues have worked to fill out these notions and train leaders in their application. The larger portion of my most recent work has focused on making these notions accessible to a broader audience. These efforts have included three new books—Hope and the Future, Culture Maturity, and Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions—along with a series of five educational websites and the Cultural Maturity Blog. These further efforts have added new clarity, depth, and detail to work that had already made a major contribution. ...













Cultural Maturity—A Blog for the Future brings mature, big-picture perspective to the important questions of our time. It is a contribution of the Institute for Creative Development, a Seattle-based, non-profit, non-partisan, think tank and center for advanced leadership training. It is designed to support the sophistication of understanding and decision-making needed if we are to have a vital and creative human future.

The Cultural Maturity Blog is different from most content on the web in essential ways. It can be thought of as a “news blog.” But most conventional news becomes old news in a few days. A first way the site is different is that content is included only if it will likely be as or more significant five, ten, or even twenty years from now as it is today. A second way it is different helps clarify the first. The Institute’s work centers around the …

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This series of posts is intended for use by the media: radio/TV, newspapers/magazines, bloggers and other media sources. It is also appropriate for individuals who might want material in a more easily shared format. Material is most often presented without links to more in-depth theoretical material and adapted so it can effectively stand alone without requiring the reader to have previous knowledge of culturally mature perspective.

Posts take a couple of forms. There are brief posts easily adapted for a variety of media. (I will often include these briefer posts in both a blog format [first-person] and an article format [third-person].) There are also long-form pieces. These extended pieces can be readily adapted for lengthier articles. They can also be used as introductory material for people new to these ideas. (They include overarching pieces that bring big-picture perspective to the concept of Cultural Maturity and the Creative Systems Theory as a whole.)



The “Looking to the Future” Podcast series is now up and available. It includes podcasts that address current hot-button social issues from a culturally mature perspective (from above the partisan fray), a series originally done for the World Future Society that introduces the Concept of Cultural Maturity, and well as more in-depth conceptual pieces. Visit the podcast website.


Click book covers to enlarge their images.

Rethinking How We Think: Integrative Meta-perspective and the Cognitive “Growing up” On Which Our Future Depends brings a cognitive science lens to today’s essential tasks. It addresses how any kind of future we would want to live in will require not just fresh ideas, but an essential kind of cognitive reordering—a necessary “growing up” in how we understand. It also looks at how, when we are ready for them, needed new ways of thinking can feel like common sense. Rethinking How We Think is an exploration of the conceptual underpinnings of the future’s needed new c ommon sense. COMING FALL 2019

On the Evolution of Intimacy: A Brief Exploration into the Past, Present, and Future of Gender and Love describes an essential new chapter in identity and love, one that in potential takes us beyond the battle of the sexes and brings new depth and maturity to both how we understand ourselves and our capacity for closeness with another. The book examines easily confusing changes today redefining identity and love. By looking at these changes through a historical lens, it offers big-picture perspective for making sense of why we see what we do and what lies ahead.

Hope and the Future: Confronting Today’s Crisis of Purpose (ICD Press, 160 pages) Hope and the Future  presents a brief but provocative examination of what hope for the future necessarily depends on.  It introduces the concept of Cultural Maturity by examining critical questions and challenges today confronting us as a species. It describes how effectively addressing many of these new questions and challenges will require new human skills and capacities—new ways of thinking, relating, and acting.

Cultural Maturity—A Guidebook for the Future (With An Introduction to the Ideas of Creative Systems Theory) is a lengthier effort (640 pages) intended for those seriously interested in developing the new capacities that leadership in times ahead will require in all parts of our lives. It closely examines the changes that the concept of Cultural Maturity predicts and addresses how these changes are already beginning to alter our human landscape. And it introduces Creative Systems Theory as an important example of culturally mature conception.

Quick and Dirty Answers to the Biggest of Questions describes how the new kinds of understanding we need today not only helps us address modern day challenges, they also bring a new maturity and creativity to the more ultimate sorts of questions. It is intended for people who find particular fascination in overarching theory.

See the ICD Press page for further details and ordering information


Current & Ongoing Online Think Tanks

Our intent, long term, is to have ongoing think tanks (interactive global conversations) that attempt to address key issues from a culturally mature perspective be an important part of this blog. If you have interest in a particular topic and think you would like to be a future think tank participant, contact us at:

Additional ICD Learning Opportunities

Charles Johnston is available on a limited basis for trainings, think tank participation and facilitation, and speaking. He should be contacted directly for information about availability and for making arrangements. Learn more

Comments and Guest Contributor Policies

We welcome questions and comments from our readers. Contributions for the Questions and Comments section are drawn both from communications made directly to the editor and from responses to blog posts. Information about additional future ways to take part can be found in the “participate” section.

Links to the Cultural Maturity Blog’s Library

Use the links below to access different areas of the Cultural Maturity Blog Library.