FROM THE EDITOR – You will notice that the top post announces a new book: Rethinking How We Think. I’m excited to have it released. For people of more conceptual bent, it will serve as an important entryway into my work. (For people who find examples and applications a more accessible starting point, my earlier work Hope and the Future serves a complementary function.)  

Some additions. The “New Book ‘thought exercises'” section provides quick glimpses of provocative questions addressed in various of my books. You will also find a link to 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 with links to more in-depth material).

As far as keeping in touch, if you wish to be alerted about new content as it is written, click on the RSS feed button and information about the six most recent posts will be sent to your RSS reader. If you would like to receive periodic updates on new posts and Institute activities (usually about three times per year) you can sign up on the blog list on this page.

And because we think the newly-updated, introductory, general audience book Hope and the Future: Confronting Today’s Crisis of Purpose makes such an important contribution, ICD Press is making available complementary pdf or e-book copy for use in educational settings (see

All the best — Charles Johnston

  • Announcing an Important and Timely New Book: “Rethinking How We Think”

    I’ve just released a new book that blog readers should find of particular interest. Titled Rethinking How We Think: Integrative Meta-Perspective and the Cognitive “Growing Up”On Which Our Future Depends, it applies a more cognitive science approach than previous books to making sense of the kind of thinking and acting that legitimate hope for the future depends on. From the book’s back cover:  “Look closely at any of the most critical questions ahead for the species and we find an easily unsettling shared theme. Not only do usual answers fail us, usual ways of thinking fail us. Essential challenges of every sort are requiring not just fresh insights, but whole new, more mature and systemic, ways of understanding.  In this short book, one of today’s most respected and ...













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

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