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 innovative social thinkers confronts what makes needed new ways of understanding new and why they are inescapably important. He also addresses ways they can be practiced and how, when we are ready for them, they can feel like common sense. Rethinking How We Think explores the conceptual underpinnings of the future’s needed ‘new common sense.”
This latest book by psychiatrist and futurist Charles M. Johnston brings a cognitive science lens to today’s critical tasks. It is written for people wanting to make sense of the times we live in and what will be required if we are to have a healthy and vital human future. Based on the thinking of Creative Systems Theory (CST) and the Creative Systems concept of Cultural Maturity, it draws on over forty years of work by Dr. Johnston and colleagues at the Institute for Creative Development.
Some provocative questions that the book addresses:
—Why today do we see such extreme social and political polarization (and what will it take to get beyond it)?
—What are the future challenges that are most likely to be our undoing as a species (and what will be required to avoid this fate)?
—Why today do we find denial in relationship to so many challenges that are obviously critical—climate change and the extinction of species, for example (and what will it take for us to see more clearly and think more responsibly)?
—What makes the new ways of understanding needed to address such challenges possible (given that they might seem like too much to hope for)?
Some of the book’s essential observations:
—Effectively addressing the most important questions before us will require new human skills and capacities, in the end, an essential “growing up” as a species.
—This new chapter in our human development, what CST calls Cultural Maturity, depends not just on thinking new things, but on thinking in new ways, on a fundamental new kind of cognitive organization.
—Our historical tendency to think in “either/or”, “chosen people/evil other” terms is a direct product of how we have thought in times past. That new kind cognitive organization, what the theory calls Integrative Meta-perspective, offers the possibility of thinking in more encompassing, more dynamic and systemic ways.
—We can understand today’s extreme social and political polarization as a regressive response to today’s immense challenges and Cultural Maturity’s cognitive “growing up” as the necessary solution.
—While our times present immense challenges, in the end what is being asked of us is straightforward. You can think of it as a new “common sense.” What is different is that this is a maturity of common sense that we are only now beginning to grasp and becoming able to apply.
The book can be purchased through your favorite bookstore or through Amazon at
I hope you enjoy — cj