The Human Capacity for Transformational Change
Harnessing the collective mind
Routledge – 2014 – 232 pages
Pressures for transformational change have become a regular feature of most fields of human endeavour. Master-thinkers and visionaries alike have reframed existing divisions as connecting relationships, bringing together as dynamic systems the supposed opposites of parts and wholes, stability and change, individuals and society, and rational and creative thinking. This reframing of opposites as interconnected wholes has led to realisation of the power of a collective mind.
This book offers ways and means of creating the synergies that are crucial in influencing a desired transformational change towards a just and sustainable future. It describes how and why our current decision-making on any complex issue is marked by clashes between the different interests involved. More optimistically, the book pursues a mode of thinking that brings together government, specialised and community interests at the local, regional and personal scales in a collective transformation process. Practical examples signal the emergence of a new knowledge tradition that promises to be as powerful as the scientific enlightenment.
Written in accessible language, this book will be insightful reading for anyone struggling with transformational change, especially researchers, students and professionals in the fields of administration, governance, environmental management, international development, politics, public health, public law, sociology, and community development
This refreshing, stimulating, indeed brilliant book helps move the concept of "collective mind" out of the realm of speculative philosophy and into the practical work of changing the world. We humans must think together, across our wide diversity, to deal with the great challenges before us.
–Alan AtKisson, writer and international consultant, Director, AtKisson Group.
This is a truly amazing - bold, audacious - intellectual enterprise that hopefully will become a mandatory text for discussion and study in the academy as well as for use in community development and planning.
–Caroline Ifeka, consultant anthropologist, Nigeria and London.
In The Human Capacity for Transformational Change, Brown and Harris have elegantly made accessible the processes that shape human existence and our collective influence on today's world. They nicely deconstruct how different ways of thinking inform the broad policy directions that serve our current global trajectory.
–Colin L. Soskolne, University of Alberta Canada; Vice-President Executive Committee Society for the Advancement of Science in Africa
This brilliant book leads to a vision of the world which is neither a dystopia (a prediction of gloom and disaster), nor a utopia (a model of impossible perfection). Rather, it leads to a future of a way to live that works in practice.
–Wendy Rainbird, environmental educator, policy advisor, and Landcare administrator, Canberra Australia.
This is an important and thought-provoking guide to navigating that complex reality and imagining, together, a world transformed. Brown and Harris draw on the best of our transcendent impulses, grounded in good science and an understanding of complex social phenomena to propel us to the next phase of human existence.
–David Waltner-Toews, University of Guelph, Canada; founding president of the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health.
Valerie Brown and John Harris have brought together all the elements of a new conception of science, one that enables scientists to rejoin the human race. This book should enable a new generation of scientist/citizens to assist in the transformational change that we need so badly and that is now beginning to happen.
–Jerome Ravetz, founder of Post-Normal Science, UK
This book is engaging and innovative and I hope it will serve to push our thinking
forward at a time when radical change is needed to deal with the complexity of
real world challenges
–Professor Roderick J. Lawrence, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Part 1. Changing minds 1. Living with transformational change: a future for the collective mind 2. The Darwinian mind: the next step in human evolution 3. The Gaian mind: people and planet as a self-organising system 4. The cybernetic mind: human social networks in cyberspace 5. The Herculean mind: seven challenging tasks 6. A collective mind: asking reflective questions Part 2. Changing society 7. Inclusive language: hearing all the voices 8. Transformation science: a science of change 9. Collective governance: democracy for the next millennium 10 Collaborative economy and gift relationships 11. Life-long education: learning without limits 12. The collective self: asking introspective questions Part 3. Changing worlds 13. Utopian thinking in a connected world
Valerie A. Brown is Director of the Local Sustainability Project, Human Ecology Program, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Health and author of over 12 books and 110 refereed journal papers on collective thinking and the collective mind.
John A. Harris is a university academic, outdoors educator and collective action researcher with the Local Sustainability Project and Alliance for Regenerative Landscape, Agriculture and Social Health in Australia.