Extraordinary Collection, Unique, Timely, No Notes
December 16, 2009
Dacher Keltner, Jason March, Jeremy Adam Smith
This is a truly extraordinary collection of essays from the magazine Greater Good, a magazine I had no idea existed. The editors have done a tremendous job in selecting 35 essays (click on the cover above to see the Table of Contents and over all I am hugely impressed.
Multiple literatures are in convergences, from the consciousness side to the global brain side to the waging peace side. I arrived at this book from the “beyond genes to culture” side, and list ten other recommended books spanning those literatures at the end of this review.
+ 33 authors, 35 essays, drawn from the 2004-2009 timeframe as published in Greater Good, a magazine
+ Herb Alpert Foundation helped make this book possible
+ Three parts to the book: scientific roots; cultivating local goodness; cultivating goodness in society and politics
+ Science stories include evolutionary studies on peacemaking; neuroscientific experiments; and research into hormones like oxytocin that promote trust and generosity, meaning that kindness really is its own reward and that it is contagious
Thom Hartmann is one of a handful of individuals that I consider to be true guides for the rest of us, and I consider two of his earlier books, Cracking the Code and SCREWED, to have been instrumental in my own transformation from recovering spy to intelligence officer to the public.
Bottom line: Humanity can evolve, must evolve, and the Whole Earth, Co-Evolution concepts that Stewart Brand and others pioneered (not mentioned here), that indigenous people’s everywhere have understood for centuries, are a natural path for us all. We *can* create a prosperous world at peace.
Short version of the book: Synergy is cool again, synergy and self-organization complement each other and are distinct; bioeconomics is hugely important and supports the premise that the whole is larger than the sum of the parts and that interactions and exchanges can and should be done for the whole, “beyond selfishness,” cybernetics rules, information is the space between, and ethics is both a form of cybernetics and a cultural adaptation that helps the whole evolve and persist.
I list these–and point to others at the end of this preliminary review–to make the point that this author’s stellar and very complete work with very good notes is the coup de grace–the final bullet in the head of the IPCC, a mercy killing long over-due. [Disclosure: I funded the first three years of the Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity that accepts the ten high-level threats to humanity for action, and places climate change within priority #3, Environmental Degradation–we also place a very high priority on clarity, diversity, integrity, and sustainability of effort.