In Part I: Changing Minds, Brown and Harris explore the intellectual origins of transformational change, and take the reader through the ideas of transformational thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Pierre de Teilhard de Chardin, Gregory Bateson, James Lovelock and Norbert Wiener.
They move on to examine the seven questions that address the key elements that make up transformational change. These include the five outwardly directed questions that are concerned with the issue or event under examination, and the two inwardly directed questions that the inquirer asks of themselves.
In Part II: Changing Society, Brown and Harris explain how and why our current decision-making on any complex issue is marked by clashes between the different interests involved. They then examine ways of bringing together government, specialised and community interests at the local, regional and personal levels in a collective transformation process.
During their exploration of transformational change in a book that has been described by Alan AtKisson as ‘refreshing, stimulating’ and even ‘brilliant’, Brown and Harris provide practical examples that 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 a useful resource for anyone struggling with transformational change, especially researchers, students and professionals working in the fields of administration, governance, environmental management, international development, politics, public health, public law, sociology, and community development.
Reviews of The Human Capacity for Transformational Change
‘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
Emeritus Professor Valerie A. Brown
Local Sustainability Project
Fenner School of Environment and Society
Australian National University