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New World New Mind: Moving Toward Conscious Evolution Paperback – September, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist and population expert, has teamed with psychologist Ornstein ( The Psychology of Consciousness ) to produce an important and urgent prescription for sanity. They perceive a mismatch between the human nervous system and our complex modern world: unlike early hunter-gatherers who evolved quick reflexes to cope with a limited environment, modern Americans face long-range problems not readily apparent to the five sensesexploding population, proliferation of nuclear warheads, depletion of the ozone layer, a staggering budget deficit, mass slaughter on our highways and by handguns. Whether or not one accepts the biological premise of their argument, their engagingly written, continually provocative synthesis effectively demonstrates how we use crude mental caricatures to manipulate a social and physical environment gone haywire. Although their talk of initiating conscious evolutionary progress in human beings may seem farfetched, their concrete proposals on TV programming, arms control, environmental planning, child rearing and curriculum changes are well worth heeding.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Doubleday. Jan. 1989. c.312p. index. ISBN 0-385-23940-8. $18.95. psych According to Ehrlich and Ornstein, the "new world" of short-term technological and environmental change requires a "new mind" capable of perceiving long-term, slow-motion calamity; if we learn to think probabilistically, we can recognize misjudgment and cognitive bias. The authors therefore recommend a formal effort to train minds to filter in, not filter out, imperceptible changes in global ecology and the large-scale consequences of economic growthmanship. They would also expand media reporting of gradual trends as an antidote to our outmoded view of the world as static. A timely book that should inspire each of us to assess more accurately the not-so-benign implications of the technological mobilization of humanity and the earth. William Abrams, Portland State Univ. Lib., Ore.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Malor Books (September 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883536243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883536244
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,688,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
EDIT 20 Dec 07 to add links.

This superb book was published in 1989 and is being reissued, and I am very glad it has come out again. I bought it because it was recommended by Tom Atlee, seer of the Co-Intelligence Institute, and I found it very worthwhile.

As I reflect on the book, I appreciate two key points from the book:

1) The evolution of our brains and our ability to sense cataclysmic change that takes place over long periods of time is simply not going fast enough--the only thing that can make a difference is accelerated cultural evolution, which I find quite fascinating, because cultural evolution as the authors describe it harkens to noosphere, World Brain, co-intelligence, and what the Swedes are calling M4 IS: multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information sharing--what I think of as Open Source Intelligence--personal, public, & political.

2) One of the more compelling points the authors make is that not only are politicians being elected and rewarded on the basis of short-term decisions that are by many measures intellectually, morally, and financially corrupt, but the so-called knowledge workers--the scientists, engineers, and others who should be "blowing the whistle," are so specialized that there is a real lack of integrative knowledge. I realized toward the end of the book, page 248 exactly, that Knowledge Integration & Information Sharing must become the new norm.

This is a tremendous book that is loaded with gems of insight. I have it heavily marked up.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book, and still relevant. It suggests that evolution has been running at different speeds in the different areas of human biology, culture and science, and uses this distinction to try and understand why mankind is so very bad at dealing with long-term threats like global warming. The proof of Ornstein's central idea is in the increasing cartoonisation of the world that has continued in the media since the book was published. We are essentially still monkeys. argue the authors, monkeys with clever toys, and we still respond to threats like bangs and baby-snatchings in exactly the same way that we used to when we lived in caves, and the modern media and its masters know this. If anything the so-called 'War on Terror' proves the authors point 15 years after the book was written.
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Format: Paperback
This book is nearly twenty years old and is still entirely relevant, which is probably a good part of the reason it's still in print. Mr. Ornstein and Mr. Ehrlich make the basic point that the human brain is not suited for detecting many of the gradually escalating or insidious dangers, such as overpopulation and climate change, that threaten our very existence as a species. Not only do they elaborate upon this point in a highly readable fashion, but also put forth ways that we can minimize the problem, such as through educating children differently. This book should be required reading in our schools. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fascinating book, though now quite dated. I wish I'd read it years ago.
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