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on May 22, 2009
If you are a couch potato, and feel good about it, The Chrysalis Effect is not the book for you. This book not only helps you understand the forces for change at play in our global culture, it details the forces for and against change that are hitting us daily like waves on the beach emerging from a violent storm. I'm a committed social activist, and Dr. Slater not only analyzes what's up in our world, he points very directly at those positive and dynamic forces that we can get behind and press toward full emergence and dominance. I read The Chrysalis Effect as a self-help book for committed activists saying "get real, get behind the emerging culture that is positive and inclusive and stand back and let those opposing it, slide ever so gently down the drain." This book says its up to us through studied, bold, and humane action to say farewell to that which denies human emergence, and hello to that which unites the best in each and all of us. Thank you Philip Slater.
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VINE VOICEon March 31, 2011
Once again, sociologist Philip Slater provides us with a treatise on the metamorphosis of culture - this time - global culture. The book contains a number of little gems. This book is a diamond in the rough regarding perspectives on cultural evolution. Here are a few of my favorites.

Jared Diamond, in his study of failed cultures, observes that what usually decides whether a society survives or collapses seems to be a "willingness to reconsider core values." P. 5

`We're an evolving species...The environment - even social and cultural contexts - can switch genes on and off. P. 12.

Every new culture retains parts of the one that preceded it. p. 27

A cultural system can make people believe the most bizarre ideas - even be willing to die for them, and to kill others for not sharing them. It can transform the most unpleasant kinds of behavior into cherished virtues. P. 29.

Innovation comes from outsiders. Those most deeply committed to, and successful in, an old system will be the last to notice a radically new idea, and will be most resistant to it. When change comes, it's the outsiders - those uncommitted to the status quo -who are poised to catch the wave. P.53

This desire to cleanse the world of `evil' has led to virtually all the great atrocities of history. P. 74

We'd also have an easier time living if we thought of ourselves as verbs rather than nouns - as events rather than as objects. P. 82

Participating in the evolving Integrative Culture means thinking of yourself as a process. It means thinking of everyone and everything around you as a process. It means becoming a verb. P.83.

Concentration of power equals abuse of power for the only way not to abuse power is to share it. Such concentrations are blood clots in the circulatory system of society. When an artery becomes clogged, blood doesn't get to the brain or the heart and people have strokes and heart attacks. Concentrations of power and wealth have a similar effect on the body politic. The circulation of wealth, resources, and, especially, ideas, is blocked. In a healthy system, information flows are unimpeded by clots of power or the sclerosis of hierarchy. P.100.

In the old industrial economy workers were expected to be as robotic as possible, and rote training in school prepared them to function well on assembly lines. But in today's economy the emphasis is on information, services, invention demanding imagination, creativity, and social skills - diametrically opposite requirements. Adaptation to the future means retooling our schools to make them relevant to the world we live in. p.105.

There's no way to insulate yourself from the bad things around you that doesn't at the same time insulate you from the good things around you. A wall protects but it also imprisons. Every fortress is also a jail. p.117.

A lot of wasted energy is required to sustain artificial barriers. p. 137.

Reading this book is NOT a waste of energy. Invest in yourself - read this book - and bust through some artificial barriers in the process. Like I said - this book is a diamond in the rough and tumble of perspectives on the evolution of cultural change - a perspective distinctly worthy of digestion.
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on November 30, 2011
Those who prefer to accept prophesies of a future of doom and drama for humanity may be quite disappointed and positively dismantled by sociologist Philip Slater's promising vision of the future in his book, The Chrysalis Effect; The Metamorphosis of Global Culture. Slater uses an analogy of the chaotic transformational process of a caterpillar within the chrysalis to illustrate the current state of global chaos and turmoil that is being experienced on all levels, from the micro to the macro, the individual to the collective. He views this as a natural cycle and a hopeful sign of the emergence of a new and more complex form of existence. His point is not that humanity is going to emerge into a beautiful butterfly and live happily ever after, but rather that change is inevitable and that a new more balanced and harmonious form is emerging (p.8).

Slater calls this new form Integral Culture and explains that, unlike the current Control Culture which has evolved and dominated over the past 8,000 years (p.12), Integral Culture will incorporate more right-brain feminine qualities, such as holistic thinking, cooperation and connection, complexity, collaboration, and creativity. Slater explains that the emerging culture will include qualities of the existing Control Culture and states, "When Integrative Culture is fully established, traits such as competitiveness and the desire for control won't disappear anymore than cooperation and spontaneity disappeared during the Controller era" (p.37).

Slater supports his predictions for the future and his explanation for the current state of transformative turmoil with evidence from multiple disciplines: anthropology, archeology, biology, business, politics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, science, and religion. He also offers insight from Chaos Theory and Quantum Mechanics and explains the way in which these sciences are contributing to an emerging Integrative Spirituality. He states, "Spirituality in Integrative Culture is based on the awareness that we're part of something larger than ourselves. This something doesn't stand apart from us, or over us. We participate in it - we belong to it. Integrative spirituality is an appreciation of our oneness with all life, with all spirit" (p.155). Not only does Slater's integral vision provide one with a new, more expansive, and more hopeful perspective of the future, it also helps one to understand self and all of existence as an intricate and interwoven system of dynamic process.
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on March 15, 2016
In its depiction of Control Culture vs Integrative Culture, this book has astonishing explanatory power. Although it was written in 2008, it seems to explain the dynamics of the 2016 US elections with uncanny precision. Slater's framework predicts the rise of nationalism, bigotry, and militarism, even down to the call to build a wall, explaining its origins: the "immune system" of old Controller ways putting up its final resistance to nascent Integrative values: evolution, inclusion, progress. This is an essential read for anyone interested in the grand historical and ideological patterns that have molded our modern world, and how we can be a part of the solutions to the challenges of today.
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on May 16, 2013
This may be as important a book as Jared Diamond's Germs, Guns and Steel. It gives deep and important insights into the way the world is changing and makes a lot of really disturbing trends easier to comprehend and cope with, both personally and intellectually. I have contacted my library to recommend they stock it, talked it up at every opportunity and intend to do more. Anyone interested in politics, science, religion or social issues, will find it fascinating, and anyone who isn't interested in at least one of those is not ever going to read anything in any case. I cannot recommend this too strongly,

Jerry in Eugene
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on October 31, 2013
In The Chrysalis Effect Phil Slater describes the transition the world goes through today using the metaphor of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. That process is quite dramatic, inside the cocoon the caterpillar ceases to exist, the body is liquefied and that caterpillar soup transforms into the butterfly. The caterpillar always had the potential to become a butterfly, yet initially its immune system resists the change.

From Slater's perspective, the caterpillar stands for the existing culture, with an emphasis on authority and domination over people and environment, growth as the most important aspect of economy, and most of all the belief in separation and conflict. Slater calls this the control culture. The butterfly stands for an emerging culture that values cooperation, democracy, a sustainable economy, and most importantly a belief that everything is connected. This is what Slater calls the integrative culture.

Just like the transition of the caterpillar into a butterfly, according to Slater, the change in the global culture is a process that goes one way, from control culture to integrative culture. There is no going back, there is no consolidation of the control culture. Sure this transition seems scary, like a caterpillar who has no clue what a butterfly is and has no desire to become one because of that unknown. As an analogy, in our culture we see fundamentalists try to hold on to the old way of doing things, just like the caterpillar's immune system tries to fight of the transition into a butterfly.

This is an unusual and inspiring book. For one, instead of doom thinking and a call for action out of fear we destroy the planet, Slater frames the global culture as a culture in transition, a transition into an inherently sustainable world. For two he shows us that out of chaos (caterpillar soup so to speak) something new emerges. This is a book that invites the reader to embrace change, welcome and value the diversity in humanity, enjoy many creative solutions instead of the one prescribed answer. Most of all Slater invites us to realize our potential as humans, not as the dominating species but a species connected to everything else.

If you care about the state the world is in today and wonder what we leave our children with, I wholeheartedly recommend reading this book. A true source of inspiration, inspiration to join the flow of the new emerging culture.
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on May 22, 2009
great book. incredibly readable. will give you a bunch of aha moments and ephifanies about how and why the world is changing. most books are lucky if they have one or two orginal ideas--this book is packed with them--Mr.Slater is great at connecting things you think of as unconnected in a way that makes the connections seem perfectly obvious after he has made them.
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on July 5, 2013
Philip Slater writes about our society in a way that is eye-opening and, in my opinion, inspiring. What a great scholar, writer, and professor.
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on August 1, 2009
If the constant scrabbling of the modern world is confusing to you, read this book. It provides a perspective that is astoundingly clarifying. Without disrespect to any point of view, it assembles all the seemingly conflicting moving parts of our era into a comprehensible, beautiful, and hopeful vision of where we are as a species. Suddenly I am seeing the entire human enterprise through a new lens, my faith in both the divine and the human is strengthened, broadened, and deepened, and some deep worries have been relaxed. I'm recommending it to everyone I know, am reexamining my attitudes towards life, and am hoping that this book is read and re-read across academia, government, and by all the arts.
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on September 4, 2009
I picked up this book because I had read Slater's "In Pursuit of Loneliness". It took me a little while to get into the book, but I'm glad I kept reading. Eventually I gleaned several new insights, new ideas and new ways of looking at things.

Some areas are: Process, Collaboration, Persistence. I found answers to many questions I had been asking about our current world and national situation.

No one book can answer all your questions nor be the final word on a complex world, but I found this book helpful and valuable.
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