Copthorne Macdonald's latest book...presents key facts and perspectives drawn from many branches of knowledge, and the author has organized these into a mosaic of ideas that addresses our deepest concerns. Among these concerns are primal ones such as our place in the cosmos, personal ones such as crafting a wise, significant, and deeply satisfying life, and societal ones such as sustainability and economic justice. An underlying assumption in the book is that clarity about our present reality leads to a realistic vision of a world that works for everyone. And the book presents a variety of techniques and strategies for getting there. Although the book reflects the views of its author, Matters of Consequence is not a personal opinion piece. The book cites more than 300 works and has more than 500 endnote annotations. Its Bibliography lists those works and its Index is comprehensive. The book also has three appendices which introduce the reader to a variety of print, Internet, and organizational resources in support of personal efforts to develop deep understanding and live toward the vision. Advance reaction to Matters of Consequence has been positive. In his foreword to the book, Paul H. Ray (coauthor of The Cultural Creatives) said, "As a college student I kept asking these big questions, going to whole libraries of books in search of answers…Now, finally after four decades here's the book I was looking for as a student." Allan Combs (author of The Radiance of Being) said of it, "Never has a single book brought together such a rich trove of facts, resources, and wisdom." Vicki Robin (coauthor of Your Money or Your Life) remarked, "This book is brilliant yet accessible, terse yet so deeply considered that each paragraph opens worlds." Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard (author of Conscious Evolution) called Matters of Consciousness "a master work in applying evolutionary understanding to the critical problems of our time."
There are many paths to personal growth and development and many books designed to help you find that path.... [This book] cuts another path to increased self-knowledge. The book's underlying assumption is: "If we come to understand the interior and exterior aspects of the human situation - deeply, comprehensively, clearly - then what needs to be done, both in our personal lives and the world around us, becomes clear." It takes a broad intellectual voyage into "personal concerns such as living a creative and significant life, and societal ones such as sustainability and economic justice." . . . the journey - it is said - is half the fun. And half the challenge.
In his new book, Matters of Consequence, author Copthorne Macdonald extends this invitation to the reader: "Have you heard the quiet pleading of future generations to leave them a world worth inhabiting? Action is needed, but in today's ultracomplex world, the only action that has a chance of succeeding is action guided by a deep understanding of the human situation and a broadly compassionate heart. In the pages to come, join me in exploring the human reality, the deep-understanding approach, and where all that might lead us."... His theme: "The better we understand what is really going on-intuitively and rationally-the better we can guide our own lives and the more we can benefit our world." In his book, Macdonald covers a huge range of subjects to help us gain the new worldview he believes the future demands. In the author's own words, his book presents "the amazing picture of where we are today-as a universe and a species-and where we are heading....Part I discusses the nature of physical and mental reality and the question of cosmic purpose. Part II focuses on three close-to-home realities: the sociocultural, the economic, and the biospheric. Part III looks at our inner lives: self-knowledge, freedom, responsibility, identity, developing ethical sensibility, and creating a life characterized by meaning, purpose, and significance." In Part IV Macdonald deals with the future and answers the question, "Where must we go from here?" His hope and vision for a world in the year 2050 "is characterized by economic equity, physical sustainability, vibrant local cultures, an electronically facilitated world culture, and sufficient time in people's lives to pursue a full, rich life of the mind." We now know enough, he maintains, that this vision is not a naïve one, but one achievable if we work toward it. To produce a book of this scope, Macdonald has obviously read widely-the bibliography lists some 300 books and articles he used as source material. Throughout, he presents the ideas, views, and theories of key people, adds background and relevant facts, and offers interpretations of his own that he believes fit best with how things really are.
Matters Of Consequence: Creating A Meaningful Life And A World That Works by Copthorne Macdonald is a kind of intellectual "self-help" guide to achieving a better understanding and control of personal reality. From the arts of predicting and influencing the future; to learning to better understand human mentality; to the complexities of the question of cosmic purpose, and more, Matters Of Consequence is a thoughtful, holistic, far-reaching, "reader friendly" guide to framing self awareness amid the bulwark of personal responsibility. Densely informative, Matters Of Consequence is also available in a hard cover edition and would make an excellent addition to any personal or community library Philosophy or Human Ecology collection.
Between these two covers is a model of responsible inquiry into many of the big questions that we really need to encounter, whether as youths or adults, not only for our personal benefit, but for the good of our civilization. At the level of our own personal inquiry, this is a tasty, chewy, energy-bar book designed to accelerate good thinking in new ways, not one of those castor oil books that some desiccated scholar would insist we need 'for our own good.' But we also need this one the way we need a compass as we step into an unknown land.... Most importantly for this book, we can see that it points us toward bringing a better quality of awareness to redesigning our world so that it works for all of us. At the end of the day, the most important matter of consequence is our pressing need to make history ourselves. It means changing our civilization ourselves rather than taking it as given. First, we must envision a world worth inhabiting, and then we must work to create it. We sometimes hear the term transformation bandied about as if it were a magic talisman, but in fact, all it means is structural change. Personal transformation is the hard work of changing the structure of our awareness, and social transformation is the even harder work of changing the structure of our society.
Canadian futurist urges an understanding of "big picture reality," humanity's contextual reality, personal reality, and alternative futures, and sketches a "Year 2050 Vision" of physical sustainability, universal provisioning, economic/political stability, and thriving civic culture.... Macdonald advocates development of deep understanding, a variety of wisdom in which we integrate broadly-based contextual knowledge with self-knowledge. Each of the 15 chapters, divided in four parts, is considered a Matter of Consequence: 1) Big Picture Reality: the nature of primal reality, the development of complexity, understanding human mentality, the question of cosmic purpose; 2) Humanity's Contextual Reality: sociocultural context, economic context, biospheric context; 3) Personal Reality: self-knowledge, freedom and responsibility, developing deep understanding, significant doing; 4) The Future: predicting the future, creating the future, the 2050 vision, and doing what needs to be done. The Year 2050 Vision, inspired by the perennial philosophy, Spinoza, Ken Wilber, Ervin Laszlo, Bucky Fuller, and others, describes a gradual transition from the 20C high-consumption world to a sustainable, economically functional, and politically stable world in which everyone has an adequate standard of living: 1) Physical Sustainability: meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (a May 2003 Google check of the Web located 2,150,000 web pages with the word sustainability, up from 763,000 in May 2001; "clearly, something massive is happening"); 2) Universal Provisioning and Economic Stability: the economy redesigned to provision the human population, rather than make a lot of money for a few people; energy needs are largely met by captured solar energy; 3) Work and Leisure: every able person is expected to spend a certain amount of time in socially relevant activity, and the essential work of society gets done; 4) Political Stability: attending to everyone's basic needs has greatly enhanced political stability; 5) Community and Civic Culture: most people are involved with their local community and a geography-irrelevant community of common interests, and honor both local and world culture; 6) Inner Development and Transformation: academic learning, skill development, ethical development, spiritual maturation, and development of creativity are considered aspects of a comprehensive process.... A very readable integration of many futures-thinkers, with an appendix of relevant groups and resources.