Visionary architect Paolo Soleri challenges us to think of cities as biological entities with his concept of the arcology—a massive, self-sustaining, urban “organism of a thousand minds” designed to exist in harmony with nature. He proposes that the purpose of life is aesthetogenesis: the universe progressively complexifying itself into compassionate, beautiful structures. Soleri showcases 30 potential arcologies through incredibly detailed diagrams, explaining how each integrates itself economically and ecologically into the world and fulfills his aesthetogenic criteria. The scope of his vision ranges from cities designed to span canyons or float on the oceans to cube-shaped metropolises suspended on pillars, and even a space habitat. While comprehensive, Soleri's focus lies primarily on realizing arcologies that meet humanity's moral imperative for sustainable urban living.
Alan Watts examines the theme that our normal sense of the person as a lonely island of consciousness is a dramatic illusion based on theological imagery. In a global context, the meaning of this imagery inevitably changes, yet without losing its unique values.
Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown
Over the course of nineteen essays, Alan Watts ruminates on the philosophy of nature, ecology, aesthetics, religion, and metaphysics. Assembled in the form of a mountain journal, written during a retreat in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais in California, Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown is Watts’ meditation on the art of feeling out and following the watercourse way of nature, known in Chinese as the Tao. Embracing a form of contemplative meditation that allows us to stop analyzing our experiences and start living into them, the book explores themes such as the natural world, established religion, race relations, karma and reincarnation, astrology and tantric yoga, the nature of ecstasy, and much more.
Presented at the 2015 International Forum on Consciousness, Barbara explored the ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and the possibilty of humanity gradually giving birth to a new planetary-scale consciousness, which she called Homo universalis.
Conversations with Paolo Soleri
Paolo Soleri's architectural-philosophical thinking sets forth fundamental reformulations to address the globalizing world's most urgent environmental, urban infrastructural, and socio-ethical problems. In this book, Soleri's most recent ideas are distilled into an accessible overview for the general reader. Soleri proposes to transform our societal systems while raising sights to a radically long-term and humanistic perspective. Among the interrelated concepts outlined here are Soleri's highly original ideas of orchid and forest, the city as hyper-organism, the urban effect, and the love project. These inspiring ideas are acutely timely in light of current environmental trends: responding to global climate change, radically reducing oil dependence, embracing frugality and reduced consumption, while simultaneously confronting issues of suburban sprawl, urban renewal, smart land use, and wise food production.
Alan takes us from the very small to the very large, explaining the interrelatedness of all things in the universe as a vast network which weaves us into a united yet unnamable divinity.
When Alan Watts talked about the ‘mystical experience’ among scientific circles, he preferred to call it ‘ecological awareness’—referring to a state of mind in which a person ceases to feel separate from the environment in which he or she exists.
Evolution and Consciousness
Evolution and Consciousness is one of the first, still rare, truly transdisciplinary books: it deals with a totality, not a sector of it. Therefore, it defies any disciplinary labeling. It is a scientific book, yet also deals with topics until now reserved for books of mysticism and poetry. It bridges the gap between science and other forms of knowledge. It deals not just with scientific questions, but with existential questions which concern all mankind, such as the meaning of life and the evolutionary significance of human design and action. It challenges the whole dominant Western world view: process thinking instead of structural thinking, dynamic instead of static, evolution instead of permanency.
Glimpsing the Global Brain
Complex systems theorist Heylighen and evolutionary biologist Wilson discuss a possible phase transition of humanity in which the members of our species become neurons in a planetary brain, utilizing the Internet as a shared exocortex.
Hallucinogens: Before and After Psychology
Presented at the Psychedelic Conference II at the University of California.
In the Valley of Novelty
Journeying through multiple dimensions of psychedelic consciousness, Terence McKenna's visionary weekend workshop invites us on an entheogenic voyage to the frontiers of the mind and its imminent conquering of matter. Blending scientific insights with shamanic wisdom, McKenna argues that natural plant medicines like psilocybin and DMT provide portals into mystical realms and alien dimensions, catalyzing revelations about nature, reality, and the human psyche. He urges us to courageously explore these consciousness-expanding substances, seeking the gratuitous beauty and truths they unveil. For McKenna, the psychedelic experience holds secrets to our world and ourselves—if only we dare lift the veil.
Man Thinks God Knows, God Knows Man Thinks
In this visionary book, Gregory Stock gives us a new way of understanding our world and our future. He develops the provocative thesis that human society has become an immense living being: a global superorganism in which we humans, knitted together by our modern technology and communication, are like the cells in an animal's body. Drawing on impressive research, Stock shows this newly formed superorganism to be more than metaphor: it is an actual living creature, which he has named Metaman, meaning beyond and transcending humans.
Mind and Nature
Renowned for his contributions to anthropology, biology, and the social sciences, Bateson asserts that man must think as Nature does to live in harmony on the earth and, citing examples from the natural world, he maintains that biological evolution is a mental process.
Permitting Smart People to Hope
Delivered at Esalen in California, McKenna traipses through a mélange of scientific and technological folderol—the detection of the top quark, swift progress on sequencing the human genome, newfangled theories about the origin of the moon, quantum bafflements like non-locality, the proliferation of the interwebs and information technology, speculations on the nature of time from that Prigogine fellow, and sundry other bamboozlements. He elucidates how these breakthroughs in diverse fields might converge to profoundly transform human civilization, culture, and consciousness in the imminent future.
Power of Space
Weaving connections between Eastern thought and modern science, Alan Watts explores the wonder of space. For him, space is no mere emptiness but a cosmic tapestry integral to existence. He draws parallels between space and the Buddhist void, seeing both as the interwoven ground of being that allows consciousness to emerge.
Reality, Art, and Illusion
Join Alan as he expresses the meaning of life through the Hindu-Buddhist idea of reality as a divine game of hide-and-seek. "Life is not ultimately serious," Watts argues. By embracing the fluidity of identity and recognizing our interconnectedness, we can creatively engage with existence as impermanent, unified, and filled with playful potential. Accessible yet philosophically rich, these decades-old lectures offer timeless insights on the nature of reality.
Robots, Men, and Minds
Based on lectures delivered as The Inaugural Lectures in The Heinz Werner Lecture Series at Clark University (Worcester, Mass.) in January 1966, the book introduces new conceptions of humans and their world. After discussing the advantages and drawbacks of humanity's propensity for the symbolic construction of reality, it focuses on the systems approach to an understanding of the species. The author warns against the common error of identifying cybernetics with general systems theory. No matter how complex the cybernetic system, it "can always be resolved into feedback circuits" and thought of in terms of "linear causality." The regulative behavior of general systems is determined by goal-directed, dynamic interaction between many forces and variables in an open system. Bertalanffy points out that "no comprehensive theory of systems exists today." As a model, however, the approach has many advantages, such as obviating the need for the "ghost in the machine" and suggesting some solutions to the mind-body problem.
Shamanism, Alchemy, and the Millennium
Simulation, Consciousness, Existence
Like organisms evolved in gentle tide pools, who migrate to freezing oceans or steaming jungles by developing metabolisms, mechanisms, and behaviors workable in those harsher and vaster environments, our descendants, able to change their representations at will, may develop means to venture far from the comfortable realms we consider reality into arbitrarily strange worlds. Their techniques will be as meaningless to us as bicycles are to fish, but perhaps we can stretch our common-sense-hobbled imaginations enough to peer a short distance into this odd territory.
The Biosphere and the Noösphere
A general intellectual outlook of one of the most remarkable scientific leaders of the early twentieth century, focusing on a predicted historical and planetary phase transition in which humanity becomes a united force. Published in American Scientist Vol. 33, No. 1.
At the root of human conflict is our fundamental misunderstanding of who we are. The illusion that we are isolated beings, unconnected to the rest of the universe, has led us to view the “outside” world with hostility, and has fueled our misuse of technology and our violent and hostile subjugation of the natural world. In The Book, philosopher Alan Watts provides us with a much-needed answer to the problem of personal identity, distilling and adapting the ancient Hindu philosophy of Vedanta to help us understand that the self is in fact the root and ground of the universe. In this mind-opening and revelatory work, Watts has crafted a primer on what it means to be human—and a manual of initiation into the central mystery of existence.
The Bridge Between Matter And Spirit is Matter Becoming Spirit
This volume brings together the essays of Paolo Soleri in which he sets forth his philosophy of arcology (architecture ecology) and pleads for a new stage in the evolution of human society—a move toward compactness, or miniaturization, of our cities. To do so we must build solids rather than veneers; we must flee from a “flat” cityscape that debilitates and suppresses the individual. Arcologies, three dimensional macrostructures, are for populations of thousands or of millions.
The Future of Humanity
In a lively 1992 trialogue, McKenna, Abraham, and biologist Rupert Sheldrake contemplate humanity's bumpy ride towards transcendence. McKenna unveils his theory of an impending "eschaton" when history will culminate in a boundary-erasing recovery of unity, fulfilling religious anticipation. However, approaching this "zero point" will be increasingly chaotic. Abraham and Sheldrake greet McKenna's vision with skepticism tinged with hope. Probing global crises, the trio spiritedly grapple with miraculous visions for transforming society, from psychedelic revival to empowering women. Their speculative voyage reveals turbulence ahead, yet yields glimmers of our journey's destination.
The Global Brain as a New Utopia
The global brain can be conceived most fundamentally as a higher level of evolution, the way humans form a higher level of organization that evolved out of the animals. Although the analogy between an organism and a society can be applied even to primitive societies, it becomes clearly more applicable as technology develops. As transport and communication become more efficient, different parts of global society become more interdependent. At the same time, the variety of ideas, specializations, and subcultures increases. This simultaneous integration and differentiation creates an increasingly coherent system, functioning at a much higher level of complexity.
The Global Superorganism
The organismic view of society is updated by incorporating concepts from cybernetics, evolutionary theory, and complex adaptive systems. Global society can be seen as an autopoietic network of self-producing components, and therefore as a living system or “superorganism”. Published in the Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems.
The Omega Point as Eschaton
Frank Tipler presents an outline of the Omega Point theory, which is a model for an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, evolving, personal God who is both transcendent to spacetime and immanent in it, and who exists necessarily. The model is a falsifiable physical theory, deriving its key concepts not from any religious tradition but from modern physical cosmology and computer science; from scientific materialism rather than revelation. Four testable predictions of the model are given. The theory assumes that thinking is a purely physical process of the brain, and that personality dies with the brain. Nevertheless, he shows that the Omega Point theory suggests a future universal resurrection of the dead very similar to the one predicted in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. The notions of “grace” and the “beatific vision” appear naturally in the model.
The Omega Seed
The Ωmega Seed brings together Paolo Soleri’s writings on eschatology, that branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of mankind. Soleri believes that the simulation of the divine will provide man with a blueprint for creation not only of our physical environment but also of a new stage in the evolution of mankind. His work is against the things of a materialistic society, toward a redesigning of the urban civilization of Earth.
The Plot Thickens, the Stakes Rise
The Psychedelic Experience
Alan says psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin can provide religious insight, but should be used with spiritual discipline to integrate the mystical experience into everyday life. He critiques psychiatry’s lack of metaphysical grounding and calls for medical and religious professionals to work together on psychedelics. Watts emphasizes psychedelics’ potential as a bridge between mystical and ordinary consciousness, while warning against spiritual inflation or romanticizing substances. Overall he presents a balanced perspective, exploring psychedelics as tools for self-knowledge that require wisdom in application.
The Psychedelic Explosion
Alan talks about the upcoming revolution in which Western society will have to come to grips with the existence of the psychedelic/mystical experience, and how to integrate it into our culture in a productive, fulfilling, and responsible manner. Included are personal recollections of DMT and LSD trips experienced by Watts himself, why the utilization of psychedelic drugs should be seen as a tool, his vision of a psychedelic campus for guided mystical experiences, and why prohibition is doomed to failure.
The Universe of Experience
Modern experience forces philosophy and social thought to confront the basic problems of value. Is this life worth caring about? How can we find a way between the deceit of fanatical belief and despair? In the view of Lancelot Law Whyte, the essential challenge to mankind today is an underlying nihilism promoting violence and frustrating sane policies on major social issues. Avoiding the seductive trap of utopianism, Whyte approaches this challenge by defining the terms of a potentially worldwide consensus of heart, mind, and will.
The Vision of a Better World
Two visionaries, Tom Munnecke and Barbara Marx Hubbard, engage in an uplifting dialogue exploring the emergence of human creativity and consciousness. They trace inspirations from mentors like Jonas Salk, who recognized futuristic possibilities in Hubbard, and Buckminster Fuller, who affirmed humanity's potential. Together they shine light on the crisis of our times as the birth pangs of a new civilization, calling us to connect with the creativity arising globally. Their exchange weaves threads of hope and positivity, envisioning a future where all people actualize their gifts in service of our world.
The World Wide Web and the Millennium
Seldom do we have an opportunity to test the accuracy of oracular predictions, but this fascinating conversation between two great thinkers has already proven to be right on target. Speculations include the future evolutionary development of the Internet, whether it is an embryonic intelligence, whether it will merge our minds into a planetary consciousness, or whether it is an alien brain waiting for humanity to cross an evolutionary threshold. Let the bard and the chaos theorist weave an exquisite cybernetic fantasy for you in this evening seminar.
This View of Life
It is widely understood that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won’t be truly complete until it is applied more broadly—to everything associated with the words “human,” “culture,” and “policy.” In a series of engaging and insightful examples—from the breeding of hens to the timing of cataract surgeries to the organization of an automobile plant—Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical tool kit for understanding not only genetic evolution but also the fast-paced changes that are having an impact on our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: If we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales—from the efficacy of our groups to our well-being as individuals to our stewardship of the planet Earth.