Resources for Developing the Intellectual-Knowledge Aspect of Deep Understanding

The development of self-knowledge and intuition that results from inner exploration is one foundation of deep understanding. (See the self-knowledge resource list at The intellectual knowledge needed to understand the human and cosmic situation is the other. On the intellectual-knowledge resource list below I have selected a few books, articles, and other resources which communicate their messages particularly well and represent good starting points for further exploration. Internet links are included for those articles and books that were available online at the time of writing.

Some of the books I refer to are no longer available from their original publishers. If a title is not available at your library or through your local or online bookstore, you might want to contact an online used book dealer. Try, for instance, Advanced Book Exchange:, or Bibliofind (now associated with

Physical/Biological Reality and Evolution

Fritjof Capra

The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York: Doubleday. 1996.

Ervin Laszlo

The Systems View of the World. New York: George Braziller. 1972.

Introduction to Systems Philosophy: Toward a New Paradigm of Contemporary Thought. New York: Gordon and Breach. 1972.

Evolution, the Grand Synthesis. Boston: Shambhala Publications. 1987.

Sidney Liebes, Elisabet Sahtouris, and Brian Swimme

A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us, The Evolution of Life on Earth. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1998.

Copthorne Macdonald

"An Energy/Awareness/Information Interpretation of Physical and Mental Reality." Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, vol. 29, no. 2 (June 1994), pp. 135-151. 1994. 

Philip Morrison et al.

Powers of Ten: About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe. New York: Scientific American Library. 1982.
This issue is dealt with extensively at:

John Stewart

Evolution’s Arrow: The direction of evolution and the future of humanity.  Canberra: The Chapman Press. 2000.

Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry

The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. 1992.

Myron Tribus and Edward C. McIrvine

"Energy and Information." Scientific American, September 1971, pp. 179-188.

Steven Weinberg

The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe. New York: Basic Books. 1988.

Internet Resources Related to Systems:

“A Taste of Systemics” by Bela Benathy is an excellent introduction to the system perspective.

ISSS — International Society for the Systems Science is a rich source of information about systems. Check especially The Primer Project and its Wholeness Seminar.

Mental Reality — Brain and Mind

Bernard J. Baars

In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workplace of the Mind. New York: Oxford University Press. 1997.

Allan Combs

The Radiance of Being: Complexity, Chaos and the Evolution of Consciousness. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House. 1996.

Gerald M. Edelman

Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter-of-Consequence of the Mind. New York: Basic Books. 1992.

R. Jackendoff

Consciousness and the Computational Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 1990.

Copthorne Macdonald

"An Energy/Awareness/Information Interpretation of Physical and Mental Reality." Zygon, vol. 29, no. 2 (June 1994), pp. 135-151. 

"Implications of a Fundamental Consciousness." Paper presented 1 May 1998 at the Tucson 3 Toward a Science of Consciousness 98 conference, Tucson, AZ. 

Social/Cultural Systems and their Evolution

Ruth Benedict

Patterns of Culture. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press. 1934.

Richard Brodie

Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme. Seattle, WA: Integral Press. 1996.

Duane Elgin

Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness. New York: William Morrow. 1993. 

Global Consciousness Change: Indicators of an Emerging Paradigm. San Anselmo, CA: Millennium Project. 1997.

William E. Halal

"World 2000: An International Planning Dialogue to Help Shape the New Global System," FUTURES: The Journal of Forecasting and Planning, January-February 1993.
Article available on line.Check: 

Cliff Havener

MEANING. Edina, MN: Beavers Pond Press. 1999.
Some chapters and related articles on line. Check: 

Jane Jacobs

The Nature of Economies. New York: Modern Library. 2000.

Michael Lerner

The Politics of Meaning: Restoring Hope and Possibility in an Age of Cynicism. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. 1997.

Robert Ornstein and Paul Erlich

New World New Mind: A Brilliantly Original Guide to Changing the Way We Think About the Future. New York: Touchstone. 1990.

Paul H. Ray

The Integral Culture Survey: A Study of the Emergence of Transformational Values in America. Sausalito, CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences. 1996.

and Sherry Ruth Anderson. The Cultural Creatives.  New York: Harmony Books.  2000.  

Ken Wilber

The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion. New York: Random House. 1998.

A Brief History of Everything. Boston: Shambhala Publications. 1996.

Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution. Boston: Shambhala Publications. 1995.


Sustainability and Economic Transformation

Lester R. Brown, et al.

State of the World 2002: A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society. New York: W.W. Norton. 2002. (A new edition is published each year.)

Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb, Jr.

For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, 2nd. Ed. Boston: Beacon Press. 1994.

Duane Elgin

Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness. New York: William Morrow. 1993

Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich. New York: William Morrow and Company. 1981.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Operating Manual for Spaceship EARTH. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. 1969.

Paul Hawken

Hawken, Paul, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Boston: Little Brown & Company. 1999.

The Ecology of Commerce. New York: HarperBusiness. 1993

"The Next Reformation." IN CONTEXT, #41, Summer 1995.

Hazel Henderson

Building a Win-Win World: Life Beyond Global Economic Warfare. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 1996.

Find many interviews and articles at her web site:

David C. Korten

The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler and West Hartford: Kumarian Press. 1999.

Ervin Laszlo

Macroshift: Navigating the Transformation to a Sustainable World. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.  2001.

Peter Schwarz

The Art of the Long View. New York: Doubleday. 1991.


Internet Resources: The World Problematique and Innovative Solutions

The Brussels-based Union of International Associations presents analyses and creative ideas from thousands of intergovernmental and tens of thousands of nongovernmental organizations in its hyperlinked online databases. Particularly relevant to our intellectual exploration of the world problematique are their free "world problems/issues" and "strategies/actions" databases:

Anthony Judge is the person behind the UIA databases mentioned above and the paper-and-ink Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential which preceded it. He is a prolific writer on global issues, and more than 700 of his articles are available at his web site:

Heiner Benking is another Europe-based force for change who has been active as a dialog facilitator, author on transformational issues, and inventor of new ways to visualize complex situations. His materials are dispersed among many Web sites, but a good starting point is:

The Center for Visionary Leadership seeks "to develop and support values-based visionary leadership in all fields of human endeavor" by "developing a new political process that goes beyond left and right and finds common ground on divisive issues." Of particular interest is their extensive collection of Best Practices — innovative solutions to social problems — at:

Best Practices Database "is a joint product of UN-HABITAT and The Together Foundation" that "contains over 1600 proven solutions from more than 140 countries to the common social, economic, and environmental problems of an urbanizing world. It demonstrates the practical ways in which public, private and civil society sectors are working to improve governance, eradicate poverty, provide access to shelter, land and basic services, protect the environment and support economic development." Project summaries can be viewed at no cost; full details require a paid subscription.

International Crisis Group is "an independent, non-profit, multinational organisation, with over 80 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict…. ICG's approach is grounded in field research. Teams of political analysts are located within or close by countries at risk of outbreak, escalation or recurrence of violent conflict. Based on information and assessments from the field, ICG produces regular analytical reports containing practical recommendations targeted at key international decision-takers." ICG is jointly funded by a large group of foundations, individuals, and national governments, and its reports provide a detailed look at crisis situations from a solution-oriented perspective.

Matters of Consequence home page

The Wisdom Page          Cop Macdonald's Home Page