Global Mind Charter
The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it.
Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
If, as a book title once proclaimed, "The Golden Age Is In Us", then certainly it is to be found in the human mind and brain.
The Global Mind Charter calls on all people to improve the conditions supportive of the highest possible health and function of minds and brains. The highest potential of the mind and brain should be elevated to among our top concerns as a species.
The current reality of how we prioritize mind and brain development, however, appears to be the following:
- Human minds and brains are profoundly underdeveloped around the world in a systemic fashion.
- The extent and depth of this problem is poorly understood. Indeed, the problem appears to be nearly invisible, even though its effects are pervasive and profound.
- Current knowledge of mind/brain underdevelopment as well as optimal development is spread across disciplines, fragmented and incomplete. The knowledge and research we do have does not exist in comprehensive and integrated forms readily usable by policy makers, organizational administrators, systems designers, activists and engaged citizens.
- If such knowledge were readily available and backed by adequate initiatives, we could see an improvement of many lingering human problems and even witness a new Renaissance of human achievement.
Therefore, supporters of the Global Mind Charter call for a major and sustained global effort to improve minds and brains through the transformation of all relevant social systems.
A Small Sample of Areas of Brain/Mind Concern
- Sustained creativity training in K-12 and beyond is nowhere near universal adoption.
- Globally there are high levels of science illiteracy. High levels of ignorance, superstition, anti-science, pseudo-science and false beliefs appear to be typical.
- The project of ensuring literacy in the developing world is far from complete, and even in the developed world high levels of literacy are far from the norm.
- Around the globe brain damage and learning disabilities can be traced to forms of pollution like lead, microparticles, industrial and consumer chemicals, and pesticides.
- Countless children receive inadequate nourishment and thus experience brain damage and cognitive impairments.
- Researchers have recently warned of the impending epidemic of cognitive decline in the elderly.
- Educational systems globally, with few exceptions, have profoundly inadequate curricula relative to critical thinking and creativity.
- Commercial media and the distractions of the digital environment have inadequately understood consequences for deep reflection. Attention, focus and meta-cognition potentially face unprecedented threats.
- Mental health problems afflict a surprising number of people around the world and large numbers are not receiving treatment.
- Annual traumatic brain injury in the US takes a heavy toll , and we can safely assume elsewhere as well.
- Proven methods for reducing developmental disabilities are inadequately supported in developing countries.
Understanding the Opportunity Costs of Inaction
Abounding problems of mind and brain underdevelopment produce a range of direct social and individual costs. Great opportunity costs also obtain from our failure to pursue mental ideals, but these are rarely appreciated. Consider all the possibilities before us:
- Might the incidence of violence worldwide decrease if every child were trained in mindfulness meditation?
- If societies did a much better job of inculcating habits of rationality in children, mightn't we see a substantial decrease in prejudice?
- What breakthroughs in disease understanding and treatment are not being made because of inadequate education in the sciences?
- What great orchestral compositions, films and artistic visions are not being created because of underinvestment in imagination, play, creativity and visualization?
- How much human happiness is lost to mental illness?
Merely improving just one element of human performance across a population such as critical thinking or ending undernutrition could have profound ramifications throughout society.
When human problems are viewed from the perspective of the mind and brain a "transformation of the obvious" may be in store--we realize that the most proximate cause of nearly all human problems is how well our minds function. Perhaps only with a focus on the most proximate source of human action in the world--the performance of our minds and brains--might we be able to decisively address many urgent and lingering problems.
A Transformation of Values
The Global Mind Charter proposes nothing less than a social transformation, beginning with a transformation in values, which prioritizes the improvement of the human mind and brain. These values place at the center of human concern--political, economic, social--the nurturing of the mind and brain to the limits of their potential. A reorientation to these values allows us to project a vision of the human future in which social conditions produce as a regularity, and not as the exception (the reality which currently obtains), people functioning at high levels of psychological health; optimal brain health sustained over the lifespan; people capable of deep and rational reflection; people who are open, flexible and creative, can handle ambiguity and complexity, and much more.
To fulfill the promise of human potential and to break barriers of achievement in all fields, the 21st century must become the Century of the Mind. To make this a reality, we need a new substrate of values centering on the human mind and brain. These values include but are not limited to:
•The humanization of all social systems: making individuals ends and not means. •The elevation of human potential to a top social and political priority. •Widespread practical knowledge of a systems view of the mind and brain, which strives for theoretical and practical understanding commensurate with the complexities of the brain/mind interaction with the world. •Heightened future consciousness with regard to the human potential. •A commitment to excellence in all aspects of human mental potential.
In our collective work of creating more humane planetary futures we face limits to the effectiveness of our institutions and social systems. In many instances these limits will only be overcome by improving the capabilities of the human mind.
This will require arranging the social and technological ecologies and developmental structures of our minds in ways our cultures have just barely begun to consider.
We need a shared vision of the mind and its future!
Sustainable Minds and Brains
Our moral duty to future generations requires that we adopt systemic sustainable practices. Their prosperity and even survival depends on it.
However, it is also imperative that we consider the need for sustainable systems that support and generate higher functioning minds. Will future generations encounter minds that are highly creative yet grounded, rational and skeptical but not dogmatic, flexible, open and curious, healthy, mindful, capable of great compassion, and driven to acquire knowledge, and more? Or, will they encounter the kinds of minds and mental ecologies that virtually all of us have encountered and taken to be normal?
What kinds of minds do you want future generations to encounter?
I. ERADICATE MIND/BRAIN POVERTY
1. Eliminate illiteracy and lack of education as urgent global priorities
a. Support the social conditions necessary for the attainment of universal literacy.
b. Recognize that literacy is a precondition for self-ownership and autonomy, and the pre-cursor to the exercise of basic rights.
c. Realize that the achievement of basic literacy is only the first step, and that lower levels of literacy are problematic and must also be addressed.
2. Radically reduce ignorance of all types
a. Understand ignorance as an affront to human dignity and self-determination.
b. Increase understanding of the harms of ignorance to both individuals and societies. Understand ignorance as a primary force of social and political dysfunction. Work to reduce our ignorance of the phenomenon of ignorance on all aspects of human development.
c. Seek the creation of a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative picture of global human ignorance for use by all relevant stakeholders and citizens.
e. There should be baseline knowledge level that it would be scandalous to allow any substantial portion of the population to fall below if it were avoidable.
f. Combat dogmatic sectarian beliefs and ideologies that directly or indirectly perpetuate forms of ignorance.
3. Treat and reduce the incidence of mental illness, and eventually end it
a. Promote the compassionate understanding of those with mental illness and eliminate all abusive systems for their care.
b. Ensure sufficient resources to treat and guide to full flourishing those suffering from mental illness.
c. Elevate to legislative attention all significant economic and socio-political factors contributing to mental illness. Prioritize construction of social and economic policies that ensure optimal rates of high mental health.
d. Set as a social goal the completion of our knowledge about the correlates, causes and successful treatment of mental illness.
4. Eliminate poverty and reduce inequality to ensure fair psychological starting points in life
a. Eliminate hunger both as an intrinsic good, and also to reduce developmental disabilities in children.
b. Eliminate child abuse and neglect, which is much more likely in conditions of poverty.
6. Eliminate poor reasoning skills
a. Prioritize in education the reduction of bias and irrationality. Ensure that all secondary school graduates have mastery of critical thinking skills.
b. Radically expand appreciation for the profound effects of irrationality on society.
c. Provide adequate resources for the research and development of a rationality quotient (RQ).
d. Fully research all relevant questions regarding the developmental psychology of Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO). Universalize the use of psychological assessments for identifying the traits RWA and SDO in k-12 education, and mandate teacher training to reduce their frequency and severity. Advocate for social conditions to minimize the incidence of RWA and SDO.
e. Reduce and eliminate sectarian indoctrination of children.
7. Eliminate deficiencies in early childhood education
a. Ensure universal and gender equal enrollment in primary and secondary school.
b. Universalize high quality teacher training and instruction.
II. CHILDREN'S MINDS
1. All children have a right to the highest quality and maximally enriching education that society can offer
a. Every succeeding generation should be afforded more educational opportunities than previous ones.
b. Ensure that the developmental and performance outcomes in the most comprehensive sense continue to rise with each generation.
c. Educational discourse and planning should be suffused with ideal-seeking and building towards educational systems that are extraordinary exemplars of innovation, vision and effectiveness. We must consider the possibility that k-12 education might itself be in its youth when considered in a very long time frame of centuries and millennia. Therefore, a mindset prizing open horizons, exploration, experiment, wonder and optimism should guide us. There is much we haven't yet imagined.
d. Children's education should be appreciated as a primary crucible of social progress. The more optimistic we realistically want to be about our collective future, the more highly prioritized education should be.
2. Remove barriers to the full flourishing of children
a. Address with urgency any harmful early lifestyle environments that degrade developmental progress.
b. Since eating healthy food is correlated with behavioral, concentration and learning improvement, not to mention lifetime health outcomes, urgently prioritize a shift toward schools offering only the most healthy food for bodies and brains. Through all relevant interventions encourage student eating for optimal development.
c. Restrict or eliminate commercial advertising to children at least before age 8 and possibly beyond.
e. Children have the right to freedom from sectarian religious and rigid ideological indoctrination. Future social harmony, more effective democratic dialogue and governance, less dogmatism, anti-intellectualism and intolerance, and the lessening of social strife might be greatly enhanced with a substantial lessening of sectarian and nationalist group identities and defensiveness.
3. Children's mental environments should reflect our ideals of human development
a. Children should be exposed to philosophical inquiry from the earliest appropriate grade, continuing through secondary school. Philosophical inquiry should be seen as a child's fundamental right. Resistance to children engaging in critical inquiry with regard to values, authority and basic questions of existence should itself be strongly resisted.
b. Reverse the pervasive suppression and neglect of curiosity and creativity, and usher in a radical expansion of creativity-enhancement efforts in primary and secondary schools.
d. Liberal learning environments should replace authoritarian ones in all spheres.
e. Children's learning environments should as much as possible replicate ideal models of democratic citizenship: open discourse and participation, guided by reason, informed by science, and inspired by images of a better world.
f. Normalize meditation for children within schools, as meditation is proving to be beneficial in promoting mindfulness, creativity, lower stress levels, improved self-confidence, optimal learning psychology, and more.
f. Substantially expand resources devoted to supporting both gifted students and prodigies. Dare to imagine that we can evolve social systems that produce gifted students as a common occurrence.
g. In order to counteract superficiality and cultivate practices of expertise, ensure all students are familiar with deep learning.
h. Ensure greater social latitude for play while resisting the encroachments of passive entertainment.
i. Imaging and visualization can be important if not essential aspects of the imagination and the creative process, and should be cultivated in schools.
III. THE CORE OF EDUCATION
1. Human flourishing
a. Primary and secondary curricula should resist subservience to utilitarian commercial interests, and should instead promote humanistic ends.
b. Since education is undermined in contexts of war, violence and poverty, we should see to eliminate these scourges.
c. Human flourishing is increasingly dependent on limiting or even reversing the effects of human activity on ecosystems. Therefore, in order to ensure the attainment of maximum potential in young people we must also work toward a comprehensively sustainable economic system.
d. Envision and work toward an integrative educational system that has as its goal of cultivation of all superlative qualities of the human personality.
e. Liberal education environments should be preferred to authoritarian ones.
f. Education should never be based on sectarian indoctrination, but instead should expose children to all faith and secular ethical traditions in a fair-minded and critically inquiring way.
2. We may be able to end the worst problems of human life through education
a. Preventing or lessening the incidence of genocide can potentially be achieved through educational interventions, elements of which may include a rigorous critical thinking curricula as well as weakening authoritarian educational and religious structures, among other things.
b. The frequency and severity of war and violence can potentially be lessened and eventually eliminated through a variety of means if we insist on a curriculum centering on social justice and peace practices as well as meditation.
c. The cement of prejudice and intolerance can be cracked with philosophical literacy and a comprehensive critical thinking curriculum.
d. Extraordinary efforts should be made to provide the highest quality education and extracurricular opportunities for children living in conditions of poverty.
e. Advance education away from nationalist parochialisms and toward post-national, post-ethnic planetary humanism, while resisting homogenizing effects of capitalist consumption. Recognize that human commonalities and interests far outweigh accidents of birth.
3. Critical thinking and creativity are gateways to better tomorrows
a. Understand that an achievable ideal critical thinking and creativity curriculum likely doesn't exist anywhere. Humanity is in its pedagogical adolescence.
b. Acknowledge that the values and skills associated with critical thinking (intellectual humility, confidence in reason, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual integrity, intellectual fairmindedness, and intellectual autonomy), and creativity, may run counter to local or cultural norms and thus need extraordinary support to ensure their expression without harmful resistance.
4. Advance a more complete suite of primary literacies and skills
a. Urgently implement ecological literacy programs worldwide at all levels as one solution to avert further ecological catastrophes, as well as prevent harm to systems that support minds and brains.
b. Advance philosophical literacy starting in the earliest possible grades.
c. Promote futures literacy, or the knowledge base, skills, values and awareness needed to orient more productively to the ever-emerging future. Ending our culture's often problematic bias for short term thinking may only be possible by future generations who have undergone sustained futures education.
d. Religious literacy should be freed from the twin limitations of indoctrination and simple surveys of faith traditions, and be replaced with comparative, scientific and critical approaches.
e. Promote from the earliest practical grades curricula that cultivate wisdom-related knowledge and judgment.
g. Systems thinking is vital for understanding the complexities of contemporary life and should underlie all relevant curricula.
h. Mindfulness meditation practice has broad benefits for well-being, psychology and learning, and should be adopted universally in education institutions.
6. The university is the nursery of the future
a. Reground the purpose of the university in the values of learning, curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge, and resist attempts to prioritize vocational pursuits and commercial restructuring of education.
b. Re-envision the university as the generator of evolutionary consciousness, for the purpose of guiding the evolution of humanity toward better futures.
c. Universities should be laboratories of ecological experimentation and learning, as well as models of ecological wisdom. Substantial environmental education should be required of all undergrads.
IV. OPTIMAL PSYCHOLOGICAL BEING
1. Advance models of psychological being reflecting the best research and the highest aspirations and possibilities of the species
a. Promote idealized models and images of psychological being that include but are not limited to postconventional/postformal personality, moral development and cognition.
b. Generate social conditions such that transpersonal capacities can be cultivated.
c. Normalize the concept and practice of psychological growth as a primary individual and social value.
d. Work to alter social systems such that an aliveness to wonder and awe can be more easily cultivated and sustained in all individuals.
e. Advance the practice of various forms of meditation such as insight, focused attention, and compassion, in order to enhance a wide range of human capacities.
e. Incorporate the perspective of ecopsychology into clinical practice as well as general public awareness. Seek to cultivate profound sensitivity to nature, other life forms and processes, and the cosmos.
2. Enable all institutions and social systems to work towards the development of the highest possible stages of psychological being
a. Support a massive worldwide push to generate adequate understanding of the causes, development and treatment of mental illness.
b. End once and for all the systems of belief that promote sexual guilt and shame. Embrace the possibilities of sexuality for greater comfort in our bodies, as a source of peak experience and transformation, as play. Support education for pleasure.
c. Promote perpetual critical and constructive resistance to received theory and practice in psychology in order to keep the door open to evolving understandings of the self.
d. Ensure adequate levels worldwide of mental health professionals.
e. Resist the shortchanging of human potential through short-sighted limitations on psychological treatment via systems of managed care, over-emphasized disease models, and the quick resort to pharmacological interventions.
f. Acknowledge and correct the sometimes harmful consequences of social and economic systems and seek to transform such systems to better reflect optimal conditions for human flourishing.
g. Set as an urgent socioeconomic goal the alleviation and eventual elimination of work and social conditions generally that deaden, demean, desensitize, and depress.
V. OPTIMAL BRAIN HEALTH
1. Preventing the causes of brain damage, dysfunction and disease can prevent harm on an enormous scale
a. Eliminate polluted and harmful environmental conditions that directly or indirectly affect the health of the brain. Where these costs might be temporarily prohibitive, provide adequate individual countermeasures.
b. Increase awareness and prevention of causes of traumatic brain injury like unsafe vehicles and various sports activities.
c. Through appropriate legislation minimize to the greatest extent possible dangerous working conditions that threaten brain health through blunt force trauma and environmental exposure to chemicals.
e. Sufficiently fund all research needs relative to understanding and treating brain damage, dysfunction and disease.
f. Fully research and understand the public's cognitive and neurological vulnerability to environmental toxins and pollution. Pursue policies that prioritize neuronal and brain health over corporate profit.
g. Require stronger regulatory oversight of all substances that might conceivably be developmentally or otherwise neurotoxic.
2. Ensure adequate support of all individuals dealing with brain problems
a. Provide adequate resources to comprehensively treat and improve the lives of those living with brain injury, dysfunction and disease, ensuring that they have access to employment, education, social opportunities, and public facilities.
b. Comprehensively improve public policies with regard to brain tumors: adequately fund scientific research and medical trials, including avenues that might be more speculative; make treatments more affordable and accessible for all; absolutely ensure timely access to test results and patient status reports.
c. Re-orient clinical medical practice to include emphasis on the consequences for the mind and brain of disease states.
3. Work toward a future in which all relevant social systems are advancing brain health as a priority
a. Set as an urgent research goal the medical ability to restore to full functioning those who have suffered degradation or damage to their brains.
b. Incorporate into urban and architectural planning opportunities for physical exercise.
c. Improve public understanding of the effects of stress on brain health. Make all organizations and social processes 'stress-aware' with the goal of reducing its harmful effects on the brain.
d. Urgently increase public understanding of diet and lifestyle on brain health.
e. Fully screen and treat high blood pressure worldwide.
f. Encourage widespread adoption of meditation practice.
h. Move rapidly to ensure that no individual globally suffers from nutritional deficiency.
VI. KNOWLEDGE and INFORMATION
1. How we treat knowledge and information reflects our seriousness about improving the human condition
a. Strive to close the gap in all areas of life between current practice and the best available knowledge. Better theorize and implement learning and knowledge transmission systems in all contexts.
b. Ensure maximal access to knowledge and information for all people. Barriers to access should be viewed as a form of social dysfunction and should be resisted.
c. Legislation and policy should be based on the best current knowledge and understanding, not ideological selective evidence-picking or suppression of disagreeable views.
d. Efforts should be made to identify and eventually make easily accessible the great majority of information and knowledge current categorized secret, classified, censored, commercialized, catalogued into obscurity, or facing threat of disappearance like historical documents.
e. Provide sufficient resources to devise media for the extreme long-term preservation of information, and also to preserve that information.
VII. EXPANSION OF THE HUMAN PERSONALITY
1. Open the human personality into vital engagement with the world
a. Cultivate curiosity across the life span. Maintaining a panoramic curiosity from the earliest ages may be one of the best ways to ensure a rich life.
b. Expand appreciation for improvisation, spontaneity and experimentation, which enable discovery across various domains of human life, keep open channels of growth, and expand appreciation for novelty and chance.
c. Support efforts to build a creative civilization in which creative practice, creative freedom, the values of creativity, and their supportive contexts, are optimized. Evolve moral understanding to see that stunting of creativity in almost any setting--the workplace, the family, religious institutions, education--is a violation of human dignity, and is likely a sign of broader affronts to human capability and self-worth.
d. Imagination and play should be encouraged from the youngest ages and should not be limited to children.
2. Cultivate the richest possible skills of critical reflection and response to the world
a. Anti-intellectualism is pervasive, and its eradication across society must become a major priority. A society in which thinking and self-reflection are given space is preferable to one in which traditionalist prejudice, conformism, conventionalism, religious authority, and status quo-ism are dominant.
b. Critical thinking can and should be substantially improved everywhere in order to counter prejudice and credulity, create capacity for resistance to unaccountable power and authority, and open space for new engagements and ideas.
c. Promote understanding that self-ownership and self-direction in the fullest sense are only possible when proficient critical thinking is employed. Critical thinking is integral to the understanding of self and self-potential.
d. Recognize that rational thought is a foundation of democratic dialogue and the bedrock upon which constructive futures may be built.
3. Welcome the exploration non-conventional states of consciousness, for they allow greater understanding of the human and our potential for change, as well as facilitating psychological development
a. Encourage informed use of psychedelics for those seeking growth opportunities.
b. Encourage the widest possible adoption of meditational practices including but not limited to insight, focused attention and compassion meditation.
c. Encourage experimentation by individuals in altered states of consciousness.
d. Adequately support research into psychedelics and altered states of consciousness.
VIII. CIVIL RIGHTS OF MIND
1. Ensure that every individual enjoys the right to his or her privacy and autonomy of mind
a. Resist the impulse to normalize technology that can be used to invade the privacy of one's mind.
b. Work to radically reduce the prevalence and invasiveness of commercial advertising, especially in children's lives.
c. Protect the right to explore altered states of consciousness through whatever means.
d. Protect the right to psychoactive and technological enhancements of the mind.
2. Establish the universal right of individuals to acquire the information, knowledge, skills and tools to maximize their potential
a. Ensure all students possess knowledge of brain health relative to lifestyle and environmental factors in order to ensure a long and healthy life.
b. Fully research the science of optimal learning, incorporate this knowledge into all instructional design, and universalize awareness of its principles.
c. Promote awareness of the threats to attention and self-regulation, as well as skills that can maintain and enhance these capacities.
d. Cultivate widespread understanding, especially in young people, of how to develop expertise. Consider universal adoption of programs to cultivate expertise starting from the earliest grades.
e. Work toward a future in which every student is aware of what creativity is, how to cultivate it, and has ongoing opportunities for creative cognition.
f. Ensure all secondary school graduates emerge with mastery of a rich toolbox of reasoning skills.
g. Protect and expand the right to education as far as one's abilities permit, while radically reducing costs to students.
h. Ensure access to the internet as a human right.
i. Remove all barriers to people with disabilities to pursue education and learning.
3. Guarantee the right to free expression, conscience and dissent
a. Ensure that all educational settings promote values of free inquiry.
b. Strengthen civil society discourse by cultivating rational, open and respectful practices of dialogue.
c. Encourage greater openness and room for dissent within religious communities of all types.
d. All societies should adopt a principle of maximal freedom from censorship, regardless of alleged cultural values, which can often serve as opportunistic masks of power, and which pretend to a uniformity of belief and practice that rarely exists.
e. Substantially strengthen worldwide the commitment to press freedom.
4. No person, regardless of age, should ever be subjected to conditions of sectarian, cultic, nationalist, or ethno-cultural brainwashing
a. Liberal learning environments are to be preferred to authoritarian ones in all settings--educational, familial, and public and private.
b. Freedom of conscience, and the right to dissent and challenge cultural, ethnic, religious and national authority, should be strongly supported.
c. The right to access information that contradicts authority or official pronouncement should receive special protection.
5. Knowledge production should be strongly supported on all fronts, and maximally free from corrupting and limiting influences
a. Scientific research should be open and free from the limiting influence of dogmatic ideologies and religious sectarianism, as well as the distortions of commercial interests.
b. Private interests should be prevented by law from hiding academic research behind walls of exorbitant fees, especially when taxpayers subsidize such research.
c. Significant research in all fields, and especially speculative, exploratory and 'what if?' research, should be viewed as vital to humanity and adequately funded. Emphasis should be on the side of risk-taking and avoiding the opportunity costs of avenues of research not explored.
IX. ECOLOGIES OF MIND
1. Advocate for liberal learning environments over authoritarian ones.
2. Social designers and policy makers should advocate for comprehensive system changes to maximize the frequency in society of high-level creative and other achievement.
3. Accelerate research on ecological rationality, or the number of ways in which environments can be designed to make us smarter.
4. Organizations of all types, as well as informational environments like the media, should adopt values and practices in order to reduce stultifying conformity, groupthink, bias and polarization, and allow for challenges to authority. Dissent should be seen as a public good.
5. Demand a radical increase in the overall intelligence and critical rigor of news media.
6. Reduce inequality in order to reduce stress, and thereby to improve thinking and mental health.
7. Complete our understanding of all significant environmental factors that contribute to Right Wing Authoritarianism, and seek to reduce them to the maximum practical extent possible.
8. Promote the social, environmental and psychological factors that increase wisdom.
9. Advance understanding of collective intelligence and incorporate these findings into all relevant social settings.
10. Globally improve eating and nutrition habits to maximize mental health and reduce mental illness. No one should be unable to afford the foods that contribute most to maximizing health.
11. Fully research all the psychological and health variables related to natural spaces, urban planning, architecture, and interior design, with the goal of redesigning the lived-in world to maximize human well-being.
12. Normalize use of mental well-being impact assessments in all appropriate contexts, and from this basis more adeptly craft public policy in the future to enhance mental well-being.
X. FUTURE MINDS
1. Supplement the national accounts measure of GDP with a mind/brain measure: the costs of brain harm and underdevelopment, and the gains to wealth and other measures of well-being from investments in minds and brains.
2. Evolve society to the point where it becomes concerned with the frequency and quality of peak experiences among its members. View lack of peak experiences as a potential indicator that we are doing things wrong.
3. Reduce or even end right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation as using every available means, including genetic interventions and educational programs in the earliest grades.
4. Research and develop interventions to increase g factor and IQ as far as possible. Eliminate through genetic and early childhood educational interventions IQs of less than 100, while increasing those over 100. A goal for 2150: all children should have the potential to develop IQs of 200 or higher. Similarly increase the rationality quotient and creativity quotients.
5. Fully explore the possibilities of IT, expert systems and artificial intelligence, to assist humanity in increasing all of its positive mental traits, make better decisions, and assist in enriching understanding of the human mind and brain. At the same time resist fashionable claims of an inevitable demise of books, text, and the need for memory or higher thought.
6. Support research into human prodigies, eminent talents and world-class creative geniuses in order to increase their frequency in society.
7. Provide resources and increase appreciation for informed but speculative and as yet under-investigated forms of consciousness, awareness and cognition. We must always be alive to both nuances and the latent extraordinariness within us.
8. Generate the social conditions such that a majority of all persons are capable of performing at postformal thought and are able to reach postconventional personality and moral stages of development.
9. Set as a goal the minimization and even end of all the serious mental illnesses.
10. Integrate into curricula knowledge and theoretical understanding of human potential, achievement and excellence in all areas.
11. Expand psychedelic research as well as psychedelic clinical practice in order to both treat intractable conditions, and enhance well-being. Push for a Renaissance of openness and experimentation with psychedelic substances.
13. Set as a universal planetary goal the ideal of every person being capable of participating in the design of adaptive, evolvable and sustainable social systems in order to maximize their potential and that of future humans.
14. Keep alive a sense of the self as an unknown with far horizons of potential whose borders may continually recede in parallel with increasing knowledge and experience, and cultural and technological change.
15. Strongly push for the achievement of high levels of literacy by world majorities by 2100.
16. Support the emergence of the transhuman and posthuman, while ensuring that socioeconomic conditions allow equitable access to transhuman and posthuman enhancements.
18. Accelerate work towards a hypothesized singularity or AI.
We the undersigned resolve to:
- Spread widely awareness of the Global Mind Charter
- Continually learn about the human mind and brain
- Advocate for advancement of the minds and brains of all sentient creatures
- Become champions of the mind and brain in our spheres of influence
THE FIRST STEPS
Become a signatory
Distribute to friends and colleagues
Incorporate Global Mind Charter ideas and values into your own sphere of influence
"...that society is good which fosters the fullest development of human potentials, of the fullest degree of humanness." --Abraham Maslow
 A longstanding question is whether higher functioning of any sort is qualitatively different or a matter of degree. See McGrath, R.E. (2010) for further discussion.
See Miller, J.D. (2006) Civic Scientific Literacy in Europe and the United States. "Civic" means: not "...an ideal level of understanding, but rather a minimal threshold level." The average for the 33 countries is 13%. The highest ranked is Sweden at 35%, followed by the US at 28%. It is safe to assume from this that we are generations away from achieving an ideal level of civic scientific literacy. See also National Science Board, 2006. Science and Engineering Indicators 2006, and Moore, David W. (2005).
 See Human Development Report 2010, 20th Anniversary Edition. "Summary measures of educational attainment (such as mean years of schooling or population with at least secondary education) thus show remarkable increases across the board for both men and women, though the gap is still large in many developing countries." In this study "mean years of schooling replaces literacy..." In the US in 2003 only 13% of adults scored at a 'proficient' prose literacy level, 13% for document literacy, and 13% for quantitative literacy. See Kutner, M. (2006).
 Children exposed to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons showed IQ scores more than 4 points lower than less-exposed children. See Perera, F.P., et al. (2009). Children of the highest maternal concentrations of organophosphate pesticide metabolites in blood showed a 7 point IQ deficit relative to lowest exposure children. See Bouchard, M.F., et al. (2011). "Millions of children throughout the world may have suffered brain damage as a result of industrial pollution, researchers say." "The American and Danish researchers say that lead, methylmercury, arsenic and solvents such as ethanol and toluene are among 202 industrial and agricultural chemicals with potential to damage the brain. But these are likely to be the “tip of a very large iceberg” of potentially noxious chemicals, they write. More than 1,000 chemicals are known to be neurotoxic in animals, and are also likely to be harmful to humans, especially during the vulnerable phases of development that begin during pregnancy and can extend as late as the onset of adolescence." see Rose, D. (2006). "Environmental Health report evidence of a link between prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos and deficits in IQ and working memory at age seven.": http://ccceh.hs.columbia.edu/pressreleases/press042111.html See (Rauh, 2011).
 In a comparison of nourished and undernourished children researchers found wide-ranging cognitive deficits. See Kavindra, K.K., et al. (2010). In Qian, M.(2005), severe iodine deficiency was associated with a 12 point IQ loss.
 "University of California researchers found that the incidence rate for all causes of dementia in people age 90 and older is 18.2% annually and significantly increases with age in both men and women. This research, called "The 90+ Study," is one of only a few to examine dementia in this age group, and the first to have sufficient participation of centenarians." See ScienceDaily. (2010).
 General observation can't help but reveal this to be a truism.
 Where might our digital lives be leading us? See Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, by Jackson, M. (2009) for a survey of problems. See also Media Multitasking Among American Youth: Prevalence, Predictors and Pairings, by Foehr, U. (2006): "In young people who devote a great deal of time to media multitasking, could we expect the prefrontal cortex to be well endowed, while there would be weaknesses in the areas of the brain responsible for other activities requiring extended concentration such as a calculus proof, painting an intricate scene, or taking the SA T? That is, perhaps all the time spent media multitasking develops the prefrontal cortex at the expense of other areas of the brain. It is possible, however, that with all the multitasking practice our brains will adapt and be able to balanceboth multitasking and extended concentration."(p.24) Also see Multi-Tasking Adversely Affects Brain's Learning, UCLA Psychologists Report, ScienceDaily (2006).
 See JAMA (2004): "The prevalence of having anyWMH-CIDI/DSM-IV disorder in the prior year varied widely, from 4.3% in Shanghai to 26.4% in the United States... Between 33.1% (Colombia) and 80.9% (Nigeria) of 12-month cases were mild (IQR, 40.2%-53.3%). Serious disorders were associated with substantial role disability. Although disorder severity was correlated with probability of treatment in almost all countries, 35.5% to 50.3% of serious cases in developed countries and 76.3%to 85.4%in less-developed countries received no treatment in the 12 months before the interview."
 Annual traumatic brain injury (TBI) estimates from the CDC include 52,000 deaths, 275,000 hospitalizations, with 1.7 million sustaining a TBI. See Faul (2010). Also, it appears that prevention, treatment, law, and education are all insufficient to effectively deal with the problem: See Jansen (2011). What are the correlates of these numbers with performance across a comprehensive suite of variables--creativity, IQ, mental health, literacy, etc.? We don't know--itself an testament to our cultural blindness to total systemic effects on minds and brains.
 From the abstract for Durkin (2002): " Although most of the world's children live in developing countries and may be at high risk for disability, very little is known about the prevalence and causes of developmental disabilities in these countries. This paper discusses methodological difficulties contributing to this lack of knowledge, and provides an overview of what is known about the epidemiology of developmental disabilities in low-income countries. At least some forms of developmental disability appear to be more common in low-income countries than in wealthier countries, despite the probability of higher mortality among children with disabilities in low-income countries. For example, most studies of severe mental retardation in low-income countries report prevalences greater than 5 per 1,000 children, while prevalence estimates from industrialized countries are consistently below this. Major risk factors for developmental disabilities in some low-income countries include specific genetic diseases, a higher frequency of births to older mothers, consanguinity, and specific micronutrient deficiencies and infections. Trauma and toxic exposures are also important risk factors, but their contributions to the etiology of developmental disabilities in low-income countries are not well documented. Though many of the causes of developmental disabilities are understood and preventable, proven methods of prevention are not being fully implemented in developing countries. Epidemiologic studies are needed to raise awareness of the public health impacts of developmental disabilities in low-income countries and to provide a basis for setting priorities and designing efficient interventions."
 See Hearst (1979). That we have difficulty seeing or appreciating hypothetical counterfactuals is yet another systemic psychological fact we must contend with. In addition to absence, nonoccurrence and nothing, other factors like a propensity for short time horizons, preference for the concrete and actual as opposed to the hypothetical and theoretical, limited imagination and visualization, and more, may give all hypothetical counterfactuals a patina of unreality, and thus hide them from our view.
 Which includes, " an expansive sense of time, of past and future linked together; an evolutionary or progressive optimism about the future; an expansive and informed sense of contemporary trends and challenges; creativity, imagination, and curiosity regarding future possibilities; courage and enthusiasm in the face of the adventure and uncertainty of the future; a strong sense of ongoing personal growth and purpose involving long-term, goal-directed thinking and behavior and a future-oriented self-narrative; and a strong element of self-efficacy and self-responsibility in determining one's future." See Lombardo (2010).
 "What is it Like to be Illiterate?: Literate people find it hard to grasp the full impact of illiteracy. In a world of operating on written laws, rules, and instructions, being illiterate is a severe handicap when participating in decisions affecting life: it is tantamount to disability, affecting every aspect of living. It confines job opportunities to the most menial and low-paid tasks. It means being unable to read instructions on a packet of seed, a tin of powdered milk, or an oral contraceptive. It means being unable to read newspapers, street signs, warning signs. It means the inability to check legal rights, an inability to check if a title or deed is faulty. And it means being exposed to fraud and expropriation." (175) in Independent Commission on Population and Quality of Life (1996).
 "Current federal programs [in the US] designed to ameliorate literacy and language proficiency problems are a dismal failure: only about 2.6 million people were enrolled in federally supported adult basic education programs in 2004-2005, and most failed to achieve any significant gain." "The problem of undereducated and underskilled adult workers is getting worse." Regarding the low percentage of those who are highly proficiently literate in the population (see note 3 above), what implications does this have for democracy? For addressing the environmental crisis? For resisting the appeals of propaganda and demagogues? The opportunity cost of high levels of modest literacy attainments must have enormous implications for all types of human action and organization.
 "Mind today presents compelling new evidence that the recession has had a devastating effect on the wellbeing of British workers. The charity has found that since the recession 1 in 10 workers have sought support from their doctors and 7% have started taking antidepressants for stress and mental health problems directly caused by the pressures of recession on their workplace." See Mind (2010). How many other systemic effects from economic distress are we not aware of? What impacts on every other relevant performance measure do economic depressions have? Might there be certain thresholds of economic dislocation beyond which mind/brain harms multiply and further slow recovery?
 See Sedlak (2010): "Children in low socioeconomic status households had significantly higher rates of maltreatment in all categories and across both definitional standards. They experienced some type of maltreatment at more than 5 times the rate of other children; they were more than 3 times as likely to be abused and about 7 times as likely to be neglected." As if well established, abuse and neglect have wide-ranging negative effects on development. See Child Welfare Information Gateway (2009). Also Tyler, (2006), for a useful summary of effects of neglect, risk factors, intervention/prevention strategies and more.
 "The lavish attention devoted to intelligence (raising it, praising it, worrying when it is low, etc.) seems wasteful in the light of the fact that we choose to virtually ignore another set of mental skills with just as much social consequence--rational thinking mindware and procedures. Popular books tell parents how to raise more intelligent children, educational psychology textbooks discuss the raising of students' intelligence, and we fell reassured when hearing that a particular disability does not impair intelligence. There is no corresponding concern on the part of parents that their children grow into rational beings, no corresponding concern on the part of schools that their students reason judiciously, and no corresponding recognition that intelligence is useless to a child unable to adapt to the world. [new paragraph] I simply do not think that society has weighted the consequences of its failure to focus on irrationality as a real social problem. These skills and dispositions profoundly affect the world in which we live. Because of inadequately developed rational thinking abilities--because of the processing biases and mindware problems discussed in this book--physicians choose less effective medical treatments; people fail to accurately assess risks in their environment; information is misused in legal proceedings; millions of dollars are spent on unneeded projects by government and private industry; parents fail to vaccinate their children; unnecessary surgery is performed; animals are hunted to extinction; billions of dollars are wasted on quack medical remedies; costly financial misjudgments are made. Distorted processes of belief formation are also implicated in various forms of ethnocentric, racist, sexist, and homophobic hatred. [new paragraph] It is thus clear that widespread societal effects result from inadequately developed rational thinking dispositions and knowledge." (197-198) See Stanovich (2009).
 No theoretical or conceptual problems prohibit creating such a measure according to Stanovich (2009), 209-210.
 Altemeyer (2006) recommends the following strategies: reducing fear, reducing self-righteousness, nipping the religious roots of ethnocentrism, teaching children not to trust authorities automatically, and more (237-247). Many more strategies might be available, but whatever the case well-funded and comprehensive research studies should begin as soon as possible.
 See Hand (2003, 2004).
 "Only 53 of 171 countries with available data can claim to have the same numbers of girls and boys in both primary and secondary schools." (18) See UNICEF (2010).
 "A society's ability to solve its everyday problems critically depends upon the amount and quality of knowledge it has received from previous generations; the society then adjusts, fine-tunes, and passes this accumulated knowledge to posterity. So culture is a bit like a pipeline carrying knowledge from the past into the future." See Homer-Dixon (2000). The same pipeline metaphor applies to all identifiable and potential phenomena of the human mind and brain.
 "Citing research by King's College, London showing that 11-year-olds measured in cognitive tests were "on average between two and three years behind where they were 15 years ago" a number of leading academics, child experts and authors have made a strong attack on the combination of junk food, marketing, over-competitive schooling and electronic entertainment." Fenton (2006).
 See Morgan (2010).
 "As noted above, the average child is exposed to more than 40,000 television commercials a year. Approximately 80% of all advertising targeted to children falls within four product categories: toys, cereals, candies, and fast-food restaurants." " Studies of children indicate that those below the ages of 4–5 years do not consistently distinguish program from commercial content..." "Basic developmental research...establishes clearly that most children younger than 7–8 years of age do not recognize the persuasive intent of commercial appeals." Wilcox, et al. (2004) recommend a number of steps mostly focused on encouraging media literacy and enhancing research. It's call for industry self-regulation, however, seems to fall short of need.
"If it is unfair to direct commercial persuasion to audiences of young children, then it would seem to be equally unfair to employ psychological theory and research evidence to more effectively accomplish persuasive outcomes in young child viewers, at least insofar as the promotion of applied commercial interests are concerned. While drawing lines in this realm may be challenging, careful consideration is warranted to insure that psychologists hold faithful to their mission to benefit their research subjects, their clients, and the society at large."
 For an introduction to some educators' experience introducing children to philosophy see Goering (2007). See also the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University: http://cehs.montclair.edu/academic/iapc/whatis.shtml
 See Law (2006).
 See Fisher (2006). Extraordinarily intriguing is the current open question of what happens when children engage in regular meditation practice into adulthood. What would school and career outcomes be?
 Egan (2011) proposes each student, in addition to their regular curricula, choose one topic (horses, mountains, airplanes, etc.) they will stay with until graduation.
 "There have been no longitudinal studies exploring the long-term ramifications of children deprived of creative play. But a survey of 400 major employers across the United States found that many of their new young employees, whose childhoods have been shaped by intensifying commercialization, lacked critical thinking and basic problem-solving skills, as well as creativity and innovation, all of which are nurtured in creative play." (p. 63) (Linn, 2010). See also (Valkenberg, 1994): "The weight of the available evidence favors the hypotheses that TV viewing stimulates daydreaming and reduces creative imagination, although decisive evidence of a causal relationship is lacking."
 The currently reality is starkly the opposite, at least in American schools: "You may scan educational textbooks till your brain crumbles, but you will find hardly any notice of image generation from words, and no discussion of how teachers can stimulate and develop it." (p. 58) (Egan, 2008).
 See, for instance, (Daly, 1999), or (McKibben, 2007), or (Orr, 2009).
 There are good arguments for protecting the environment beyond mere human utility, but these aren't advocated for in this document.
 See Law (2006). If business, family life and education all reflect authoritarian institutions to varying degrees, can we be surprised at authoritarian political and social results as a result?
 See p. 134 in (Rittner, 2002).
 See Lipman (2003), pp. 105-124.
 I make the assumption that such a curriculum likely doesn't exist anywhere, but could. At a minimum it seems to require emphases like: philosophical literacy: structure of arguments, philosophical reasoning, the science/non-science demarcation problem, basic terms like 'truth', 'knowledge', etc.; extensive awareness of psychological factors affecting judgment and producing bias; explicit instruction in fallacies of logic and reasoning; extensive discussion of techniques of persuasion and propaganda; unflinching critical examination of questionable truth claims and patterns of fallacies common in cults of unreason, and more.
 See Paul (2001).
 For example, nonconformity, openness to experience, flexibility of thought and imagination, among other things. See pp. 284-285 in (Sternberg, 1999). Were we as a society serious about enhancing creativity we'd not only begin offering creativity enhancement programs, we might even consider possibilities like school psychological counselors trained in creativity studies who could identify less creative students and design appropriate counseling interventions, or art instructors as on-site creativity authorities.
 "...global poll data...consistently show a majority of the public--including college graduates--to be uninformed, sometimes misinformed, and otherwise confused about the fundamentals of ecology and science in general (Orr, 2010)." This educational reality exists at the same time it is common to see language like the following in scientific assessments of the environment: "The belief among scientists is that the window of opportunity to take action is narrow. There is little time left in which we can still act to prevent irreversible, catastrophic changes to marine ecosystems as we see them today (p. 40, IPSO, 2008)."
 See pp. 36-39 in (Law, 2006): In one study children aged 11-12 doubled the frequency (compared with controls) of "supporting opinion with evidence"; "children's self-esteem and confidence rose markedly"; "the ration of teacher/pupil talk halved for teachers and doubled for pupils"; "All classes improved significantly in verbal, non-verbal and quantitative reasoning...(av. 6.5 IQ points)", and more. Sternberg (2010) notes that although many students may be taught ethics by their parents or religious communities, few if any teach ethical reasoning. See also (Lipman, 1980, 2003).
 In Hicks (p. 101, 1998) Jane Page notes one of the present realities: "More research is required to readdress a significant imbalance which exists in our understanding of the development of young children's thinking on time and the future." Beyond understanding this, likely a great deal of research is absent relative to an even a minimally adequate picture of engendering futures awareness, thought and skill sets across the American or any culture. Coates (p. 135, 1987) observes "Most people are not cut out to be futurists. Intellectual capabilities have little to do with the qualifications. Many otherwise fine minds lack the strong sense of playfulness and the ability to tolerate an enormous amount of uncertainty that are the primary requirements for futures thinking." But this could be because we haven't yet conceived of an educational system that values futures thinking. Page, above, notes that the skills conducive to futures thinking most commonly mentioned are "adaptability, imagination and fantasy", while other have emphasized "altruism, sensitivity towards others, conflict resolution and decision making." Still others mention the necessity of strong self images in children. (p. 101) No doubt, engendering better futures thinking, or many other positive changes in attitude, knowledge, skills and psychological being, are highly complex social systems problems par excellence. Lastly, since many of our problems have long time horizons, it follows that a futures-competent citizenry would be useful. Yet, the current reality is perhaps as George Boniecki (pp. 161-175, 1980) described it:
"1. Any arguments about future (social) problems, given our present reality, must be presented on a time frame not exceeding an average individual time horizon.
2. Such a horizon does not, generally, extend over the whole of one's life span, let alone that of one's children or grandchildren.
3. A time horizon of 20 years hence appears too distant for many people to [i]nvoke a meaningful concern leading to a concrete behavioral commitment.
4. A period of 10-15 years seems the most distant practical horizon that the contemporary Western man may see as related to his own life experience. Planning for longer periods is likely to fail to obtain any endorsement from general public. Structuring any planning over some shorter periods of, say, 5 years should increase the chances of public approval." what would a society look like in which time horizons of 50, 100, 200, 1000 years or more were woven into values and practices? Lombardo (2010) makes the case for how future awareness is a component of wisdom.
 "Industrialized societies usually do not provide formal educational programmes in wisdom-related knowledge and judgment (p.4, Staudinger, 1998)." A simple and likely accurate observation that says a great deal about our society. How prevalent is wisdom-related knowledge and practice? "On the basis of the extremely high demands that the elicitation of wisdom puts on knowledge and skill, one might even argue that wisdom by definition will hardly ever be found in an individual, but rather in cultural or social-interactive products (p. 276, Staudinger, 1996)." Baltes and Kunzmann (2003) claim "Many adults are on the way towards wisdom, but very few people approach a high level of wisdom-related knowledge as we measure it." If this is indeed the case, then what opportunity costs do we bear because of it? What are we to conclude about a society that isn't actively pressing for higher attainments of wisdom in its institutions? Is Homo economicus our highest aspiration? Sternberg (2007), among others, holds that we can teach for wisdom. "The road to this new approach to education, via the balance theory of wisdom, is bound to be a rocky one. First, entrenched structures, whatever they may be, are difficult to change, and wisdom is neither taught in schools nor, in general, is it even discussed. Second, many people will not see the value of teaching something that shows no promise of raising conventional test scores. These scores, which formerly were predictors of more interesting criteria, have now become criteria, or ends, in themselves. Society has lost track of why they ever mattered in the first place and they have engendered the same kind of mindless competition we see in people who relentlessly compare their economic achievements with those of others. Third, wisdom is much more difficult to develop than is the kind of achievement
that can be developed and then readily tested via multiple-choice tests. Finally, people who have gained influence and power in a society via one means are unlikely to want either to give up that power or to see a new criterion be established on which they do not rank as favorably. There is no easy road to wisdom. There never was, and probably never will be. As an
educational system, we have turned on the easy road, but the wrong road. It is not too late to turn back. By ratcheting up our emphasis on a narrow conception of what it means to be a ‘good student’, we are ignoring the broader conception that will make a difference to individuals and society. It is not merely what we know, but how we use it, that will determine the fate of our society and of others."
 "The degree of the complexity of the individual...reflects the extent to which independent responses can be made to distinct conditions." (p. 211) Homer-Dixon (2002) quoting Yaneer Bar-Yam. Homer-Dixon: "...as the complexity and pace of our world increase, the fraction of the population truly capable of meeting our world's challenges decreases." (p. 219) "...the greater the complexity of our world requires greater complexity in our technologies and institutions." Csikszentmihalyi (1993) writes, "Perhaps the most urgent task facing us is to create a new educational curriculum that will make each child aware, from the first grade on, that life in the universe is interdependent. It should be an education that trains the mind to perceive the network of causes and effects in which our actions are embedded, and trains the emotions and the imagination to respond appropriately to the consequences of those actions. What is the real price of driving cars, when all the costs to the environment are included? Of waging wars, when we consider the long-term impact of lives lost without reason, of cultures and social systems destroyed? What are the likely effects of letting all the hundreds of varieties of rice die out except the few most commercially profitable ones? What do "good and "bad" mean, in terms of the total effects of a person's actions?" Banathy (2001) writes, "It is unfortunate that our educational community is not yet familiar with systems design. Except for a handful of places, systems design is not on the agenda of our schools of education and is not practiced in our educational communities. In the current educational reform movement, people still practice the kind of social planning that aims to reduce the problem to 'manageable parts', seeking a solution to each. They believe that in incremental, piece-by-piece addressing of what is wrong in the system will correct the larger issue they aim to remedy. But systems designers know well that 'getting rid of what is not wanted does give us what is desired.' (p. 288-289) The reality here, as with much else, is far from ideal. Dawidowicz (2011) found in a study of 172 respondents that "approximately half believed they understood the meaning of social systems and application of systems thinking to decision making, most demonstrated no or limited understanding of both. Finally, most participants' latently gleaned impressions of systems and systems thinking were gained through informal experiences that had occurred since completing their secondary school education.
 Findings include: "Cognitive and Academic Performance: Mindfulness meditation may improve ability to maintain preparedness and orient attention. Mindfulness meditation may improve ability to process information quickly and
accurately. Concentration-based meditation, practiced over a long-term, may have a positive impact on academic achievement.
Mental Health and Psychological Well-Being: Mindfulness meditation may decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.
Mindfulness meditation supports better regulation of emotional reactions and the cultivation of positive psychological states.
Development of the Whole Person: Meditation can support the development of creativity. Meditation supports and enhances the development of skills needed for interpersonal relationships. Empathetic responses are increased with meditation and mindfulness practices. Meditation may help to cultivate self-compassion."
 See Simon (2010).
 This would require rethinking on many fronts, including cultivating in students a deep intuition for the transitory nature of the present historical moment--the long view. Futures studies opportunities however are rare on college campuses: http://www.accelerating.org/gradprograms.html. How do we shift mentalities of passivity, going with the flow, and status quo blindness, to belief in the need for change and one's efficacy to make it happen? What is evolutionary consciousness? "SELF-REFLECTING CONSCIOUSNESS is a process by which individuals, groups, organizations, and societies contemplate and make representations of their perception of the world--and their understanding of their place in the world--in their individual and collective minds. These representations are developed on the basis of values we hold and the ideas we have about how the world works and how it evolves. These representations can be called cognitive maps of 'WHAT IS.' They are developed, confirmed, elaborated, tested, changed, and redrawn. The are 'alive.' They affect out behavior and they are affected by it. This mutual affecting is recursive and constantly ongoing. CREATING CONSCIOUSNESS is a process by which individuals, groups, organizations, and societies envision 'WHAT SHOULD BE.' This creation is based on the belief that while the future is influenced by the past and present, it is NOT determined by what was or what is. It remains open to conscious and purposeful intervention that can be guided by an evolutionary image of the future; an image that can be brought into life by the intellectual technology of systems design. And a representation of the image is the normative cognitive map of the desired future...(Banathy, 1993)"
 See (Pfaffenberger, 2011) for an excellent discussion of postconventional personality. Of what does postconventional personality, morality and cognition consist? Essentially levels of "character development, cognitive complexity, interpersonal style, and a set of conscious preoccupations" at stages beyond that posited by Piaget, who held that cognitive development proceeds along successive stages of higher development and theoretically ends at a 'formal' stage. As the many researchers and theorists in this volume make clear, understanding and measuring ego or personality development, especially at the higher stages, is difficult. However, the importance of both this inquiry itself as well the existence of postconventional personalities in the world is hard to overstate. In short, the frequency of postconventional personalities in a group, organization, or society is perhaps a key, even the key, marker of how well it's able to grow and adapt. When this insight is combined with the inescapable observation of humanity's endless tendency to fall into catastrophic ruts of thought and social organization, the fact that about 80% (p. 3, p. 59 in Pfaffenberger) of the population likely falls into conventional stages is simultaneously greatly explanatory, enormously concerning, and a large terrain ripe for social change. In addition to creating social conditions that prioritize achievement of higher developmental states, one can imagine other efforts like postconventional assessments of political leaders, organizations, systems and societies, or educational reforms geared toward cultivating the capacity to move through developmental stages, instead of the current reality of most adults stopping at the conventional stage of development.
 "I consider the development of a scientific transpersonal psychology crucial for human survival and the betterment of life (Friedman, 2002)." See also (Hart, 2000). Transpersonal psychology: "...is concerned with the study of humanity's highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness." Retrieved from https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Transpersonal_psychology
 (p. 24, Manners, 2004) found that interventions are effective in promoting growth, e.g., advanced ego development. "This finding represents the first clear empirical demonstration that sustainable stage transition beyond the Self-Aware ego stage is possible in adulthood. It raises questions regarding the view that stage stabilization by early adulthood is an inherent characteristic of adult ego development, and that there is little change in personality during adulthood." Many questions remain, including, of course, how to optimize interventions, the degree of possible change through such interventions, whether particular developmental stages call for specific approaches, how educational systems might support such efforts, and more. With this and much else in human development, one gets an overwhelming sense of humanity operating at an early stage of psycho-cultural evolution. See also the chapters by Marko and Bauer in (Pfaffenberger, 2011).
 See Schneider (2004).
 See (Chambers, 2007) who found compared with a control that novice meditators on a mindfulness meditation retreat "demonstrated significant improvements in self-reported mindfulness, depressive symptoms, rumination [the most strongly affected dimension], and performance measures of working memory and sustained attention." Also see (Davis, 2011), and (Shapiro, 2008).
 See for starters (Adams, 2006).
 See Ingham (2005).
 "India has a population of 1 billion people and, as recently as the late 1990s, it had only 6000 trained psychiatrists and psychologists." (p. 149, Bornstein, 2007).
 With alarming regularity, and backed by current law and the inertia of current practice, many people are relegated to the status of a utilitarian means to an end. Stories like the following are all too typical: (McClelland, 2011). Urban studies theorist Richard Florida writes, "... relegating vast numbers of people to do rote work amounts to systemic waste that is both morally negligent and economically inefficient. We must find ways to make service and manufacturing jobs more creative and thus less deadening for the people who hold them." (Florida, 2004)
 See Schettler, May (2000), Rose (2006), Bjorling-Poulsen (Oct. 22, 2008)
 In a discussion of the human nervous system's sensitivity to environmental toxins, author Kilburn writes "Rapid progress is imperative in order to conserve neurobiological competence in the population." (p. 145-152, 2005) From the Editor's Note: "It cannot be ruled out that the neuropsychological effects summarized by Kilburn may represent the inner mechanism of one of the snowballing positive feedbacks of progressive environmental deterioration. That is, because of increasing levels of chemical pollution...the affective states, mood states, intelligence level, and judgment of humans will keep on decreasing--the cumulative long-term result of this will be further deterioration of the environment." (150) "...long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to physical changes in the brain, as well as learning and memory problems--even depression!" See (Brynie, July 5, 2011).
 The global consequences of high blood pressure on stroke is high, "About 54% of stroke and 47% of ischaemic heart disease
worldwide were attributable to high blood pressure. About half this burden was in people with hypertension; the remainder was in those with lesser degrees of high blood pressure." (Lawes, 2008)
 Some of the most exciting news about the brain comes from studies of meditation and structural change, thickness and density in the brain. See Meditation Research from the Lab of Sara Lazar at
 "It was estimated that 43 million people had experienced brain damage from lack of iodine." (p. 254, Bornstein, 2007) For more information see http://www.unicef.org/nutrition/index.html . Also see (UNICEF, 2010)
 See, for instance (Mooney, 2006), or (Oreskes, 2010).
 See http://www.sanfordberman.org/
 See http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/flagship-project-activities/memory-of-the-world/homepage//
 See Stewart Brand's The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility for a fascinating discussion of preservation considerations and related ideas.
 See Bartlett (2011).
 See Tang (2007) on the role of meditation in cultivating attention and self-regulation.
 See Egan (2011).
 "...College Summit, estimates that, out of every 900,000 low-income students who graduate from high school each year in the United States, at least 180,000 could succeed in college but fail to enroll." (p. 164, Bornstein, 2007)
 See Olivarez-Giles (June 3, 2011).
 See Law (2006).
 Czsickzentmihalyi (1999) lays out a systems view of creativity research, which simultaneously functions as an outline to social systems reform and design. His model examines the variable constraints and supports in various areas: culture, domains (music, math, religion, etc.), society, fields (the collective expertise and judgment, the 'gatekeepers', of a domain), personal background, and individual qualities. Shavinina (2006) examines the factors in the development of entrepreneurial giftedness in the case of Richard Branson. She first lists familial factors: talented parents, with a wide range of interests; abundant parental love for children and for each other; parental trust in children; supportive parents; open, sincere relationships with parents; parental treatment of children as equals; high ethical standards. Branson's milieu included: his mother as a role model of the entrepreneur; early exposure to challenges; rule-breaking attitude; 'change the world' attitude; parental love of adventure; hard working and sense of teamwork; independence in thoughts and actions. Branson's extended family included: talented, accomplished relatives, with a wide range of interests; supportive and devoted relatives; relatives' trust in Branson; aunt as role model entrepreneur; challenges set up by relatives. Significant others also played a role, mostly in terms of pathbreaking behavior. Mumford (2003) notes "...we have hardly begun to answer the question of how people go about creating the conditions needed to live creative lives."
 "The research program on ecological rationality aims to explicate the mind–world interactions underlying good decision making." "Researchers have also started to put together a vocabulary for describing environment structures, for instance, in terms of cue validities and distributions of objects. This effort is still woefully incomplete and incohesive, though." See (Todd, 2007)
 See Sunstein (2003), Nickerson (1998).
 "We found that moderately developed countries had the lowest adjusted prevalence of MDE followed by high and low developed countries. The Gini index [a measure of income or wealth inequality] was positively associated with major depressive episodes, but only among high HDI countries. After adjusting for age, gender, marital status, education and HDI, the multilevel prevalence ratio indicated a 4% increase in risk of MDE [major depressive episodes] for a person living in a country associated with a 1% increment in income equality. This finding means, for example, that comparing two highly developed countries, one with low income inequality (Gini=0.25) with another with high income inequality (Gini=0.39), one would expect to see an increase in the prevalence of MDE from 4.0% to 6.2%. These findings raise important questions about the role of income inequality on social forces that can lead to depression." See also (Picket, 2009). Stucker et al. (2009) have been looking at the linkage between the recent economic downturn and rates of suicide. Here, as with many factors of human development and potential, many questions remain. "...we want to understand better why some individuals, communities, and entire societies are especially vulnerable yet some seem more resilient to economic shocks as well as the extent to which the very different policy responses being pursued by European governments affect health. There is clearly much more to be written on the health consequences of the events of 2008." (Picket, 2009).
 See Altemeyer (2006)
 See Baltes (2000)
 See Woolley (2010), and also MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence: http://cci.mit.edu/
 See Peet (2004).
 A recent study looked at how urban living can affect brain biology. It was found that those with a history of urban living activated brain regions in response to stress, which were not activated or activated as much in those living in towns or rural areas. "For his future investigations, Meyer-Lindenberg is seeking urban planners who can help him to tease out how variables such as green space and population density contribute to the neurobiological impact of city living. Hans Wirz of the urban planning office in Basel, Switzerland, says that it took decades to integrate knowledge about the biomedical effects of the cityscape into his profession. "But when it comes to mental health we haven't a clue." See (Abbott, 2011). Meyers-Levy (Goldade, 2007) found evidence that ceiling height can have an affect on abstract thought. "It revealed that when participants were aware of the height, high ceilings activated abstract thinking and thoughts of freedom, whereas low ceilings activated concrete thinking and thoughts of confinement." What other aspects of human psychology and cognition are affected by architectural design? Might there be an architecture of mental health? Of complex thought? Of self-transcendence? Education? That we don't know the answers to many of these questions is yet another indication of how early we are in the historical process of understanding ourselves and our mental potential. See Numinous Space: Towards an Architecture of Spirit, for an interesting discussion of some aspects of the psychology of place. Landry (2008) proposes urban planning ideas to help cultivate creativity.
 See (National MWIA Collaborative, 2011): Mental Well-being Impact Assessment (MWIA): "enables people and organizations to assess and improve a policy, programme, service or project to ensure it has a maximum equitable impact on people's mental well-being." One can easily conceive of an instrument similar to the MWIA that would encompass a much wider range of human capacities and enabling conditions.
 See Maslow (1971).
 Pellissier (2011) suggests a large number of ways in which IQ might be enhanced for many people right now. Research-backed suggestions include: Omega 3 oils to maternal diets can lead to IQ increases of 7.55 points. Expectant mothers who exercise can raise baby IQs by 8 points. Reducing air pollution exposure, maternal stress, exposure to pesticides, and much more. It's interesting to note that no large scale attempt has been made to aggregate all known factors contributing to lessening or increasing IQ and translate this into policy. What explains this? Academic compartmentalization? Underappreciation of human mental capacities? Status quo bias? Limitations on democratic governmental competence? Kuszewski (2011) discusses 5 ways to increase intelligence: seek novelty, challenge yourself, think creatively, do things the hard way, and network.
 See Sanger (2011).
 Snyder (2009) argues that savant-like skills are potentially latent within each of us, and that there is evidence they can be accessed. What kind of society would it take for research like this to be part of a national political campaign? Herein lies the mind/brain paradox in our present social context: To vigorously advance a broad array of human mental potentials nearly presupposes that our society already has done so, because it would only be on that basis that the need for such a program would be truly appreciated. Put another way, we will have a more difficult time appreciating and valuing that which we ourselves don't have or simply are unaware of. If one lacks creative capacity, one might have difficulty in understanding why creativity is important. If one has never been properly educated in critical thinking, one will lack an appreciation for its value that one skilled in critical thinking might automatically have, and so forth.
 As an example see the construct of self-expansiveness in (Pappas, 2007). Another example is the construct of co-actualization in (Motschnig-Pitrik, 2009). In the future might there be previously unimagined properties only emergent at some level of optimized social and technological development? If society were to see a general IQ shift upward of 20 points, or the appearance of heavy concentrations of postformal thinkers in urban centers, or the wide diffusion of IT mediated techniques to rapidly increase learning capacity, what new qualities of the human person might be enabled? What new possibilities for creative production might be unleashed?
 "The implication is that postformal thought is performed by a minority of any population, which we estimate as about 20 percent in the G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States)." (p. 322) in (Commons, 2008a). See also issue 64: 2008 of World Futures. In particular see "Introduction to the Model of Hierarchical Complexity and its Relationship to Postformal Thought." pp. 305-320.
 See Pfaffenberger (2011). An interesting observation on the present reality: "...few other researchers have worked specifically in the area of refining the SCT [sentence completion test: the instrument used to grade levels of personality development] for higher development, and no other instruments for the assessment of advanced development have emerged." (p. 18, Pfaffenberger, 2011) Consider how profoundly important this research is for social design, and then its relative funding priority in national funding and our cultural values.
 It appears that moral reasoning ability and moral action or motivation are not at all perfectly co-varying. One can have great moral understanding and yet not act on it, and vice versa: "Full moral development requires the development of both moral understanding and moral integrity. Despite the dynamic relationships between the two, neither is reducible to the other, and programs of moral education must deal with both."
 See Roberts (2002), Friedman (2006). "A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called “magic mushrooms,” was enough to bring about a measureable personality change lasting at least a year in nearly 60 percent of the 51 participants in a new study, according to the Johns Hopkins researchers who conducted it. Lasting change was found in the part of the personality known as openness, which includes traits related to imagination, aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas and general broad-mindedness. Changes in these traits, measured on a widely used and scientifically validated personality inventory, were larger in magnitude than changes typically observed in healthy adults over decades of life experiences, the scientists say. Researchers in the field say that after the age of 30, personality doesn’t usually change significantly (John Hopkins Medicine, Sept. 29, 2011)."
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