Ours is a critical time in the cultural evolution of humanity that is likely to shape our long-term future, or lack thereof.
From laws to police and prisons, to armies and weaponry, to fame and high political office, to paychecks and taxes, to debt and credit, to advertising and public relations, to propaganda, to household and workplace gender dynamics, to organizational chains of command, to extremes of wealth and poverty, people have found endless ways of modifying one another’s behavior to suit their wants and needs.
We humans are aggregating more power, and doing so more unequally across society, than in any previous period in history. Power is good; without it, we would be powerless. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and that’s an apt way of describing the human predicament in the early 21st century.
The already established field of Cultural Evolution seeks to integrate the theory of evolution with the studies done by the social sciences in order to understand the change of social phenomena over time. Within this context, the field of Cultural Design presents itself as a scientific area interested in applying the findings of Cultural Evolution.
What I am learning is that by seeing how the false starts, blind spots, transformative research tools, and foundational discoveries that made the complexity of biology accessible to scientific inquiry are replicated in the struggles to make sense of the human relationship to our natural world today.
I often get pushback when making the argument that research in cultural evolutionary studies can be applied to real-world social problems at community scales. What I find fascinating is that the concerns brought forth — that there are unintended consequences, it might be perceived as manipulative or unethical, or simply that we don’t know enough about how to do it — all exemplify an incredible blind spot about how much applied cultural evolution ALREADY EXISTS as mature practices with decade-long track records of success.
We are living in a world where holistic, systemic crises threaten the future of humanity. And yet, there has been an historic pattern of fragmentation in the physical and social sciences needed to tackle them. I have taken on the life mission to guide the evolution of cultural sciences so that they become fully integrated with the dynamics 0f our changing Earth.